Photo Credit: MTV
If there's any truth to the idea of five stages of grief, then Shain Gandee's friends have hit the second one -- anger. One week after Buckwild's breakout star died from carbon monoxide poisoning while mudding, MTV cancelled the show -- and producer J.P. Williams and several of Gandee's castmates are livid about it. Williams immediately vented his frustration to The Hollywood Reporter, questioning MTV's support of Teen Mom 2 and not Buckwild.
On Wednesday, Gandee's cast mate Shae Bradley reiterated Williams' point on Twitter:
@mtv can have shows about horrible parents and horrible influences and were just good people having good hearted fun and Shain was the best— Shae Bradley (@mtvshae) April 10, 2013
Unfortunately, many of those alleged "horrible parents" from Teen Mom 2 are also on Twitter, and a couple of them felt the need to defend themselves, and then some:
I'm sad that Buckwild was cancelled but no reason to slam other shows on the Network. It's not our fault.— Kailyn Lowry (@KailLowry) April 10, 2013
Evans must have felt particularly sensitive about the disparaging remarks, since they probably targeted her: Because of her drug use, brushes with the law and generally erratic behavior, she's had to give up custody of her son to her mother. But Evans was quick to point out that Buckwild cast members aren't without their own personal demons. Salwa Amin has been dealing with drug-related legal troubles as recently as last week.
"Sorry if u guys like to party and traffic drugs and have yr cast members locked up," tweeted Evans. "MTV doesn't like that too much..." Of course, she could have just tweeted this clip of the Simpsons bully laughing -- it makes her point much faster.
The truth is, the Teen Mom 2 cast really has gotten the last laugh. It's well-known that MTV pays its reality stars next to nothing (by TV salary standards) for the first season, and then rewards them handsomely in the second, after the show takes off. The Teen Mom 2 cast has benefitted from this formula, while the Buckwild cast lost their jobs right before their Season 2 cash-in.
"Gandee and seven fellow cast members renegotiated their contracts to score a 300 percent raise," wrote Lacey Rose of The Hollywood Reporter. "Each went from $1,000 an episode in Season 1 to $4,000 an episode in Season 2, plus a $5,000 bonus, according to multiple sources."
But even before Gandee's death, MTV was fending off controversy over what many perceived as the show's main message: "We're proud to be hicks down here in West Virginia!" The town's mayor, Danny Jones, has long been calling for its cancellation, and in the wake of Gandee's death, he did so again. "The show only enhanced the negative stereotype the Kanawha Valley already has," Jones said. And MTV execs were probably concerned about the show's continued popularity without Gandee; he was sort of The Situation of this situation. As the network said in a statement, "Given Shain's tragic passing and essential presence on the show, we felt it was not appropriate to continue without him."
They have, however, dedicated the special Buckwild: WV to the NYC (MTV, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET) as a tribute to Gandee. The special, which was shot after Season 1, documents the cast's first trip to New York City. Hopefully it will give Gandee's friends and fans a sense of closure.