MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The reality show “Buckwild” about some wild young West Virginians will be picked up for a second season, MTV announced Wednesday.
The show filmed largely around Sissonville and Charleston has drawn criticism from many quarters, including the state’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, for what some see as a negative portrayal of West Virginia’s young people. In December, Manchin asked the network to cancel the show, saying it profits off of “poor decisions of our youth” and portrays ugly, inaccurate stereotypes.
But MTV says “Buckwild” has been pulling in an average of 3 million viewers per episode since its premiere last month and is the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.
The half-hour, 12-episode series has been following nine hard-partying friends who find sometimes frightening ways to fill their free time beyond clubbing in Morgantown and four-wheeling in the mud. They’ve turned a dump truck into a swimming pool and, for the series finale, built their own water slide and a ramp to catapult them into a lake.
The executive producers are Zoo Productions and J.P. Williams of Parallel Entertainment, a native West Virginian best known for creating Blue Collar Comedy.
The West Virginia Film Office denied tax credits to the producers over concerns the show would negatively portray the state’s young males, and the premiere was met with a number of harsh critiques.
Many West Virginians also responded with resentment, having been made fun of before.
In 2002, public outcry prompted CBS to drop plans for “The Real Beverly Hillbillies,” which was to feature residents of rural Appalachia plunked down in the middle of Beverly Hills. A year later, the horror film “Wrong Turn,” shot in Canada, was set in a hypothetical West Virginia, where cannibalistic mountain men terrorized lost tourists.
And in 2008, state leaders responded vehemently when a casting company looked to West Virginia for extras to play inbred degenerates.
On the upside, though, was the Paramount Pictures blockbuster “Super 8.” It was set in Weirton, the same town used for some scenes in the classic Vietnam film “The Deer Hunter.”
“Buckwild” clearly has a following, though, successfully filling the time slot previously occupied by the cast of “Jersey Shore.”