Jeez, is Gordon Clune a big jerk or what?
April 29, 2002 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Jeez, is Gordon Clune a big jerk or what? After weeks of anticipation (okay, several reminders from my wife), I sat down tonight to watch the first two hours of PBS's Frontier House. I thought it was much better than I expected, but I can't keep the doubts away - is this really just an 1883 Survivor?
posted by yhbc (28 comments total)
Pray that they resort to cannibalism.
posted by ColdChef at 9:01 PM on April 29, 2002

I caught it by accident, but I agree that it was oddly intriguing, albeit in a seedy sort of way. Two early impressions: (1) Wow, the Clunes are big whiners. (2) Karen Glenn has a *huge* chip on her shoulder, and will probably blow a gasket soon.
posted by Gilbert at 9:18 PM on April 29, 2002

Smithsonian Magazine has a great article about the experience of the contestants this month. And since there's no prize, I'd say it's more of an American 1900 House than a Survivor.
posted by Kevs at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2002

Yes, it is an 1883 Survivor. That's the point.
posted by fleener at 10:22 PM on April 29, 2002

I really enjoyed it, the Clunes are big whiners, and kind of ruined the spirit of the show. The show was awfully lucky that no-one was hurt in the wagon train accident though. BTW, Smithsonian Magazine article is here.
posted by patrickje at 12:00 AM on April 30, 2002

Could Karen Glenn get more self righteous? I agree that the Clunes are whiners, but does Karen have to comment on their every foible? I wish the producers would just let the families be instead of trying to turn them against each other.
posted by missmerrymack at 7:14 AM on April 30, 2002

I don't know, Karen Glenn seemed pretty level-headed in the parts that I caught last night. The Clunes did seem a little out of touch with the spirit of the show. Though I wonder how much of that is editing and how much reflects there real attitude.
posted by piskycritters at 7:16 AM on April 30, 2002

What a cool show! I think Karen Glenn’s probably rightly frustrated with them because not only are the Clunes whiney with a sense of entitlement, but they’re also taking away needed resources of time from her husband. Yes, they did luck out and get the cabin, but the Clunes have got to get their act together and fast. They’d better get those walls chinked but soon...
posted by mimi at 7:20 AM on April 30, 2002

I enjoyed watching the first two hours last night and will watch the whole thing, I'm sure. It does seem like the producers felt the need to borrow from the Survivor playbook by deliberately choosing families that wouldn't necessarily be compatible.

I mean, c'mon, a spoiled rotten bunch of super-rich SoCal yuppies? They didn't pick these people because they thought they'd be good frontiersmen, they picked 'em because they knew they'd be whiny, shallow and hapless.

And Karen Glenn was just a little too invested in the Clunes' bad attitude. You could tell she was going to butt heads with them from the outset.
posted by briank at 7:21 AM on April 30, 2002

Only two comments, not on the Clunes or Karen:

I'm going to miss Rudy when he leaves. He seemed the most level-headed of the whole bunch.

I can't believe they worked in a peeing-standing-up scene. Do all reality shows have to have one now?
posted by yhbc at 7:26 AM on April 30, 2002

I'm no historian, but it seems to me the PBS in their search for 'authenticity' overlooked something crucial. The people who moved west were probably not the most successful folks around; after all, if life is so good, why brave the wilderness for a few acres of mediocre land?

I doubt that there were very many wealthy CEO's forsaking villas in Tuscany for the woods of Montana. The original pioneers were struggling in real world life and death situations, if ol' Gordo gets too hungry he can always pick up his cell phone and charter himself a flight back to the beach.

The Glenns really aren't any better, despite their backwoods Tennessee pretentions, they too are educated professionals. Even if she is a bitch.

I'll watch it again but I'm a little disapointed with PBS's pandering to the Survivor crowd. It would have made for a far better show if they had chosen families who had something to gain, rather than people who have nothing to lose.
posted by cedar at 8:55 AM on April 30, 2002

Another format successfully sold. I watched both the 1900 house and the 1940's house and I found the latter to be the most interesting. There's something about the deprivations of war that make the experiment worthwhile.
posted by Summer at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2002

I hope they vote the Clunes off the island this week.
posted by Soliloquy at 10:08 AM on April 30, 2002

I found this many times more interesting than "Survivor". My only gripe is that they can't hunt. It is one area where Gordon is right to gripe. Hunting would be one of the most important sources of food. Since PBS couldn't get permission for them to hunt, they should just provide a regular supply of meat that the families have to go on a long walk to get to compensate for time that would have been spent hunting.

How about Nate Brooks? Is he a nice guy or what?
posted by McBain at 10:40 AM on April 30, 2002

Yeah, the Clunes and their clinging to makeup, rifle hunting, and general bitchiness was pretty funny. I hope they grow up.

I guess conflict is a hallmark of the format, I was a bit surprised to see the families didn't cooperate a bit better. I think the produces have quite a bit of sway about what happens, so I imagine they could influence the outcomes. But then again, I have a comfy chair to sit in.
posted by daver at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2002

Maybe the Clunes will graduate to 'Cave Dwellers!' , which airs in 2003 I think (kidding).
posted by daver at 10:44 AM on April 30, 2002

My favorite part was Adriene Clune sobbing (yes, *sobbing*) because she couldn't wear makeup. I guess that's what everyone already thinks about those of us from L.A. anyway.
posted by electro at 10:54 AM on April 30, 2002

I guess conflict is a hallmark of the format, I was a bit surprised to see the families didn't cooperate a bit better.

