WASHINGTON, January 3, 2013 —MTV’s newest reality show, Buckwild, premieres tonight. But the controversy surrounding the show has been building up since its trailer went live on the MTV website in late November, 2012. Just like Jersey Shore, this show is all about encouraging bad behavior in young people, then exploiting it for profit. The only difference is where this bad behavior takes place.
Filmed in Sissonville, West Virginia, a small town near the state capital of Charleston, the show follows the antics of nine friends as they come of age in the heart of Appalachia. The fact that it exploits regional stereotypes should come as no surprise. Shows like Honey Boo Boo and Moonshiners are just two examples of this current trend, so don’t blame MTV for continuing to cash in on a proven format.
These ridiculous shows are made because people watch them, not because they are accurate or even believable. Creating controversy plays a big part in their success, so complaining about them only fuels the fire. Someone should have told this to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin before he decided to attack MTV for the show’s negative portrayal of his constituents. The national attention he encouraged by voicing his disdain probably made the creators of Buckwild do cartwheels, then pop the cork on a bottle of celebratory champagne. After all, bad press is better than no press at all.
These shows don’t exist in a vacuum. They continue to be made because they are profitable. Talk shows will still have the cast members as guests, news channels will insist on over-analyzing their impact, and people like me will continue to write about them. My own discussion of the controversy they create makes me no less guilty of perpetuating them than the networks that air them or the audience that sustains the apparent demand for this kind of programming.
Since I grew up in Appalachia, I’ve dealt with the misconceptions of the region’s people my whole life. I stopped complaining about them a long time ago. I know the true nature of the region and its people. I also know how fortunate I am to live here. I’ll just sit here in my mountain home and smile, and quietly applaud my fellow Appalachians for figuring out a way to tap into the reality show goldmine. Jumping off a roof into a dump truck filled with water beats the heck out of earning a living driving that same truck for a strip mining company.
At the end of the day, the only variable that exists is who pockets the money. The rest is just a bunch of white noise that adds up to nothing. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
All times are EST:
ABC: Nashville: (Repeat) Rayna is upset when her record label asks her to tour as the opening act for a popular newcomer; Rayna’s father, Lamar, disregards her wishes when he backs her husband in a run for mayor of Nashville.
CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (New) Sheldon gets accused of sexual harassment at the University and winds up getting Leonard, Raj and Wolowitz in trouble.
FOX: Mobbed: (New) Howie Mandel and thousands of strangers help a woman present her long-time boyfriend with an ultimatum.
NBC: 30 Rock: (Repeat) Liz’s baby fever rises when she chums up to a pregnant teenage donut-shop staffer in a bid to adopt her baby. At 30 Rock, Jenna pushes for more attention as her birthday approaches. And Jack participates in a guys’ night out, only to connect with Frank over their “daddy issues.” John Lithgow and Patti LuPone guest star.
CW: The Vampire Diaries: (Repeat) As a Winter Wonderland-themed party fills the streets of Mystic Falls, Stefan and Caroline find themselves at odds with Tyler over his plans for Klaus and his hybrids.
CBS: Two and a Half Men: (New) Using Walden’s money, Alan invests in Kate’s fashion line. Meanwhile, leading a double life starts to take its toll on Walden.
NBC: Up All Night: (Repeat) Chris reunites with his irritating college roommate and is roped into going to a party.
ESPN: Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State.
ABC: Scandal: (Repeat) A catastrophic event forces Olivia to go back to work at the White House; the first few days of Fitz’s presidency.
CBS: Person of Interest: (New) Finch goes undercover as a high school substitute teacher to protect a teen genius POI as Carter undertakes a dangerous mission to stop the FBI from determining that an imprisoned Reese is the “Man In a Suit.”
FOX: Mobbed: (New) Howie Mandel and thousands of strangers help a woman tell her husband big news.
NBC: The Office: (Repeat) Angela discovers the harsh truth about her husband’s affair with Oscar, so she reaches out to Dwight for help. Meanwhile, Jim requests a favor from Stanley and Phyllis; Pam begins painting a mural in the warehouse; and Pete creates a tower made out of complaint cards.
CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) Vincent (Jay Ryan) is captured on a convenience store surveillance video while preventing a robbery, and Cat (Kristin Kreuk) warns him to be extra careful when his photo appears in the newspaper.
NBC: Parks and Recreation: (Repeat) Leslie is apprehensive about meeting Ben’s divorced parents for the first time; Tom turns to Jean-Ralphio for help pitching his new business venture to Ron; and Chris finds himself on an emotional roller coaster.
ABC: Scandal: (Repeat) Olivia helps the vice president; Cyrus learns the truth about James’ investigation; Olivia’s associates struggle with an unexpected betrayal.
CBS: Elementary: (New) Sherlock and Joan investigate the murder of the general manager of a high-end Manhattan hotel whose body is found inside an industrial laundry machine. Meanwhile, since Joan’s time with Sherlock is almost up, he offers her an apprenticeship.
NBC: Rock Center With Brian Williams: (Repeat) Meredith Vieira interviews Mimi Alford, author of “Once Upon a Secret: My Affair With President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath.” Alford describes the 18-month affair she allegedly had with Kennedy that began when she was 19-years-old.
New episodes of:
Moonshiners at 8 p.m. on DSC
The Real Housewives of Miami at 9 p.m. on BRAVO
How it’s Made at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on Sci
Beyond Scared Straight at 10 p.m. on A&E
Sweet Genius at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
Buckwild at 10 p.m. on MTV
What Not to Wear at 10 p.m. on TLC
For movie lovers:
The Karate Kid on AMC
Man of the House on ENC
Muriel’s Wedding on FLIX
The Waterboy on FX
Suicide Kings on IFC
Super on TMC
New Year’s Eve on HBO
J. Edgar on HBO
Big Miracle on HBO
The Thing on MOMAX
The Help on SHO
Just Go With It on STARZ
Cadillac Man on CINEMAX
Heavenly Creatures on FLIX
Exit Wounds on REELZ
Frantic on SUND
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