Photo Credit: MTV
It was supposed to be the next Jersey Shore, but following the death of cast member Shain Gandee, MTV's Buckwild may not get a second season. Gandee, 21, was found dead in his Ford Bronco truck on Monday, along with a relative and another man; the truck was wrecked in a remote muddy area. Filming on Season 2 of the reality show is already in progress, and has been temporarily suspended -- but should Buckwild really go on after this tragedy?
The Mayor of Charleston, West Virginia doesn't think so, and neither do we. The series, which documents a group of self-proclaimed "rednecks" and their crazy rural adventures, is essentially Jersey Shore-meets-Jackass. The friends have been characterized by their reckless low-budget stunts, which include converting a dump truck into a swimming pool, leaping off the bridge next to a power plant, and driving off-road with nine people jammed into a pick-up truck. They like weapons, mud and drinking. They live without fear, and they make it look fun.
"West Virginia is a place founded on freedom," says the narrator of the Season 1 trailer. "For me and my friends, that means the freedom to do whatever the f--k we want."
Unfortunately, doing "whatever the f--k you want" has consequences, and Shain Gandee has suffered the worst one. By all evidence, Gandee was enjoying a routine weekend of mud-bogging when the car got stuck, too far from civilization to call for help and too deep in the mud to get out. The dominant theory is that he and his friends died of carbon monoxide poisoning from being in the stalled truck, which would have been unable to let out exhaust fumes if the tailpipe was in the mud.
Truthfully, mud-bogging seemed like one of the safer things that the Buckwild cast indulged in. Even if the castmates want to go on with their usual daredevil stunts to honor Shain's memory, viewers will be too painfully aware that death is lurking around the corner. It's not going to be fun anymore.
The show's cast has been plagued by other serious issues, too. Salwa Amin is currently in jail and awaiting trial for three felony drug charges. Michael Douglas Burford was charged with a DUI earlier this year. Obviously, the self-destructive behavior of the Buckwild cast extends far beyond makeshift rope swings. And until they turn the cameras off for good, MTV is enabling it.