I wasn't. The Clunes haven't had to ask anyone for help in quite a while, and I'm sure they have no idea how to do it, (unless payment is involved). The bit with the cow and calf getting out and running back to the Glenn's was priceless. Instead of fetching their animals, they send their kids out, in wet cloths to milk. Where the hell was Gordon while his livestock were missing and his kids were freezing? (He sure wasn't chinking the cabin).

That snowstorm sucked. My wife and I live about 50 miles from where the homesteads are. That snowstorm caused an awful lot of grief here in town. I can only imagine how much that must have sucked for those poor city folk in an unfinished cabin.

Honest to god, my wife and I spent the entire two hours laughing last night. We both grew up in Montana. I grew up in a house that only had wood heat, I spent 7 years of my life milking stock twice a day. Our well pump went out once on new years day when the temperature was -20 (without the windchill). We were without running water for about a month. I have a pretty good inkling at how harsh the living for those folks can be. But they have choices, they can deal with it, or they can keep relying on the fantasy that its not real. Karen Glenn is now one of my personal heroes. Bitchy or not, she's showing exactly what it probably took to survive and prosper in those conditions. Gordon Clune and his show-piece wife should be slapped silly for arrogance and stupid denial of the situation; and then prosecuted for child abuse.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:29 AM on April 30, 2002

My opinion of Gordo went way up when he built the still.
posted by yhbc at 8:16 PM on April 30, 2002 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the moonshine was a nice twist. But what struck me odd was Gordon's complaint that he was "wasting away" when in fact he looked much healthier having lost his 30lb gut. We should all be so lean.

And while Karen Glenn may have the gumption to survive, she lacks the diplomacy required for family leadership. She's obviously the smartest of her clan but has totally alienated her husband, which could soon leave her stranded without cheap man-power.

Poor Nate is the tragic hero, saddled with a bride who's scared of the sheep and whines just as much as the Clune girls about not looking cute. I was hoping the Brooks newlyweds would save the story, but now I have my doubts.
posted by johnnyace at 4:09 AM on May 1, 2002

I think the clunes made a big comeback last night. The still was the master stroke.
posted by Mick at 6:10 AM on May 1, 2002

Frontier House, Night 2: Attack of the Clunes

(somebody had to say it....)
posted by briank at 7:24 AM on May 1, 2002

Poor Nate is the tragic hero, saddled with a bride who's scared of the sheep and whines just as much as the Clune girls about not looking cute. I was hoping the Brooks newlyweds would save the story, but now I have my doubts.

Oh, I think it just sticks out a little bit more, because she didn't go through the culture shock at the same time as everyone else. She seemed to be comming along as the show progressed (did she get to go through the training at all?) When she as freaking out about the baking soda vs. baking powder ("who even knows what these things do!") my stomach totally sank. I was sure they were screwed. But by the end of the night she was making goat cheese, so I think they will do fine.
posted by eckeric at 8:49 AM on May 1, 2002

My favorite part was when they brought in a doctor for Gordon Clune's "starvation" problem & his evaluation was that Gordo was of healthy weight & a bit dehydrated. ha!

This show is very well made. Wow.
posted by palegirl at 12:54 PM on May 2, 2002

I really wanted another update more current than two months after the end of the project. The Clunes seemed to have been changed, even as they kept cheating right up to the end, but now, almost a year after it began, have they reverted back to their sniveling ways? What happened with Mark Glenn? He seemed to be a very changed person, while Karen Glenn couldn't seem to get her head out of her ass.
posted by briank at 1:18 PM on May 2, 2002

As long as someone else turned the thread back on (thx, palegirl!) I'll spew some thoughts on the wrap-up. As it turned out, it wasn't "Survivor 1883", although the Clunes and Karen obviously went into it thinking it was. Nobody "won"; Nate and Kristen came closest, but they still didn't have enough wood to survive the first winter. The Clunes would definitely have starved and frozen to death, even though they were both insisting they would have done okay - although they tried to have the rules two ways. On one hand, Gordon insisted that if it had really been 1883, they would've been able to hunt, so they would have had a lot more food. On the other hand, they were willing to use a modern bed because they could, and trade with modern people for out-of-season vegetables (which they couldn't have done in 1883), because they were willing to do whatever was "necessary to survive". Finally, the Glenns' entire experience only showed the inherent weakness of their marriage.

In the post-frontier scenes, it seemed that it was only the kids that really got anything of value out of the experience. They were the ones who didn't want to leave, and who found that back in 2001 there was too much "else" to do, and none of it was interesting any more. I found that to be a very refeshing point, and perhaps the best thing to come from the series.
posted by yhbc at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

I try very hard not to be envious of rich people, because I've seen time and again -- on "Frontier House" and elsewhere -- that they're as miserable as anyone else. But I found myself appalled -- contemptuous and *appalled* -- by the size of that fucking mansion of the Clunes'. Were they changed? I don't think so. They still think the rules don't apply to them, their family motto is still "It's not fair" and the girls are still bored bored bored. The fact they delivered this assessment while sitting in their oceanfront hot tub put my jaw on the floor.
posted by nance at 5:36 PM on May 2, 2002

What happened with Mark Glenn?

just a yahoo! update:
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Eight months after leaving Montana, the Tennessee college administrator who experienced life as a 19th-century homesteader on the PBS TV series "Frontier House" has returned to the mountains to work as a ranch hand.
only for a month tho, but "Glenn has leads on jobs at other ranches" :)
posted by kliuless at 5:34 PM on June 27, 2002

« Older All coach seats are not created equal   |   Fear Can Turn Us All Into 'Good Germans.' Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments