Reality show or campaign ad?

The premier episode of TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska featured the former vice presidential nominee and her family of five enjoying the long, sunny summer days of Alaska.

Scenes of shooting skeet, white water rafting, rock-climbing, deep-sea fishing and dog-racing provided viewers with a sneak-peak of the adventurous attitude and lifestyle Palin lives.

For eight weeks, the Palin family will be scrutinized by viewers all over the country; however, this time Palin’s calling the shots.

She invites members of all political parties into her home where viewers get the first glimpse of what Palin is like on a daily basis.

The Palin family invites TLC’s cameras into their Alaskan home to document their normal everyday lifestyle. (MCT Campus)

The Palin family invites TLC’s cameras into their Alaskan home to document their normal everyday lifestyle. (MCT Campus)

Although, there are several times throughout the show when most people cannot relate to her. In one instance she is filmed walking 20 feet to a studio to do a correspondent interview with FOX News before going to trek through Denali National Park. Palin is   mainly viewed as a mother who enjoys spending quality time with her family.

Viewers watch scenes of  mother-daughter bonding over baking cupcakes,   family fishing trips and bear-watching, chiding her teenage daughter, Willow, for trying to sneak a boy upstairs, riding in an RV with her parents to mountaineering lessons and glacier-hiking part of Mt. McKinley with her husband, Todd.

All of this is carefully edited and knit together perfectly by TLC’s family-minded editors, and of course Palin.  She is thought to have earned as much as $1 million per episode and is one of the executive         producers.

TCL President Eileen O’Neill said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “Ultimately, the network has creative control and approval over the show, but really, across the production company and the Palin family, it was quite a collaborative effort.”

And why was it a collaborative effort?

Is Palin using TCL as a platform for the presidential election in 2012, or is she simply showing off her beautiful state and shedding positive light on her family for once?

Some viewers could easily watch the show and see it as the latter, but most paid attention to every political analogy.

At one point, Palin is in her backyard and the camera pans to a man sitting on his porch next-door reading a book. He goes unnamed throughout the episode, but not unnoticed.  She criticizes journalist Joe McGinniss for spying on her and her family while he conducts research for a book about her.

Todd built a 14-foot wall to keep him out and Palin said, “By the way, I thought that was a good example, what we just did, others could look and say, ‘Oh, this is what we need to do to secure our nation’s borders.’”

Perhaps the former Alaskan governor is attempting to solve our nation’s problems or maybe she’s just paving the way for the newest form of campaigning – reality TV.

Author: Lindsay Schaefer

Lindsay Schaefer is a junior Mass Communication, Public Relations major at UMHB. She is the Entertainment Page editor for The Bells Newspaper. Growing up in the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas taught her to enjoy the simple things in life such as local cuisine, an afternoon at grandma’s house, and getting to know her “neighbors”. If she’s not hunting for the latest pair of shoes, she can most likely be found eating chocolate cake with her closest friends. She enjoys making copies for the Bells newspaper and taking on many other random assignments!

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