‘Buckwild’: From a West Virginian’s perspective

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.

The Boonies

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.

The Accents

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.

“Jackass” Imitation

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.

Fall Out Boy returns, and the top five bands that should follow suit

Words by Rachel Campbell

The awe of Beyoncè’s Super Bowl XLVII performance slowly melted away just hours after it happened thanks to a tweet and Facebook post that surfaced around 6 a.m. that Monday. The announcement that “the future of fall out boy starts now” sent music news sites and social networking accounts aflutter with the confirmation of the long awaited return.

Fall Out Boy’s last tour was coincidentally as an opening act for Blink-182’s reunion run in summer, 2009. They later announced their hiatus in November 2009, soon after the release of a greatest hits album.

The break allowed members to tackle other musical endeavors, like vocalist Patrick Stump’s solo career. He released “Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)” in November 2010 and included it on the “Truant Wave” EP in February 2011. Stump followed up with his most recent “Soul Punk,” in October 2011. Drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joe Trohman formed a heavier band by the name of The Damned Things with Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die on vocals. The group disbanded in 2010, but Hurley continued his hardcore streak by moving onto various heavy bands while Trohman joined With Knives.

Bassist Pete Wentz cited his high profile marriage to now ex-wife Ashlee Simpson as a reason for the band’s split, but that didn’t stop the music. Wentz launched Black Cards with vocalist Bebe Rexha in July 2010. Guitarist Nate Patterson (The Receiving End of Sirens) and drummer Spencer Peterson (Saves the Day, VersaEmerge, Hidden in Plain View) helped the band put out one EP and two mixtapes. They later lost a couple of members and Wentz and Peterson now remain as a DJ duo.

Despite their path splitting for a little over three years, Stump, Wentz, Hurley and Trohman have all come back together to pick up where they left off. Their return to the music scene comes with a summer tour that sold out in less than a day, a new single that is available now and a new album, “Save Rock and Roll,” to be released worldwide May 6 and 7.

Three years worth of rumors and wishes of the reunion that finally came will hopefully inspire other bands in this genre to pick up their instruments and rejoin forces. See where some of your old favorites ended up and why they should come back:


Graphic by Rachel Campbell

The Format (2001 – 2008)

Nate Ruess, now of fun., and Sam Means formed The Format in their Arizona hometown in 2001. Ruess announced in February 2008 that The Format would no longer be making music. Their music was much more relaxed than fun., and that makes them the better choice. Fun. has a list of singles that have become background noise in a sea of Top 40 hits, but The Format could croon on for hours without the need to hit next. Regardless, fun. just walked away with two Grammy’s, so chances are The Format will not be reuniting anytime soon.

The Academy Is… (2003 – 2011)

Vocalist William Beckett and bassist Adam Siska paired up in 2003 and then added guitarist Mike Carden. A few lineup changes later, the band would finally be set with second guitarist Michael Guy Chislett and drummer Andrew Mrotek. Opening with Cobra Starship for Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is… continued to succeed with the release of “Santi” in 2007 and had even more success with 2008’s “Fast Time at Barrington High.” Their first single, “About A Girl” was included in an episode of MTV’s “The Hills,” and a second single “Everything I Had” made it onto “Total Request Live.“

“Lost In Pacific Time” EP squeaked out in 2009 before the May 2011 departure of Mrotek and Chislett. Mrotek continued The Animal Upstairs, which refers to both his band and artwork while Chislett joined Pistol Youth and 1969. Beckett later announced their demise in October 2011. Beckett went solo, and has already released 3 EPs while Siska joined Say Anything as their permanent bassist. One can only hope they will reunite in 2015 for a 10-year reunion of “Almost Here,” if only for one Chicago show like they did for the five-year reunion.

Midtown (1998 – 2005)

A bunch of friends start a band, make some music and break up to pursue other projects; do you see a trend here? Midtown’s vocalist/bassist Gabe Saporta, drummer Rob Hitt and guitarists Tyler Rann and Heath Saraceno are no different. The band would split after three albums and a few EPs. Saraceno joined Senses Fail until 2009, while Rann sang for Band of Thieves before turning to the clothing industry. Hitt works for Crush Management and created his own label, I Surrender Records, which signed I Am The Avalanche, Four Year Strong, Valencia and more.

Saporta traded in his bass for neon attire when he launched Cobra Starship, a band that supposedly started as the result of a peyote-induced vision in the Arizona desert in August 2005. Saporta would contribute the single “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It),” to the movie of the same name a year later. This track included guest spots from The Academy Is…, Gym Class Heroes and The Sounds, and would be the first of several hits. That song made their first album, “While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets,” and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump would produce their second, “¡Viva la Cobra!,” but it would not be until their third, “Hot Mess,” that the band would reach radio fame. Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl” would sing on “Good Girls Go Bad” in 2009, which led to several other singles throughout their still thriving, and far from over career.

