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Escaping Alaska premiere: Meet the young people who land in San Diego

The young people of Escaping Alaska
The young people of Escaping Alaska
Discovery Communications/TLC, used with permission

Escaping Alaska, another TLC reality show begins tonight, centered on young people from Alaska getting the heck out of there to try and find happiness and life's purpose, in sunny San Diego, California. The network aired a winner last year with a similar theme.

The show, Alaskan Women Looking For Love took single 20 and 30-somethings whose dating pool was small and unexciting and transported them to Miami to see what happened. Only one of the ladies who relocated to South Beach found it too difficult to adapt and while their families were a bit shocked at the experiment, it did not rock them to their core.

In Escaping Alaska, the stakes get ratcheted up, way up because the show's subjects are all from native families whose resistance to their young people leaving is based on generations of culture. There are lies told to parents and elders to craft a story that is possible to sell, which down the line can only make matters worse.

Mary, Frank, Tamara, Qituvituaq (also known as “Q”) and Nuala are introduced in this evening's premiere on TLC at 10 p.m. ET/PT and we watch as the "escaping" part of the show's title is played out with family members. The video clip of Q explaining his life and his tribal roots is sobering as well as enlightening.

There isn't just reluctance to hurt his family, explains Q, some of his issues stem from the lifestyle he leads in a remote area that lends itself to solitary pursuits and contemplation. Yet the advance scenes the network uses in its promotional bits use beach scenes with people playing volleyball and women in bikinis.

Culture shock ensues and in one scene from the show, merely entering a typical large supermarket in San Diego causes consternation and a feeling that like Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

That's correct, you are no longer looking out on bleak landscapes and frozen tundra. It's San Diego in all its So Cal glory. How can this be anything but uncomfortable? Stay tuned.

Update: Preview video of episode 2 Sun. Aug. 3: the group attend a Mardi Gras street party. One member gets overwhelmed.

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