About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Beauty of Buckwild
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MTV has a reality show hit on their hands, and people are claiming it’s “dumbing down” society. Sound familiar? It seems as though every time the former music television network brings a group of kids together and chronicles their lives critics feel it’s the end of humanity as we know it. It never actually is, and in the case of MTV’s latest hit, Buckwild, it might actually be the opposite, as the network is showing us a group of people that do what very few of their detractors know how to do - appreciate, and enjoy, what they have.

Looking at the lineage of MTV programming centered around a specific group of people living in a specific place, it started with Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and The Hills. These shows were odes to opulence, entitlement, and spoiled whiney rich kids. They gave us the likes of Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge, and Spencer Pratt. The ratings were good, but the people were, for the most part, awful.

The genre took a radical shift with Jersey Shore. There was still plenty of partying, and bickering, but this group actually had a job, a job no kid from Laguna Beach, or The Hills, would have worked, because it was an unglamorous one, pressing t-shirts at a t-shirt store. Unlike the stars of their predecessor, the men and women of Jersey Shore earned their keep, and, in the eyes of some (myself included), earned their fun.

Now we have Buckwild, which is taking us another step further in the right direction. Much like Jersey Shore it already has its detractors that claim it’s nothing but a redneck version of Shore, and it’s dumbing the world down, but those detractors are missing a key aspect of the show. Buckwild features a group of kids who have very little in terms of material wealth, but have no shortage of fun. They don’t just make due with what they have, they have a blast with it. Shain, who is well on his way to becoming reality TV royalty, is unabashedly himself. Proud to be a garbage hauler, he’s smiling the vast majority of the time the cameras are rolling, and openly says he feels no need to leave his area, preferring to holler at people from his yard than ever logging on to the internet.

Are these kids entirely different from what we’ve seen on MTV before? Yes, and they’re teaching us an important lesson.

I see so many people lusting after, and fighting for, some of the so-called finer things in life, being unhappy that they don’t have the newest car, biggest house, or most expensive new phone. I then juxtapose that against these kids who seemingly care nothing about those things, create pools out of flatbed trucks, and Slip ‘n Slides out of giant tarps, and are, with the exception of when someone sleeps in the wrong person’s bed, happy. When the former insults the latter for “dumbing down” society I have to laugh, because there’s so much those wannabe high rollers could learn from Shain and his crew if they’d just stop looking down their noses at them and start seeing that those kids understand life a lot better than anyone who can’t live without a new Lexus.

Buckwild may be backwoods, but it’s also beautiful, and we could all learn a little bit from a group of kids who have fun without relying on thick wallets, or fancy things, to make it happen.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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