Sarah Palin Alaska, an eight-part reality series, features the Palin family in their Alaskan element, with previews of the series showing fishing expeditions, run-ins with bears, hiking snowy mountains and hanging out with Iditarod dog racers.
In the premiere episode of TLC's "Sarah Palin's Alaska," the former vice presidential nominee and her family embark upon a series of wholesome, firmly non-political activities: There's bear-watching, mountaineering and even some mother-daughter cupcake-baking. Palin's political stature gets only vague recognition over the course of the episode, and President Obama is never referenced. Still, the tacit political implications of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" are hard to avoid.
The show, an eight-part series that TLC describes as a "family adventure story," is purported to show viewers the wonders of America's "final frontier." But some see "Sarah Palin's Alaska" as an eight-part campaign ad for a potential future presidential candidate.
“I would describe myself, my family as just normal, average every day Americans,” Sarah Palin says.
Whether you’re a Sarah Palin lover or hater, you have to give the woman some credit for her outdoor spirit.
Yeah… well, she’s not my favorite, but catching a glimpse of Alaska is pretty cool. I’m not interested in Sarah Palin or her family, but appreciate the look at life in Alaska.
Later on, while prepping for an appearance on Fox News, where she is a contributor, Palin asks Todd whether changes in American tax policy would affect his hiring practices. (He says they would.)
But perhaps the episode's most authentic moment comes when Palin treks to Denali National Park with Todd to engage in a little glacier-hiking. Palin, in the midst of a particularly taxing climb, cries out in panic:
"Oh, God help me. I'm scared...That's scarier than I thought. Holy jeez....I'm so scared I can't even move. Oh, God. Help me Lord," Palin cries. "I just don't like heights. I was so cocky. I'm being punished for it. I don't know if I can do this."
It has been reported that Palin did object to certain moments included in the show -- when Willow tries to sneak up her male friend, for instance, or when Piper complains about her extensive BlackBerry use -- which indicates that the former governor may not have quite as much control over how she is portrayed on the program as she would like. And though she swears that "Sarah Palin's Alaska" is not a "reality" show, its success in remaking her image to the desired effect may hinge on just how "real" it turns out to be.