The kids have a big night in the big city. Neon body paint and cuckoldry ensues

By Darren Franich
Updated January 11, 2013 at 06:26 AM EST
S1 E2
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So remember how last week we all met Shae, who seemed like an extremely intelligent young lady? Remember how she disappeared from the show almost immediately, as if she realized that was happening on Buckwild would probably negatively impact her political career someday? Well, this week, during the full cast-of-characters credits sequence, she introduced herself officially with a catchphrase-as-persona: “I think of myself as one of the guys… just a lot sexier.” Or, roughly translated from Reality TV talk: “I have serious self-esteem issues.” (Admittedly, almost everything people say on Reality TV could be translated as “I have serious self-esteem issues” and/or fart noises.) Immediately we were thrown into a Shae-centric melodrama which I have decided to title:

The Tale of Jesse J., The World’s Most Perfect Boyfriend Ever

She’s dating a guy. There were signs that this guy was maybe not going to win Boyfriend of the Year trophies. Bad Sign #1: His name is Jesse J., which is uncomfortably homophonic for that English singer nobody in America likes. Bad Sign #2: When asked why she was attracted to him, Shae could only offer “He’s a good dad,” before noting “I don’t have anywhere else to live.” Bad Sign #3: He allegedly propositioned two of her friends, one of whom was unconscious. Bad Sign #4: He apparently has a history of sexting with other women. Bad Sign #5: Shain doesn’t like him because he’s, quote, “Real cocky,” and I think we can all agree that Shain has the incredible ability to look into a man’s eyes and see his soul. Bad Sign #6: One of the first things Jesse J. did on the show was take a gallon of Green Slime out of a beer bong.

We will never really know the truth about what happened the night that Jesse invited Salwa and Ashley over to his house for an afterparty. Here’s what we do know: Salwa and Ashley were passed out on various couches in Jesse’s den. According to Salwa, Jesse left the snoozing Shae in his room and tried to wake up Ashley. When she proved immobile, he walked over to Salwa, held up his cell phone, and showed her a message: “Meet Me In The Bathroom.” Salwa opted out. The next day, the ladies all got together. “Question: Have you ever thought that Jesse would, like, cheat on you?” asked Ashley. Subtle.

Shae confronted Jesse about Salwa’s accusations. Jesse argued, “Your friends have their opinions, and then they think they run you.” Shae nodded. That was a really good point, Jesse! “Also, Ashley said I went and [EXPLETIVE DELETED] on her in July when we first met.” Shae nodded. Yeah, Ashley did mention that this skeezeball [EXPLETIVE DELETED] on her. Why would she say that, when everyone could clearly see that Jesse was a kindhearted man, a great humanitarian, indeed, the last great American man in our cold dead nation? “It’s not fair to me! I’m gonna confront them face-to-face!” concluded Jesse. “How dare these girls I tried to have sex with tell you, my trusting girlfriend, that I tried to have sex with them!”

Shae nodded and nodded and nodded some more. She was like a detective who was getting to the bottom of a mystery, except there was no mystery and she was the world’s worst detective. The next day, at what looked like an over-21 version of Chuck E. Cheese’s, the ladies had a big evening out. Jesse J. suddenly appeared. “I have assembled you all here, because I have solved The Mystery of the Bad Boyfriend,” said Shae. “It turns out that he’s a great boyfriend who is perfect, and you’re a bad friend, Salwa.” Salwa couldn’t believe what she was hearing. But Jesse J. had irrefutable proof. “Why would I wake you up and try to have sex with you, when Shae was right here?” asked Jesse. “And I’m such a light sleeper!” said Shae. Consider this case Closed.

NEXT: Rashomon

Anna told Salwa that she shouldn’t worry. “You’re gonna believe what you’re gonna believe, and she’s gonna stick to her story.” Salwa refused to listen to that tripe. “It’s not a story. It’s the truth.” Ah, but in the words of Pontius Pilate: What is truth? And in the words of Shain: “Dem girlz zgonna gitya ee-yin trouble one a’ these days, daddy always said.” I wish Shain could narrate my life. I also hope that Shain and Shae get together, just so we can christen them ShaiShae, pronounced “Shay-Shay.”

The Tale of Patrick’s Quest for Manhood

Tyler is a pretty boy. You know this. I know this. Shain knows this. But Shain won’t accept it. So him and Brother Joey decided to try to turn Tyler into a real man’s man. First they forced him to ride a motorcycle. They were roundly chastised for not wearing helmets by Shain’s father. Then they forced him to jump off a bridge. In the background, a gigantic Nuclear Power Planet lingered, further proof that Buckwild is actually set in an irradiated post-apocalypse. I mean, Shain is almost literally a character out of Mad Max, except he doesn’t talk as funny as those Australians do. I kind of hope that, if Buckwild is still around in five seasons, and Shain keeps on building more elaborate contraptions, it reaches a point where he’s building a whole fleet of armored cars and then getting into death races with those high-falutin’ kids from Ravenswood. Stupid Ravenswood.

Anyhow, Tyler jumped into the irradiated water, which proved that he was a man. In a few years, the skin on his face will disintegrate, and he will become the charismatic leader of a cult that worships the bomb buried in the subterranean chambers of the nuclear plant. “The heavens declare the glory of the Bomb,” he will pray, “And the firmament showeth His handiwork.” But the point is, now Tyler has conquered his fear of heights.

