'Buckwild': MTV Has a 'Controversial' New Show! Who Here Is Shocked?
THR's chief TV critic on Sen. Joe Manchin's appeal to MTV's moral center: Good luck with that.
Stop me if you’ve heard this tedious situation before:
MTV has a new reality show …
… that focuses on wild, uninhibited …
… teens and twentysomethings from a particular, distinct part of the country …
… who drink and party and fight and have sex and cause drama …
… and a politician is really upset about it. He's shocked!
OK, so pretty much everyone with a television or access to a computer knows all too well about this cookie-cutter predictability of MTV. Now that Jersey Shore is done, MTV is turning its cameras on West Virginia for Buckwild, which is kind of like Jersey Shore meets Honey Boo Boo -- ka-ching!
Which means that the pleas of Sen. Joe Manchin, who represents West Virginia and who, according to the Washington Post, sent a letter to MTV, will fall on deaf ears. Manchin reportedly asked MTV to “put a stop to the travesty that is Buckwild.” No doubt that will end up on the DVD box cover.
Manchin has seen only clips of the series -- which premieres at 10 p.m. Jan. 3, in the longtime Jersey Shore slot -- and he’s convinced that “this show plays to the ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.” He's certainly not wrong about that.
What he means is that drunk, horny hillbillies who shoot guns, roll down mountain sides in tractor tires, swim in a pool in the back of a dump truck and generally update The Dukes of Hazzard with a lot more skankiness and swearing is not fair.
Like Jersey Shore was not fair to New Jersey. And yet -- who smells the money? Good look with the appeal to MTV’s moral center, senator.
The only thing shocking about Buckwild, after having seen all of MTV’s clips and behind-the-scenes interviews, is that anyone would be shocked. Reality shows are the ultimate cliche, and nobody knows that better nor does it better than MTV. From The Real World to Jersey Shore, MTV always has been there to document the debauchery of youth, which never goes out of style. In fact, MTV has made such a cottage industry out of drinking, getting laid, swearing and stupidity played out for the cameras that the youth of America is all too willing to mimic what it knows from these shows -- essentially acting out specific roles played by hoochie-skanks and testosterone-fueled, low-rent Abercrombie & Fitch wannabe male models.
It’s what the channel does. It’s what it probably always will do, since somewhere in America there’s a bunch of tweeners who will gladly show MTV their tits when they finally grow some. It’s the cycle of life, people, in this celebrity reality star world. Remember, Snooki was just somebody’s daughter once, probably watching The Real World in her younger, more innocent days. Now maybe one of these Appalachian girls aspires to be the next Snooki.
And so it goes. Yawn.
The Buckwild clips are filled with exactly what you’d expect: people driving crazy in the mud of the West Virginia mountains, lots of girls screaming mean things at each other, some dudes trying crazy stunts, drinking, grinding and MTV’s brand of discreet editing. Like when, in one promo real, a girl named Ashley recalls how she met Tyler, dancing in a bar (cut to a scene of her dancing, her naked upper half blotted out as they bounce around) and concluding with Tyler saying, “I f---ed the shit out of her,” but bleeped. “You can’t say that!” Ashley says.
Oh, too late, honey. The Internet never forgets.
So, yes, you’ve seen and heard this all before. And Sen. Manchin should know better as well -- but he’s a politician, and he can’t let stuff like this slide, which is precisely what MTV must have been hoping for. His condemnation is as predictable as Buckwild, but he does get one thing hopelessly wrong. In his letter to MTV, Manchin wrote:
“Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior -- and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”
First off, it’s doubtful they needed any coaxing. Second, MTV does not care about what constitutes wrong. Hell, at least in the case of Buckwild, the channel can write it off as “an authentic comedy” because everyone knows it’s scripted and forced. I mean, everyone knows, right? How could they not? We’ve been watching this same show for years now.