Something Corporate (1998 – 2006)

Konstantine” is one of the only 9-minute songs that won’t bore you to death. We can thank the vocal styling and piano skills of Andrew McMahon for that. Something Corporate’s most successful release, 2002’s “Leaving Through The Window,” included singles like “Punk Rock Princess” and “I Woke Up In A Car,” both of which aided in getting the album to No. 1 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and No. 101 on the Billboard 200. Their first hiatus was in 2004, a period in which McMahon began his second project, Jack’s Mannequin. “Everything in Transit” would be Jack’s Mannequin’s first release, and reach great popularity though mediums like guest star spots on “One Tree Hill.”

Something Corporate reunited for Bamboozle Left Festival in October 2006. It looked like their last show, until a brief reunion at that same festival in March 2010 followed by Bamboozle Right and Bamboozle Chicago in May 2010. The band did a brief reunion tour in the summer 2010, but have been MIA ever since. McMahon continued to release work through Jack’s Mannequin during the back and forth of Something Corporate, but he recently pulled the plug on that project as well. He now opts to use only his name for future work as of August 2012, and will be embarking on a small venue tour in spring 2013, which makes the reunion of Something Corporate or Jack’s Mannequin pretty unlikely.

Armor For Sleep (2001 – 2009)

Bamboozle apparently brings people together because Armor For Sleep is another that would reunite for the festival in 2012. They put out three albums throughout their career and the last one, “Smile For Them,” was released in 2007, two years before their demise. After not touring for a year, the band finally announced their break up in October 2009. 2005’s “What to Do When You Are Dead” was representative of the emo generation of the mid-2000s, so it came with great sadness when yet another band bit the dust. The original line-up played the festival in May and three other shows in July, but made no other plans beyond that.

Vocalist Ben Jorgensen had a brief solo career, and collaborated with Sierra Shardae, who is now working with The Academy Is…’s Andrew Mrotek on his band, The Animal Upstairs. Guitarist PJ DeCicco worked with former Senses Fail bassist, Mike Glita, in a band called Love Automatic. Despite there being no foreseeable reunion for Armor For Sleep, like all the others mentioned, they will be remembered for setting a precedent in this scene.

The Next Grumpy Cat Has Eyebrows

Words by Rachel Campbell

Cats and the Internet: they’re like peanut butter and jelly. They go hand-in-hand, unless you happen to be allergic to peanuts. Or cuteness.

Grumpy Cat, or Tardar Sauce as his owners, Tabby Bundesen and her daughter Crystal, like to call him, has held the throne for approximately the last four months. The now 10-month-old kitten got his start after Tabby’s brother, Bryan Bundesen, this past September, posted his photo on the popular user-generated news site, Reddit. Bryan shared the photo and it exploded from there. A merchandise site has been created by the owners and it’s hard to go a day without seeing a Grumpy Cat meme.

There are the generalized adorable cats yawning, falling or striking a pose, but then there are the specific ones who lead the pack in the quest for Internet fame. Grumpy Cat is currently the reigning king of cat land, but it looks like he could have some competition.

Sam, who has yet to receive an Internet created name other than his social networking username “samhaseyebrows,” seems to be vying for the attention of cat lovers everywhere. The only thing you need to know about Sam is that he does indeed have eyebrows, and a look of worriment in his natural state as a result.

Sam started gaining his popularity through an Instagram page created by his owner in mid-December. In a mere month and a half it has garnered more than 24,000 followers, a number that is continuously growing. Twitter was conquered next with an account [http://twitter.com/Samhaseyebrows] that launched Jan. 29. With a strong social media presence and the impending launch of SamHasEyebrows.com, it is clear that this furrowing feline’s owner is preparing for a takeover.

Sam’s owner has denied comments to media outlets like The Huffington Post in preparation for said website, so it looks like we’ll have to wait it out to see whether Sam will take the kitty crown.

Which distressed cat are you rooting for in the quest for the kitty crown?

Insta-do’s and Insta-don’ts

Words by Rachel Campbell

Instagram has the reputation of being used by stereotypical hipsters and young people, but with a recently recorded active user number of 100 million, this demographic has been widened. Launched in October 2010, Instagram has embraced the beauty of photo sharing for more than 2 years now, allowing iPhone and Android users to post pictures from their phone with a variety of filter options.

Like any social network, Instagram comes with a number of unwritten rules and suggestions of what you should and should not do with the freedom of your account.


Connect your accounts

Instagram is a thriving social media outlet in its own right, but it also allows you the option of connecting to your other social networks. If you edit a photo on Instagram that you’d like to share on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, then try skipping the extra step of reposting and just link your accounts. Plus, sharing your photos also has a direct link to your page so friends from your other social networks can see your photos or even follow you. This linking option is available on the final page of your post or in the “share” option of your feed.


The hashtag technique was introduced to us with the creation of Twitter. Here, the purpose of them is to trend topics and make tweets more searchable. The hashtag is also used on Instagram to aid in the searching process. You can type in any word in the “Explore” section of the app to find photos that use that hashtag. Including them on your own photos allows other users to discover pictures that may interest them.