The Tale of Cara, The Girl From the Big City

It’s becoming more and more clear that Cara has been beamed into this friendship group specifically to corrupt their innocence. She’s like the alien chick who transforms everyone into her slaves in The Faculty, or like the British guy who corrupts the nuns in the convent in Black Narcissus. After her dalliance with Tyler, she fled back to Morgantown, where she is from and where she apparently has always lived. But Anna coaxed her back. Cara met Anna and Ashley where they work at the Tanning Salon. “I’m sorry I left,” said Cara. “Friends?” “Okay,” said Anna. Cara jumped over the desk and landed in Anna’s arms and yelled, “Monster baby! Monster baby!”

(ASIDE: The fact that the girls work in a tanning salon might have seemed slightly reminiscent of Jersey Shore. Then a few minutes later, everyone was preparing to go to a nightclub called Karma — famously, the location which saw most of the best worst behavior on Jersey Shore. And then, out of nowhere, someone actually yelled “Cabs are hee-yah!” I’m not sure if the show is purposefully creating all these similarities or — more frighteningly — if we’re meant to understand that this is all taking place in a weird Sliders universe right next to Jersey Shore. Or maybe Jersey Shore has had a really huge impact on the Youth of America. Does anyone know any youths? END OF ASIDE.)

Anyhow, Cara decided that she wasn’t going to be the passive member of the gang anymore. She invited everyone out for a night in the big city, at “One of the clubs I used to promote in Morgantown.” Can I just point out that I officially have no idea how old these people are? Like, if you’d asked me, I would have said that Cara was 16, Shae was 17, Tyler was 15, and Shain was either 7 in Benjamin Button years. But apparently they’re all old enough to have had really elaborate lives. Like, they all have enough backstory to be supporting characters in a John Cheever short story. Also like Cheever: Bad decisions, too much sex, and bottomless wells of alcohol.

Shain didn’t want to go, but he agreed to brave MoTown if Cara would touch the bug zapper. (“Touching the Bug Zapper” is one of Shain and Joey’s main hobbies. Surprisingly, Joey did not get punched in the crotch this week. Maybe they’re saving that up for the season finale.) Nobody could believe that Shain was going to the big city. “I heard Shain’s only been in an elevator once, and he got seasick,” said Anna. “I heard that if Shain goes higher than the second story of a building, he starts walking on his hands so his brain stays close to the earth,” said Cara. “I heard that when Shain saw his first bus, he thought it was an animal and stabbed it in the engine with a metal spear,” said Salwa. Guys, we get it! Shain is a noble savage, an avatar of all that is pure and terrifying about the state of nature! We’re not stupid, y’know?

Cara asked her friend to come over to paint all the girls’ naked bodies. The girls all treated this like it was totally natural, which proves that I will never understand women. Salwa took of her clothes for the first time in minutes. She wanted to look like a Cheetah. Meanwhile, Ashley wanted to look like a Tiger. This led to a natural climax when, at the club, they tore each other’s clothes off, and the Cheetah-Girl and the Tiger-Lady made out for a second or two. It was just like that dream you had one time. That horrible, horrible dream.

Next: Brittney spears Tyler

(Meanwhile, Jesse J. took Shae on a great date to the bowling alley. Bad Sign #1: She can’t bowl, but he’s really good. Bad Sign #2: His buddy showed up. Bad Sign #3: His buddy is also named Jesse. Bad Sign #4: Jesse J. gave Shae her very own bowling ball, and the bowling ball was inscribed with this message: “Dear Shay: You’re in my top three of girls I like to sleep with right now. Hugz, JJ.”)

Tyler met a lovely young girl named Brittney. “Britney?” he asked. “No, Brittney.” “Brittany?” he asked. “No, Brittney. What’s your name?” “I dunno,” said Tyler. They were perfect for each other. Unfortunately, she had a boyfriend. Fortunately, nobody seems remotely interested in the basic bonds of boyfriend-girlfriend trust in the world of Buckwild. She got in a car with Tyler to go back to Cara’s place. Her boyfriend stepped in front of the car and refused to move. A random blond girl walked up and, apropos of nothing, said, “Excuse me! You’re a douchebag! Douchebag! They’re trying to move!!!

Back at Cara’s place, Katie wound up making out with Patrick, who had been making out with Anna, who knew him from summer camp or something. Meanwhile, Cara refused to let Tyler make out on her bed with a different girl, which seems a little unfair, considering that she made out with Tyler on another girl’s bed, and also considering that trying to cage Tyler in a relationship is like trying to cage an ostrich in a fishbowl. Cara won a lot of credibility from me when she described Tyler as a “Home-Wrecking Ball.” However, I should point out that absolutely no one seems to like Cara.

Also, there were a lot of random scenes of the kids playing in the mud. Like, randomly placed in the episode was a scene where Cara fought Anna in the mud. Did this happen before the Karma situation? Or afterwards? Could it be that, in the end, we will all find ourselves fighting in the mud? Does the “J” in “Jesse J.” also stand for Jesse? (Answer: No. Apparently his name is Jesse Johnson. Ladies: Facebook him! He might not be single, but he’s always ready to mingle!)

Fellow viewers, how did you find this week on Buckwild? Did the second episode officially win you over? Are you concerned that Salwa might not show her breasts like a hundred times next week? Also, seriously, ballpark-estimate, how old do you think everyone is?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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