Buckwild premieres on MTV: Are there too many rednecks on TV?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 3, 2013 

Just when you learned how to decipher Honey Boo Boo's words without subtitles, cable TV throws another country curveball: "Buckwild," which premiered on MTV Thursday night.

The show, set in West Virginia, is called a "dump truck swimmin' good time" on MTV's website. Maybe you've seen the official trailer, which features mud, young adults, beeped expletives and more mud.

It's often labeled a redneck version of "Jersey Shore."

On Thursday's premiere, it took about four minutes until we heard this line: "You ever been muddin'?"

"Muddin'" apparently refers to driving through mud in an oversize truck. It must have some therapeutic value, as one cast member vowed, "This is my medication right here."

About 10 minutes later, we saw the cast doing something equally extreme, swimming in some questionable "power plant water." Then, we got the inevitable house party, complete with crostini and caviar. Kidding. Instead, the defining element was an angry neighbor who ignited one female cast member's physical rage.

That caused the "Buckwild" girls to get evicted, which conveniently made for antics involving pickup trucks and mattresses. Luckily, the girls found another place to live -- and relocating worked well for the guys, too. "I don't even have to drive into the city to get my flirt on," a male cast member said.

Snap judgment: The show lacks the appeal of "Jersey Shore." Will it survive? We'll have to wait and see.

But in the meantime, one thing is clear: You might be a redneck if you just scored a reality TV deal.

The Orange County Register describes the phenomenon in a recent article headlined "Redneck TV rules the airwaves."

It notes, "No topic in reality-documentary land has ever turned out as many shows as the redneck boom, which has spawned series on A&E, Animal Planet, CMT, Discovery, History, National Geographic and TLC." Which is why I'm skeptical about Buckwild's chances of survival. For better or worse, "Jersey Shore" capitalized on new territory. The redneck thing has already been done.

"Buckwild" premieres just days before the arrival of new Honey Boo Boo holiday -- er, HOLLAday -- specials. "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," of course, is a reality TV show set in McIntyre, Ga. It gave rise to an Internet obsession with "sketti," spaghetti with a sauce made of butter and ketchup.

Nauseous? You better redneckognize.

While "Buckwild" doesn't have an overt Georgia connection, its portrayal of "the South" could affect perceptions of our state.

A 2011 NPR piece notes, "Despite reality TV's tendency to stupefy everything it touches, perhaps it's time for these programs to actually get real and give us a vision of Southern culture that reaches beyond the fun-loving redneck."

Discussion time: Should reality TV retire its obsession with rednecks?

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