The first episode of Buckwild began with a disclaimer that reads — I’m paraphrasing — “Hello and Welcome to MTV’s newest youth-targeted reality show. You are about to watch a group of young adults who look like teenagers and act like fifth graders engage in absurdly destructive behavior guaranteed to cause personal injury, property damage, blood clots, explosions, implosions, broken bones, broken hearts, broken societies, glorious deaths, and miserable hangovers.” There followed an hour of television that we will have to spend the rest of our lives trying to understand. I would roughly describe the series premiere of Buckwild as a “post-apocalyptic dry-hump anarchist mud-orgy,” and I mean that as a huge compliment. It was sort of like Jackass, if Jackass were what our Founding Fathers intended America to look like, and I also mean that as a huge compliment. One girl threw a beer can in another girl’s face. One girl made out with another girl. There was a machete in a tree, and a car exploded. This all happened in like thirty seconds.
Pre-release buzz said that Buckwild represented MTV’s hope for a new Jersey Shore. But the show doesn’t much resemble the dearly departed guido vomit opera, anymore than Jersey Shore resembled The Hills. That became clear as we got to know the cast of characters, which includes:
Shain: Already the show’s mascot. Speaks in an inscrutable accent that appears to be localized entirely to his home in Wolfpen Holler. Is apparently able to build absolutely everything out of absolutely anything, therefore making him the clear alpha male should aliens and/or zombies ever attack. Womenfolk appear to treat him as some kind of combination Idiot Savant and Adorable Pet. World Champion in the heretofore undiscovered sport of “Muddin’.” Has a mustache that can only be described as a “Shainstache.” Is the kind of guy who grabs flowers out of the ground and gives them to a girl. Coincidentally seems like he has absolutely no luck with girls.
Anna: Prefers to pronounce “Muddin'” with a “g” at the end. Does not take crap, and is the kind of person who lets you know that she does not take crap. I had her marked down as my favorite person on the show, until she got into a fight with her next-door neighbor, and then I had her marked down as my favorite person on TV. Roughly one week into the summer, she is already embroiled in a turf war with…
Cara: Possibly an adorable and innocent girl who makes poor decisions, possibly a ginger-haired seductress — Reply Hazy, Try Again Later. Introduced trying to fit a lamp roughly the size of a tall human boy into the back of Anna’s car. Gets embarrassed when her roommates straddle each other in the middle of a club, which you could argue is the mark of an intelligent human being who probably should not be on a reality show, or you could argue, yeesh I didn’t realize that the Queen of England was showing up to this club tonight, I thought this was America, and in America, we straddle whoever we wanna straddle, you communist. Has already fallen victim to the curious charms of…
Tyler: Looks like the Cute One on the boy band you don’t like and/or the evil rich kid in an ’80s summer camp movie. Wears T-shirts so tight you can see the void where his heart used to be. Apparently ran his truck into a deer at some point in the past. Featured prominently in the Greatest Moment of Television In 2013 So Far, about which more later. Clearly the show’s villain, unless he’s supposed to be like Warren Beatty in Shampoo, in which case he’s secretly his own worst enemy. Listen, he’s handsome.
Shae: “I like to think of myself as one of the guys, but just a lot sexier” is the savvy introduction-as-persona quote that Shae used to introduce herself to America. Did not appear very much in the series premiere, except to encourage the girls to throw a party in their house with the specific intention of angering the police. Clearly smarter than anyone else on the show, clearly trying to escape from everything she has ever known. Probably will wind up co-hosting Good Morning America someday, where she will have sparkling chemistry with a graying George Stephanopoulos.
Joey: If Shain is Huey, and Tyler is Dewey, then Joey is Louie. (Stupid Louie. No one likes you. Stop wearing green. It doesn’t flatter you.) Notable quote: “Me, Shain, and Tyler, we’re all tryin’ to get to Cara. I hope I get to it first, but I don’t really care, so long as I get to it.” May have self-esteem issues, or may be a secret Buddhist philosopher.
NEXT: Muddin’ his Mudder up