CNHI News Service

Opinion

December 13, 2012

COLUMN: MTV's 'Buckwild' far from West Virginia reality

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — “Buckwild,” the soon-to-be-released MTV West Virginia-based reality show, has been all over the national news. The network  has got to be loving the free publicity.

Folks back home in West Virginia aren’t quite as happy. Many are downright upset. And their concern is justified.

Normally, we reserve judgment on a television show until actually viewing the entire broadcast. But MTV’s preview of “Buckwild” is enough to realize the upcoming series is bad news for the Mountain State.

Coming from the same network that brought “Jersey Shore” to television, MTV will air the inaugural episode of   “Buckwild” at 10 p.m. on Jan. 3. The series was filmed in Charleston and Sissonville, and features nine young adults.

The eye-opening trailer shows the cast of men and women drinking, cursing and swearing, undressing and making out, four-wheeling, fighting and even filling a dump truck with water and using it as a swimming pool. Whether they were acting to the camera — or being as “real” as reality television can get — their actions and words are reason for concern.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin denied the producers tax credits for the 12-part series because of concerns over its negative and inaccurate portrayal of West Virginians.

“Buckwild” isn’t Spike TV’s “Coal.” Nor is it Universal Picture’s “October Sky,” or Steven Spielberg’s “Super 8.”  Not even close. Instead, it appears to be a very sad effort by MTV to create a wrongful image of West Virginia and to promote an ugly stereotype of the proud citizens of the Mountain State. That’s truly sad.

But shouldn’t we be used to it by now?

Back in 2002, CBS wanted to develop the “The Real Beverly Hillbillies,” featuring residents of rural Appalachia relocated to Beverly Hills, Calif.  Plans for that show were thankfully canceled following widespread opposition from West Virginians.

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