“Buckwild,” MTV’s latest 20-something reality television show following rural West Virginians in embarrassment-filled situations, has struck a nerve with home-state U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III, who says the show plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia — much like “Jersey Shore” gave the Garden State a black eye.
Manchin expressed his disgust last week in a letter to MTV President Stephen Friedman, urging him to “put a stop to the travesty called ‘Buckwild.’”
“As a U.S. senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” the independent-minded Democrat wrote on Friday. “I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off of ‘Buckwild.’”
“Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior -- and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong,” Manchin continued in the letter to Friedman.
Manchin can now feel New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s pain. “Buckwild” will be replacing the network’s recently canceled “Jersey Shore,” which for the past six seasons has entertained some while offending others, particularly politicians from the Garden state.
Before sending his letter to MTV, Manchin told reporters he had nothing against people trying to earn a profit, but would ask them, “Would they do this to their own children, in their own neighborhood, in their own home state?"
MTV has yet to comment directly on the senator’s letter, telling reporters only that its plans for releasing the show early next year have not changed.
In an interview with ABC News, “Buckwild” Executive Producer Colin Nash said the young people on the show “really love this outdoor lifestyle.”
“It’s just really free and endearing and it’s invigorating,” Nash added.
When asked by ABC’s Jake Tapper in 2010 of whether “Jersey Shore” was positive or negative for the state, Christie responded, “negative for New Jersey.”
“What it does is it takes a bunch of New Yorkers -- most of the people on ‘Jersey Shore’ are New Yorkers -- drops them at the Jersey Shore and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey,” said Christie.
The “Jersey Shore” was notorious for promoting exaggerated disparaging stereotypes often associated with young Italian-Americans, despite the fact that several cast members were not of Italian descent.
In September 2011 Christie vetoed a controversial $420,000 film tax credit awarded to the “Jersey Shore” by the state Economic Development Authority.
“Buckwild” is scheduled to premiere Jan. 3 at 10 p.m.
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