Last night, Alaskan Women Looking for Love premiered on TLC. We all know why we watch the TLC network: it’s because they understand on a deep, psychological level what we need in our cable programming. They know that we’re so anxious about our life progression and insecure in our flaws that we need to watch people who eat their couches to feel ok about our own lives. Their shows—including such gems as My Strange Addiction, Toddlers and Tiaras, and Extreme Couponing—are basically the equivalent of a giant seal of approval on everything we’ve ever done in our lives. I would go so far as to say that watching a pageant mom dress up her 4-year old in thigh-high latex boots is like watching your dad give you that teary-eyed proud nod you always wanted from him but could never get. Because let’s face it: No matter how badly you’ve screwed up in the past, you still feel like a freaking Pulitzer-Prize-winning Fortune 500 CEO when you’re watching people who care more about Hormel Chili coupons than their own children. It’s magic, I tell you.
Sadly, Alaskan Women Looking for Love, abandons their flawless programming model of exploiting deeply troubled people for our pleasure, and instead shows us the stories of regular, down-home women who just want to find men who don’t smell like salmon. Obviously, since there are no characters with debilitating pathological disorders to make me feel like I don’t need therapy, I struggled to embrace this show at first. But you know what? Watching it still makes the gnawing ache of existence a little more bearable. At the very least, it makes me appreciate that I live in place with enough inhabitants that I can mate with people other than my cousins.
Let’s go over some of the reasons why you should add this show to your list of 284 DVRed shows, because I know you’re unconvinced. And I know this because I too disapprovingly frowned at this show’s absurd, strung-together title and thought, ‘What, are TLC execs just making up shows based on posts from the horse_ebooks Twitter now?’ But even if the title sounds like an SNL skit, there are redeeming reasons to tune in, and here they are:
1. The plot follows 5 friends from the remote island of Kodiak, Alaska as they leave behind their native hinterland to scour the more sophisticated romantic offerings elsewhere in America. So, where do the producers decide to drop these women to find life-long partners? Oh, you know, just the mecca of virtuous, committed straight men known as Miami. Yes, MIAMI. OY. I would be outraged for these women if I wasn’t so morbidly curious as to how this is all going pan out. Those producers may be diabolical bastards, but they KNOW SO WELL WHAT I SHAMEFULLY WANT TO SEE. They’ve also wisely put together a sneak peek of the ladies’ upcoming misadventures, replete with muscle-straining pole dancing, aggressive drag queen confrontations, and first time bikini waxes—all the necessary ingredients for a heartwarming self-discovery story.
2. Maybe it was their adorable all-plaid wardrobes or the fact that none of them know how to walk in heels, but I found the cast of this show to be undeniably charming. Actually, I think I’ve just grown waaaay too accustomed to watching cat-faced housewives buy diamond-encrusted paper clips, so the fact that the ladies in this show all have their original faces kind of shocked me and made me remember what real skin looks like. Crazy! I like to be reminded of that (and I live in Orange County, so I don’t get this slap of reality nearly as often as I need it). These are no-nonsense, strong-willed ladies that could probably survive conditions that would make Bear Grylls call the nearest Holiday Inn, and I’m all for this kind of female representation. There’s even a clip for an upcoming episode where the ladies are gaping at a pair of boy shorts like it’s a space ship, flabbergasted how tiny they are. HOW CAN YOU NOT ROOT FOR THAT?
3. The first episode shows the women going on disastrous dates with the boorish men of Alaska, and the sight of these dudes is seriously like typing in ‘craziest beards’ into Google. That kind of hirstute prowess is a rare sight unless you’re watching one of the 13 shows TLC has about Amish culture. Actually, I take that back. I often venture to places swarmed by hipsters, and unbridled facial hair is as ubiquitous as Converse nowadays. But these lumberjacks aren’t sporting that shit with skinny jeans and oversized oval glasses they don’t even medically need—they’re doing it with PVC overalls and manly Mahogany smoking pipes. I promise you will be impressed.
4. These women have been sheltered all their lives and are now being encouraged to run amok in Miami. This means we can re-live our early 20s vicariously through them, because unlike the rest of us, they’ve never had the chance to guzzle unreasonable amounts of alcohol in dimly-lit clubs and wake up next to people they wouldn’t even want to share a pen with. This whole show is going to be the equivalent of their first college party experience, which will be a feast for our eyes. It will also be a necessary wright of passage for these women to get out of their systems so they can settle down later in life, get complacent, and watch TLC shows on Saturday nights instead of answering their friends’ calls. It’s the cycle of life we all go through (Right? No, just me?). These ladies are just doing in front of millions of people instead of a college dorm.
So there you have it. This show might not make it easier for you to get up out of bed and look yourself in the mirror, a benefit offered by other TLC shows like My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I. But if you can find your life validation elsewhere, you might just find something worthwhile.
(Photo: Daily Mail)