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Why Noah's Season 5 Date On Alaskan Bush People Raised Fans' Eyebrows

By this point, most TV viewers know that the term "reality TV" should be taken with a grain of salt. From Naked and Afraid exaggerating how isolating their stranded contestants actually are to the accusations that the auctions on Storage Wars are as phony as a $3 bill, it's hard to find a reality TV show that hasn't had an authenticity scandal of some kind. 

The Discovery Channel's docuseries, Alaskan Bush People, is not an exception to that rule.

The series, which follows the eccentric Brown family, who (allegedly) live off-the-grid in the wilds of Alaska, has been dinged in the past a number of times for misleading viewers about the actual lives of the family. That erosion of trust between series and its viewers is likely part of the reason why fans were so quick to question the validity of the events of the season 5 episode, "Driving Miss Rainy."

In the episode, Noah has the family compound, Browntown, to himself for the day. That's convenient, as a woman named Karryna he previously met while visiting California just so happens to be in the area, and has agreed to boat into the bush to go on a first date with the youngest Brown son. In fact, it was so convenient that many fans had a hard time believing the entire thing wasn't faked.

Why Noah's date seemed suspicious to some viewers

One doesn't need to have a super-sensitive olfactory system to have smelled that something was fishy about Noah's date. The segment is introduced with a flashback that shows Noah meeting Karryna while on the beach in California. He explains that they swapped numbers and when he found out that she was coming to Alaska to visit a friend, he decided to invite her to Browntown.

Karryna later arrives on a boat and it's immediately clear that she's more than a little out of place. In a confessional interview, she explains, "Noah's a very different and interesting person. He lives a different lifestyle than me, and I'm curious to see if I like that lifestyle." However, the complete lack of chemistry between the two makes it hard to believe that Karryna is actually all that invested in the potential relationship. Or that she even gave him her phone number in the first place.

Noah takes her to all the hot spots in Browntown, including the firing range to shoot an antique pistol and the barely insulated former-chicken coop he calls a home, where he sings an awkward ballad about his ex-girlfriend using an electronic keyboard he says he found at the dump. Throughout it all, Karryna is pleasant, but detached, which left fans feeling like she came to Alaska for something other than romance.

Some fans are convinced that Noah's date was staged

After the episode aired, fans took to the internet to wonder out loud if Noah's date was genuine, or a storyline orchestrated by the producers. In the comments section of a clip of the date on YouTube, one viewer came right out and said, "Geez, Discovery. If you're going fake a date at least be consistent. You got the date looking like she came from a Mac store in the wilderness."

Another user had a more pointed accusation. They asked, "Why would she go to meet him if not an actress set up by the producers?"

The theory that Karryna is an actress hired by the producers for the date proved to be a popular one. On the show's Facebook page, several fans wrote in and called Karryna's intentions into question. One person wrote, "Obvious the girl that came to visit Noah was a farce...or getting some public attention for herself." Another got even more specific, and said, "Karryna Kauffman is an actress and model from San Diego looking for 15 minutes of fame on a reality show. No genuine interest in [Noah] Brown!!!"

That accusation was trumpeted by many commentators on Facebook and elsewhere. But is it actually true?

Is the woman Noah went on a date with really an actress?

As with many things in life, the answer to the question of whether Karryna Kauffman is an actress playing a part, or a person who genuinely had an interest in dating Noah and potentially moving into his chicken coop, isn't so cut and dry.

One thing is definitely true: Karryna Kauffman is (or was) an actress. She even has an IMDB page where her appearance on Alaskan Bush People is listed under the "Self" category. According to her resume, outside of her trip to Browntown, her only other appearances were in a few short films, and as an extra, and she doesn't have any acting credits after 2012. So, even though it appears that her career was short-lived, she did work as an actress.

That might be enough of a smoking gun for some, but it still isn't hard proof that she was hired for the date, or just doing it for exposure. Just being an actress doesn't automatically mean someone is acting, and while it may seem obvious to some fans that she was only on the show to raise her public image, it's also entirely possible that she is both an actress and had a genuine interest in Noah.

So, while there's no proof that the producers staged Noah's season 5 date, it's also not totally out of the realm of possibility. The real moral of the story here is if you demand total authenticity from your TV programming, Alaskan Bush People might not be the show for you.