Nothing on Buckwild really makes any sense. That’s true of most reality shows, and may in fact be true of reality itself, but it’s remarkable just how randomly thrown-together the whole universe of Buckwild feels. Its third episode threw out three or four huge plotlines that seemed momentous, and then disappeared into vapor. Shae broke up with her boyfriend and hooked up with Joey. She seemed radically unaffected by both events. Meanwhile, Joey seemed to grow a goatee between commercial breaks, and then lose it, and then grow it back. The main characters on the show seem to just randomly appear at each other’s houses, usually just in time to engage in what feels like a purposefully-accidental game-show stunt. It’s also still not entirely clear who, precisely, the “main characters” are. Salwa is a walking Breakout Starlet — she run in high heels in braless slow motion and then fires a shotgun with perfect accuracy — but she’s not in the opening credits.
The show runs for an hour each week, but MTV has weirdly decided to advertise it as “Two Back-To-Back Episodes,” instead of just one hour. Also, nobody seems to particularly care if they hook up with anybody, or fight people, or get kicked out of their house and become functionally homeless. Also, some dude named Blue Foot, who we had never met and would never meet again, randomly dominated a minute of the episode when he engaged in an activity called “Sissonville Surfin’,” which is a funny way of saying “Throw a Board in Mud, Then Jump on It, Then Fall Off, Then Be In The Mud.”
I can’t decide if this is just reality-TV magic — by which I mean, if this is all just one big elaborate game of Catfish, and everyone on Buckwild is secretly a French-Canadian method actor doing an imitation of Young America. Or maybe most of these people genuinely don’t care what happens to them. Midway through the episode, Shae got a tattoo on her inner lip. Nothing we had learned about her gave any indication that she would do this. The show seemed to think it was liberating, which I guess it was, in the sense that it’s always liberating to know you can’t possibly make a worse mistake in your life. Unless you lick apple butter off a dude’s chest. That would be worse.
The episode began by picking up the whole Shae/Jesse thread. Shae said that she didn’t believe that Jesse was cheating on her. Then Ashley said, “Actually, Jesse tried to hook up with me.” Suddenly, Shae was convinced that Jesse was cheating on her. They had a fight while she moved out, and the camera very carefully caught Anna awkwardly trying to fit Shae’s clothes into her car while they fought in the foreground. It’s moments like this that make me fascinated and doubtful about the whole Buckwild enterprise; I wonder if the cameramen told them to fight in front of the car, or I wonder if the kids of Buckwild are already so savvy that they can arrange themselves into an artfully-constructed mise-en-scéne without even being asked. (The appeal of this show seemed to be that it was rougher and less obviously plastic than Jersey Shore, but half the cast looks like they walked out of a make-up trailer before every take.)
They had a party at Jesse B’s house. Jesse B was introduced last week as Jesse J’s bowling buddy, but now he was introduced as Ashley’s friend. He invited everyone over to his house, without informing them that he lived in an unclean bachelor-pad meth dungeon, rife with doors that did not close and a complete lack of beer pong tables. Jesse B. popped up the next evening, at a party at the girls’ house. Or maybe it was two nights later, or a month later; maybe it all happened before, and will happen again.
NEXT: Without goals and dreams