Words by Rachel Campbell
I wasn’t a big fan of MTV before this year. For a channel with “music” in it’s name, they shouldn’t play more than 20 hours of reality TV each day, leaving music videos only for the wee hours of the morning.
The concept of “Teen Mom” is ridiculous, and don’t even get me started on “Snooki & Jwoww,” but “Buckwild” is what pushed me over the edge. I’ve never been pregnant, and I have never put extensions in my hair, but I am a West Virginia native, so MTV’s latest edition of tomfoolery hits home.
“Buckwild” filled “Jersey Shore”’s time slot Thursday evenings upon the latter’s series finale. Thirteen episodes later and the crew was signed on for a second season despite the arrests of two cast members. There’s nothing like a couple drug charges and a DUIto make your state proud.
I can deal with being asked if I have all my teeth or jokes about potentially marrying a cousin, but the amount of times I have been asked since the show’s January premiere if my hometown is like the “Buckwild” set is insane. I can now empathize with New Jerseyans, and similarly, I can attest to some falsities in the portrayal of my native state.
Urban Dictionary defines the boonies as “the sticks, in the middle of nowhere. Usually associated with living out in the country.” In episode one, “the girls” get kicked out of their house, and we’re told they’re moving to “the boonies.” This supposed location is Sissonville, W.Va, a mere 15 minutes from Charleston, the state capital. The characters were seen gallivanting around the city in episode one, but Sissonville is still being sold as the middle of nowhere. They may very well be in the middle of nowhere, somewhere, but I’m willing to bet it’s not actually Sissonville. The house claiming to be one of the castmember’s family members’ is most likely not, considering the house they were evicted from was rented solely for the show.
Quaker Steak & Lube
Another Sissonville mistake goes to the Quaker Steak & Lube the girls go to for “Girls Night Out” (with the boys…?) in episode three. Sissonville is supposedly in the middle of nowhere, right? But MTV claims this restaurant is within city limits. It’s not. West Virginia has two Quaker Steaks, Wheeling, and another in Charleston. I’ve been to both. So, again, this show seems to be located in the nation’s capital more than anything.
Cleanest Town in W.Va.
Sissonville? Nope, Eleanor. MTV would like you to think they’re using stock footage of the town their characters inhabit, but the B-roll of the beer bottle in front of a “Cleanest Town in WV” was staged. A quick Google search shows that Eleanor, W.Va., is the proud, clean town, which is further proven by the Blue Devils and Kanawha Valley Baptist Church signs in the footage. Both the team and the church are 50 minutes away from Sissonville, and all completely unrelated to the show.
I’m more familiar with the northern panhandle of West Virginia seeing as it’s where I live, but I can also say I’ve heard some accents from the southern part of the state, and none of them sound anything like Shain Gandee. Shain, who is the Snooki of “Buckwild,” is the goofball of the group. He throws a mattress down the stairs of someone’s house, rolls down a hill inside of a tire, and has the idea to fill a dump truck with water and call it a pool, but something just isn’t right. More often than not, his scenes are accompanied with subtitles to clarify his hard-to-decipher dialect, but have you noticed he’s the only one with this issue? From the crustache to the camo, Shain is every cliché I’ve heard about West Virginia rolled into one. He’s what most people would picture when they hear West Virginia, so it wouldn’t shock me if MTV got a little creative with their casting.
I honestly would not be surprised if Johnny Knoxville showed up in “the holler” based on the amount of stupid stunts this cast decided to try to pull off. Rolling down hills in tires and jumping into a dump truck pool was just the start of it. There was also a “West Virginia Waterslide,” or a tarp covered in soap unrolled down a hill, garbage can lid sledding and potato gun firing. Although I’ve never personally witnessed those things, I have seen people participate in “muddin’.” This is the act of driving around, usually in a truck or jeep, and finding the biggest puddles of mud to speed through. Exciting, right? I also know people who have been taught to shoot in the middle of the woods, but never any of them in heels.
“If you’re from West Virginia, you don’t wanna leave West Virginia because that’s all you know, and hell, that’s all you need”
Hi, I’m a West Virginia native currently attending Kent State in Ohio. Nice to meet you. It’s one thing to be proud of your state, but it’s another to make all viewers believe that West Virginians don’t need or want to leave. Those on the show who appear to be in college are attending (or were attending at the time of filming) West Virginia University. It’s safe to say that 75 percent of my graduating class joined the “Buckwild” cast in “Motown,” but there’s 25 percent, like me, who got out.