Palin And The Caribou

It has become a Sunday night ritual now: we watch "Sarah Palin's Alaska" followed by "The Walking Dead". The latter is much more believable as reality - but the former has its zombie charms.

What's particularly awesome about SPA is that each episode is obviously crafted around a "Sarah's-Just-So-Darn-Great" arc followed swiftly by the brutal murder of various life-forms. It helps to have some kind of Mormon-style family meme - last week was Track's becoming a man, this week was Sarah bonding with Dad while shooting deer - combined with at least one scene gutting the innards out of something previously bright and beautiful. Last week, we saw Bristol holding the still-beating heart of a former halibut; this week, poor little Piper got to look at a caribou heart - "it reeks!" - as the Palins allegedly stocked up on protein for the winter.

But as with most Palin fantasies only gingerly related to planet earth, there are some discrepancies that even Palin's control of the editing cannot quite remove. We are obviously supposed in the latest episode, for example, to imagine Sarah heading out with daddy Chuck every season for some huntin', bein' an expert at shootin' a gun, revealin' her years of expertise and training in the wild north as an all-round MILFy mama grizzly from the wilderness.

So why did her dad rather touchingly finish the trip by saying, "It's been great to meet you again"? Why did she not know if the gun her dad gave her would kick back? Why did she then seem unable to shoot even close to the caribou when dutifully set up by her dad and his hunting side-kick? Who can say? Hilariously, she tried to show later in the same episode that her dad's gun had to be off-kilter or she would have made the shot with no difficulty. And maybe she was right. Again: who can say? After a while, the suspension of disbelief kinda works. Which is why this show is so like her political career: you just have to drop all desire to have it make any sense and it's relatively painless. If you relax, it hurts less.

A few other things that slip through the propaganda net. Her poor dad - at 72 - probably shouldn't be striding through the undergrowth above the Arctic Circle in search of prey. He took a nasty fall trying to burnish his daughter's NRA rep. Piper is as catty as her mom: she noticed that the caribou Sarah eventually shot was a relatively little one. And the woman who mans - yes, mans - the tiny outpost hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle and lives alone for nine months of the year ... well who could blame her for trying to get in one clumsy kiss with her idol before being abandoned to another year in darkness?

As I said, a series that reinvents the zombie genre with surprising freshness and human detail. Good times.