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Gold Rush Alaska

Updated on January 14, 2012

Gold Rush: Alaska

Herein we present a brief character synopsis of the semi-epic reality television series "Gold Rush: Alaska." Discovery Channel brings us weekly episodes. Already into its' second season, it chronicles the efforts of amateur gold miners struggling to extract gold from the pristine Alaskan wilderness. The show claims #1 status for Friday Evening cable TV. One wonders why they don't swing by the nearest strip mall and pick up a few ounces, thereby circumventing the need for heavy equipment and heartache, but this storyline remains unexplored.

Character development intersperses with dirty guys digging in dirt. Imagine the digging part: we provide in-depth psycho-social analysis of everyday average dudes eschewing 9-5 workdays in favor of risking it all for a big payday out where the moose play. Or something like that.

Gold Rush Alaska: Todd Hoffman

The titular leader of his mining crew, Todd swings predictably between extremes of optimism and despair. His skill piloting heavy equipment far from the enveloping gaze of OSHA is only exceeded by his ability to ignore the most significant details of his life-or-death project. For example, he forgot to pay the rent on his mining claim as he wintered with his family in the Lower 48. Tragedy resulted, but Todd rallied his crew to recover from his cosmic gaffe. Somehow his merry men overlooked the fact that just as they were about to strike it rich, they were evicted into the stunning Alaskan countryside. One can only admire the view so many times until the family home drops into foreclosure back in Oregon.

This fellow is in the way.
This fellow is in the way. | Source

Gold Rush Alaska: Jack Hoffman

Todd's father ostensibly possesses gold mining experience from 'back in the day.' Evidently this experience involved a mule and pickaxe because Jack contributes nothing to the current effort save for intense unfounded unexplainable optimism. Over and over he explains to the camera that he fully expect to harvest millions of dollars in the next one or two episodes. Any hint of gold sends him into generic paroxysms of bland enthusiasm guaranteed to be contradicted in following scenes. He sports a really nice gold mining beard.

Gold Rush Alaska: James Dorsey

Always include a real-estate agent in your team of gold miners. Their soft pink hands and wide backsides may not be amenable to 14 hour days toiling in the old growth Alaskan wilderness, but you will never lack the crybaby factor. Mr. Dorsey lasted less than one season before declaring himself put-upon and hastening down the wind with his wife. He couldn't get along with Todd. He didn't like being told what to do. His bunk was too soft, his porridge too cold, his chair too small. Whatever the reason, Jimmy leveraged his sad circumstances into an episode dedicated almost entirely to his sorry mien. He ended up as chum boy on a fishing boat. We don't talk about him any more.

Gold Rush Alaska: James Harness

Lock a cadre of Emmy-winning screenwriters in a room with doughnuts and 5 Hour Energy: after 30 seconds they will give you James Harness. This tragic hero struggles against debilitating spinal ailments to repair heavy equipment with few tools, no online manuals, and long-expired warranties. The nearest Home Depot being about 3000 miles away, James executes his mechanical prestidigitation with independent grace, except when he doesn't. Once in a while he just up and leaves. He vanishes, leaving his mates to drink coffee and stare at the moose. Evidently there's a Hilton just around the river bend, because Mr. Harness always returns refreshed and rested.

The Narrator

Back in a climate-controlled studio somewhere along the California Coast, Mr. Narrator adds a tone of imminent disaster to the proceedings. Anything that goes wrong, any machine that fails, any moose that wanders into camp, immediately poses a threat to "the entire mining operation." For lack of a screw, the pump was lost, for lack of a pump, the wash plant was lost: for lack of a wash plant, the mining season was lost... Nothing happens at Camp Gold that doesn't directly affect the team's ability to get gold. Somehow, it all comes together. Somehow, a shiny new hunk of earth moving equipment trundles into camp just before "the entire mining operation" swirls down the drain. Somehow, dudes settle their differences over the flavor of their morning coffee before chronic caffeine deficiency shuts down "the entire mining operation." Don't ever ask this guy how his day is going.

Other Guys

There are more guys. One has a mustache and another is really good at digging in the dirt. Another wants to fight people. They all swear.


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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Bing, not so much anymore. I never liked them anyway.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Bing is blowing this hub up.

      Bad grammar. Sorry.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Not being a boob tube freak I must be missing something. LOL

      The Frog

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I have to agree with drbj. Great rundown from I assume a climate controlled room lol Nicomp one of the services you offer so well is sarcasm

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj : Don't we all?

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      The review was masterful, nicomp, but the program? Do you really watch it?