MTV debuts a new reality series devoted to simple pleasures: Muddin', fightin', explodin', lovin'

By Darren Franich
Updated January 04, 2013 at 08:36 AM EST
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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 upAshley: I had to look up her name on MTV’s website because I couldn’t remember her. This marks the first and last time I will ever do research into anything regarding Buckwild. I think she’s the narrator, or maybe God is the narrator and we’re all just his ventriloquist puppets. She did nothing.

Salwa: Is Bengali, explained that she was “Bengali” lest we be confused about how come there’s a girl who isn’t white on this show. Went topless almost immediately. Probably will wind up co-hosting Today someday, where she will slowly poison an ancient Matt Lauer with arsenic coffee. Seems like a lovely girl.

Katie: That gossip-y girl who told everybody in class about how the popular girl with the pool in her backyard invited the popular boy with the bleached hair over, for a whole afternoon, when her parents were out of town, and they totally made out in the hot tub. At one point explained, “There was definitely monkey sex goin’ on.” Made the fewest poor life decisions of anyone in Buckwild, indicating perhaps that she is the Good Girl, or that she is storing up all the bad ideas for the season finale.

The girls all live together, and we saw Anna and Ashley go to West Virginia University to pick up Cara. Anna said, “Cara’s one of our newer friends,” which is reality TV-speak for “We hate her, hate her, hate her.” Cara said, “This is the first time I’ve ever lived with girls,” which is reality TV-speak for “I am the nightmare roommate who will take everything you love and destroy it, and also borrow your socks on the regular.” The girls were heading back to meet up with their favorite young lads. “What do you think they’re up to?” asked Cara. “Probably wrestlin’ cows.” They all laughed. Ho ho! Wrestling cows! As if!

Indeed, why spend a lovely afternoon wrestling cows...when you can eat 15 hot wings, crawl inside of a gigantic tire, and ride the tire down the hillside?

The Tale of Shain’s Mudded Mudder

Shain piled his friends into his truck. Anna, Tyler, and Katie had to sit in the truckbed, leading Shain to play one of his favorite games: Muddin’! This involves driving a truck through gigantic puddles of mud, ideally while listening to Puddle of Mudd and pondering the fact that the kids on Buckwild probably don’t know who Puddle of Mudd is, which probably explains why they have such an optimistic view of humanity. Shain seemed to be trying to toss one of his friends off the truckbed.

Alas, it turns out that if you drive your truck through gigantic mud puddles, sometimes you truck will get caught in a gigantic mud puddle. So Shain stood up and like yelled into the trees, and a redheaded shirtless farmboy emerged from out of the wild with a tractor and pushed the truck to safety. All in all, it was the best Monday we ever had.

NEXT: Willy Wonka would like you to quiet down, pleaseThe Tale of Willy Wonka

The girls were living in a house with some pesky neighbors who really didn’t like it when they talked loudly. So, in an effort to make nice, they decided to throw a party called, ahem, the “F’ The Neighborhood Party.” This led to the arrival of their neighbor, the only black person on Buckwild, who had red hair and immediately became my second favorite character on the show. She was dropping catchphrases right and left: “Please and thank you. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.” “Bring your party down!” Anna had a frank exchange of ideas with the neighbor, which went like this:

Neighbor: “You’re drunk!”

Anna: “You’re insane!”

Neighbor: “Yes!”

Anna tried to tackle her, but in her own words: “She didn’t actually touch me. I, in fact, beat myself up.” The end result is that the girls got evicted from their hours after living there for apparently two seconds. The girls stared at their eviction notice with awe and sadness. Behind them, Shain was smashing stuff, Joey was throwing stuff down the hill, and they were hitting each other in the crotch. From now on, whatever I write, just assume that you can fill in “Meanwhile, Shain was smashing stuff, Joey was throwing stuff down the hill, and they were hitting each other in the crotch.”

The Tale of the Dump Truck Pool Party

“We ain’t got much!” said Shain. “But we have fun with what we got!” That might as well be the mission statement for Buckwild. To get heavy for a hot second here, if Jersey Shore suggested a society on the brink of collapse — a whole decadent crew partying as the world ended — Buckwild suggests that the post-apocalypse may actually be a rather pleasant time, an age of renewal, an age when the tools of the old world (like Excavators) will become the playful toys of the new world (like Sissonville Rollercoasters.)

Basically, Jersey Shore was about the decadent Romans partying with the barbarians at the gate; Buckwild is about the barbarians dancing through the streets of ruined Rome, and having a pretty good time, and anyhow who liked the Romans, really?

This is all a wind-up to describing how Shain turned a dump truck into a functioning pool and pulled it up to the girl’s new home. Being serious here, I feel like the Dump Truck Pool Party required more planning than any party I have ever been involved in, and it looked so much fun that I have to hope that fraternity houses across this great country are already planning their own Dump Truck Pool Party. I should note here that Entertainment Weekly in no way endorses Dump Truck Pool Parties. Nor do we endorse Dump Trucks or Pool Parties.

The Dump Truck Pool Party reaches an inevitable endpoint when Salwa accidentally flashed the boys with what amounted to a bit of sideboob. They promised to pay her $100 if they got a full view of the girls. She did so, and Tyler protested: “I’m broke! I got no money!”

NEXT: The Greatest Moment in Television in 2013 So FarThe Tale of The Purloined Bed

Cara went out with the girls for a night in the city, but quickly ditched them to hang out with Tyler. They had a rather romantic little moment up on top of the hill. Tyler pointed towards the bright lights of Charleston. “Over there, there’s hundreds of cops,” said Tyler. “You get caught doin’ somethin, you get busted. Over here, there’s nothing but the wild frontier, the wind at your back, the ground beneath your feet, the occasional Shainstache, and the great wide open. Kiss me, Funny Face.” They agreed to keep their flirtation a secret.

It was such a secret, in fact, that they couldn’t even hook up in their own bed. Instead, they engaged in the aforementioned monkey sex on Anna’s bed, leading to the aforementioned Greatest Moment of Television In 2013 So Far. Katie told Anna about the hook-up. Anna accusing asked Cara various questions with regards to said hook-up. Cara ran away. Then Anna yelled down at Tyler: “You guy’s f—ed in my bed! How disrespectful is that!”

Tyler paused.

He looked up at Anna.

Then he looked at the camera.

Then he looked at Anna.

Then he ate some potato chips.

“Sorry,” he said. “I mean it.”

He ate another chip.

In Conclusion

It seems to me that the kids of Buckwild are living in a world so post-lapsarian that’s become pre-lapsarian — which is to say, they’re living a relatively happy Edenic existence. It seems like there are only two ways for the show to move forward from here.

1. They will continue to live a happy carefree life, and build a new utopia right there in Sissonville.

2. They will be consumed with jealousy and ambition, lose their collective innocence, and descend into a black pit of adult shame, forever remembering the old good days of the Dump Truck Pool Party.

Either way, I am intrigued. Fellow viewers, what did you think of the Buckwild premiere?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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Buckwild

A group of childhood friends run rampant in rural West Virginia
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