Add to your photo map

Like hashtags, the photo map lets you and other users see specific types of photos. You have the choice to add your picture to your photo map when editing. Turning it on saves it to your own map by default, but you also have the option to name the location. This can be done by searching for nearby places or naming your own. If you choose one that was already created then you can click the name once it’s posted to see photos from other users at that same location. Sticking to tagging public places is probably your best bet. We all had that stranger danger conversation in our youth, so avoid tagging your dorm or apartment if you can.

Enjoy your photos off of your phone

The beauty of the Internet is that you can go back and look at things whenever you want, but there are some people out there who are still suckers for hard copies. StickyGram allows you to take your photos and transform them into magnets. If you’d rather get regular prints, PostalPix is a free app offered on both the iPhone and Android that allows you to order prints straight from your phone to be delivered to your door. There’s even sweet ways to display them afterwards like the Instabook from Photojojo.


Use your account as a mirror

We all have days where we’re feeling extra fabulous. It could be attributed to a good hair day or to that rad new outfit you’re sporting, which of course are social network worthy moments that need to be documented. We all do it, but you probably shouldn’t do it every day. Or every hour. No one wants to see the same smirking face or mirror picture clogging up their feed. Unless you’re Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian, constant vanity is a sure way to lose online followers and annoy your real life friends.

Post more photos than there are hours in a day

You should be aware of the amount of posts you make per day especially if they’re about the same thing. Try enjoying that concert instead of snapping and posting every time Freddie Frontman does something you’ve deemed photo worthy. Are you having a fun time at that party? It would probably be more believable if you didn’t have your phone glued to your hand to share every Kodak moment to your feed. Remember there’s a fine line between sharing and spamming.

#nofilter? #noonecares

As mentioned above, the point of a hashtag is to make your photos more searchable for people who may have similar interests as you. The point of Instagram is to add snazzy filters to photos you take on your phone before sharing them with the world. So what’s the point of the #nofilter hashtag? Nothing. You should use Instagram to spice up your photos and not simply just share them. We have twitpic and Facebook accounts to upload unfiltered photos. Take advantage of “Earlybird,” “Toaster” and more before you hit that share button.

Screenshot your other social media accounts

Just connect them. It’s easier. Plus when you screenshot your tweet or Facebook status to post to Instagram, it just makes it look like you’re desperate for likes. It may be witty, but Instagram should be for photos and not text.

Snag high quality photos that weren’t taken on your phone

Instagram is for in-the-moment captures. Its purpose is to display your talents as a camera phone photographer, so where’s the fun in reposting photos from a DSLR? Keep it simple and stick to your phone’s photos. There’s always Facebook or Flickr for your high quality shots.

10 Best Commercials of Super Bowl XLVII

Words by Rachel Campbell

Food, cars and booze tend to dominate Super Bowl advertisements and 2013 was no exception. The Super Bowl is generally the most watched television broadcast in America each year, so companies take chances and pull out all of the stops when it comes to their commercials. Check out some of this year’s best:


A Spanish version of Fun.’s “We Are Young” was the perfect soundtrack to Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” commercial. See a group of retirement home residents living it up one taco at a time


Volkswagen’s “Get In. Get Happy” may have been the most controversial of the game day ads. The German car company embraced the stereotyped feel good attitude of Jamaica in its latest commercial.


Doritos left it up to their fans to make the commercials that aired during the game. Amateurs submitted their 30-second clip into a contest, with top two getting the silver screen treatment. “Goat 4 Sale” was the 2013 winner. This ad beat out the other four finalists, including “Fashionista Daddy,” Road Chip” and “Fetch”:


It’s the alpaca-lypse according to Lincoln Motor Company, who used tweets sent to @JimmyFallon to script their commercial. See how users #SteerTheScript with “Once Upon A Tweet.”


A classic case of rivalry may be the downfall of the Joe Montana salsa stain. See if the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback survives the power of Tide.


Go Daddy shows off both its smart and sexy sides with “Perfect Match.” Get up close and really personal with Walter and Bar Refaeli, an Israeli model who graced the cover of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue in 2009.


Bud Light makes you question how far you’d go for your favorite team to win. With a tagline of “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work,” and the target audience “for fans who do whatever it takes,” the beer company uses Stevie Wonder as the Mojo man. Follow “The Journey” below and be sure to check out “Lucky Chair.”


Hyundai took advantage of the cute kid factor with “Team.” Watch some kids take a break from bear wrestling and weightlifting to help a friend get back his football.


America’s favorite cookie shows that no one can contain their enthusiasm when it comes to the cream versus cookie battle in “Whisper Fight.”


Kia tells customers to “Respect the Tech” in their latest “Hotbots” commercial. See what happens when streaks and kicks grace the car’s exterior.

Food, cars and booze tend to dominate Super Bowl advertisements and 2013 was no exception. The Super Bowl is generally the most watched television broadcast in America each year, so companies take chances and pull out all of the stops when it comes to their commercials.