The last time Sarah Palin appeared at a Television Critics Association press tour, she upstage husband Todd’s NBC reality show, but was herself upstaged by Crystal, the simian co-star of the short-lived alleged-comedy “Animal Practice.”
On Friday (January 10) morning, Sarah Palin had the spotlight all to herself and successfully filled a Pasadena hotel ballroom even at 8 a.m. and even though she was appearing for a network — Sportsman Channel — few in the TCA room are even vaguely aware of.
The elaborate breakfast, which I’m dubbing Pancakes with Palin — it featured both pancakes and also Palin — was a deviation from the normal TCA buffet that includes eggs, bacon/sausage, hashbrowns, fruit and pastry. In their place, we got treats that were very vaguely and tangentially connected to Palin’s Alaskan background, including salmon — definitely not “lox” — and crab quiche, though it’s unclear if Palin approved the dispersal of the conspicuously European tart. [I’m not saying that Sarah Palin takes issue with European puffery, but Sportsman Channel accidentally dubbed our hotels Viennese Ballroom the “Viennes” Ballroom for the printed flyers at each table.
Palin, wearing American flag heels, will be starring in “Amazing America with Sarah Palin” and she greeted the room of critics with great enthusiasm.
“I’m glad to be here because I love critics,” she gushed. “I do! I love critics. And you know how much I love the media, so a room full of media and television critics together? I can’t beat this combination for pleasure!”
But Palin wasn’t merely professing respect/adoration for the writers in the hall. She also put her guest bedroom where her mouth is.
“I want to invite you guys to come up to Alaska and see our real world, see how it is that we live out kinda that Americana dream of productivity and reward for work ethic and conservation and just loving the great outdoors and living it every day. That is Todd and my kids and my family and my extended family, that is our lifestyle. That’s what we do,” she said. “I want you guys to come up there. That is the way that we can connect. That is the way that you can see us unguarded, unchained and really living that red, wild and blue America.”
“Red, Wild and Blue” is part of the Sportsman Channel’s ethos and, Palin emphasizes, it’s a part of her home state’s ethos as well.
“So much of Alaska is what America used to be, with that pioneering independent spirit up there,” she says. “Remember what made America exception, what built America? Two things: One, it was by the utilization and responsible development of our natural resources. That’s what we’re all about in Alaska. And expectation of work ethic. That’s how America was carved out of wilderness and became the greatest nation on Earth. What our show is gonna do is help fundamentally restore that, restore that Americana spirit that built us, that laid the foundation for where we are today.”
Palin was specifically passionate about the impact her show might have on young women, even if it happens to be on a network with a gendered name.
“I want young women to be inspired by the show that we’re gonna put together,” she says. “One of the reasons is because I think this world would be better off having more young women holding a fish in a picture and fewer of them holding their camera in front of a bathroom mirror doing selfies.”
By “holding a fish,” she means a fish caught out in the wild, incidentally. I don’t want you thinking that Palin is in favor of fish-face selfies, but not general selfies.
Palin promised that she would “beebop” around the room to chat with each individual table of critics, which never actually happened, but after her prepared statement, she did chat with a large gaggle of reporters. But before taking questions, she repeated her invite up to Alaska.
“I want you guys to experience it,” she says. “But again, not just through the show and not just me getting to shake your hands and say ‘Hi’ and all that stuff. But I sincerely invite you. So Todd, be prepared. Put an extra helping of moose chili in the crock pot or whatever. I do invite you guys to come up.”
She had me at moose chili.