Former governor of Alaska and candidate for vice president Sarah Palin announced in the spring that she would be making a reality show called "Sarah Palin's Alaska" which has recently begun airing episodes. The New Yorker reports on the pilot.
This piece was particularly interesting to me because of its structure. The 'scene' that the reporter covers is the show as it progresses, though she could logically have done the reporting from her living room. After opening with a diatribe about the quality of programming on TLC and the American people's awkward tastes, she goes on to catalog the events unfolding on screen sequentially.
Though the show does give a look into Palin's family life, the New Yorker said, every moment of their interactions feels calculated and premeditated, exposing the 'show' aspect of it. Beyond that, the education the show attempts to give viewers on the wonders of Alaska never makes it past grade school, the New Yorker reported.
Mixed in with the events that take place with her family are moments when Palin steps back to reveal more of her personal political philosophy or outlook on an issue. For instance, when the family returns home after a night out, Palin ties the privacy fence erected to keep nosy journalists out of their business to her thoughts on immigration and how to secure the borders of the country.
Going on a show like this is a risky political move. On the campaign trail with John McCain in '08 Palin made several gaffes that cost them public favor and, potentially, votes. Thrusting Palin even further into the public eye, albeit in an editable and controllable medium, could be disastrous for her popularity as a potential politician or presidential contender. Only time will tell how voters feel about Palin, but as the New Yorker closed, "She says that she'd 'rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office' and 'a poor day of fishin' beats even a great day of work.' In that spirit, I wish Palin many, many days--years--of fishin', starting now."