Media, Politics

A brief look: ‘Big Hair Alaska’ reality TV’s not-so-stylish new show

By Theresa Mallinson 5 August 2011

Just how low can reality TV go? And how big can you make someone's hair? “Big Hair Alaska”, featuring a hair salon patronised by Sarah Palin, promises to answer both these questions. By THERESA MALLINSON.

These days no subject is too private – or too trivial – for reality television. And if there’s a celebrity attached for marketing purposes anything goes.

But US channel TLC (this acronym used to stand for “the learning channel”) is really scraping the barrel with its new offering: “Big Hair Alaska”, a show about Sarah Palin’s hair. Okay, it’s not really about her hair, but about a hair salon called Beehive, where Palin is a valued client.

Jessica Steele, the owner of Beehive and mistress of the “up-do”, is super-excited. The LA Times quoted her Facebook post: “TLC just announced their fall lineup, and we are on it!!!! Our show is called Big Hair Alaska!!!! Omg!!! It’s really happening!!!! :)” If that’s how Steele treats punctuation when she’s excited, we shudder to think what’s going to become of her clients’ hair. Although, to be fair, Palin’s coif generally looks pretty decent – at least it’s nowhere near as outlandish as some of her statements.

Palin’s own reality show called “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”, aired last year to mixed reviews and was not renewed for a second season. This venture into reality television tried to position the former Alaskan governor as an outdoorsy, down-to-earth type in an attempt to attract viewers (not to mention prospective voters).

It has not yet been revealed whether Palin will make a personal appearance on “Big Hair Alaska”, but the show’s flimsy premise will become even flimsier if she fails to put in a cameo. Just what she would stand to gain from the experience is less certain. Perhaps she hopes her hair will be big enough to repudiate the critics of her documentary, “The Undefeated”.

Shows like “Survivor” and “Fear Factor” have reeled in viewers with several hair-raising moments. But whether this has prepared them to deal with the reality of Big Hair is another question. DM


Read more:

  • Big Hair Alaska: Sarah Palin’s favourite salon gets reality TV show, in the Daily Mail;
  • Alaska salon patronized by Palin gets own TV show in the LA Times.

Photo: Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, fixes her hair near her husband Todd and daughter Bristol, after taking part in the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride to honour U.S. veterans, in Washington May 29, 2011. REUTERS/Molly Riley.

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