Before Jersey Shore takes its final bow with the series finale on December 20 (Season 6, Episode 13: “Goodbye Seaside”), MTV announced that the most influential reality show of the aughts would be replaced by Buckwild, a show that takes many of the successful elements of Jersey Shore — wild kids on the cusp of adulthood, no rules or supervision, and charismatic characters with their own insular vocabulary — and sets it all in West Virginia.
Buckwild hasn’t even premiered yet — the first episode airs on January 3 in Jersey Shore’s old timeslot — and already there is an uprising of negative attention and critique. A similar onslaught of criticism came about with MTV’s announcement that they would bring Skins to the US. Skins was a controversial show because of the precocious sexuality and the underage actors bearing so much, well, skin.
But Buckwild brings up a different set of concerns. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has already voiced his discontent with the “repulsive” show, arguing that the cast represents “ugly and inaccurate stereotypes” about the state. Once again, a similar controversy surrounded Jersey Shore during its first season, when Italian Americans took offense at the guido-and-guidette representation of their culture.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter’s TV critic, Tim Goodman, is complaining about the “cookie-cutter predictability of MTV” in combining Jersey Shore and Honey Boo Boo in an effort to shock audiences. More of his commentary includes the following.
“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.”
On one hand, we give THR credit for pointing out the similarities among MTV’s biggest, most profitable hits: The Real World, Jersey Shore, and all the Challenges are, at their core, shows about young people getting drunk and yelling rude things before making unfortunate decisions about whose bed to pass out in. At some point, if it hasn’t already, this behavior starts to lose its novelty, no matter where the action is set.
However, as fans of Jersey Shore, we want to defend Snooki, Ronnie, Sammi, Deena Nicole, The Situation, Pauly D, Vinny, and show creator SallyAnn Salsano against being tossed into the same category as all the other drunk-on-camera shows. We happen to think that SallyAnn was genius in making her casting decisions, and that this particular group of eight 20somethings were, and are, different from the rest.
Unlike most reality stars, the Jersey Shore stars haven’t moved to Los Angeles and bought McMansions. Most of them still live in New Jersey, and some (including Vinny and Snooki) live steps away from their families. Underneath all the self-tanner, animal prints, and shirts before the shirts, this cast is a big bundle of sweetness and love. They’re not kidding around when they call each other “family,” and while we wish more shows found this kind of camaraderie among its cast, the crazy eight are most likely a rare exception to the rule.
It’s too early to judge Buckwild, but if MTV is very lucky, it can prove its critics wrong by presenting a similar level of heart among the cast members. Here’s hoping!
Catch the next new episode of Jersey Shore on Thursday, December 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, TIME
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