Friday, May 03, 2013

Reality TV producers still like shows 'set in the South with loud, unpolished, young kids'

Shane Gandee of "Buckwild"
died in April at the age of 21.
Reality TV has found success with shows focused on rural people doing things that are considered rural, which mostly seems to involve people acting like idiots, country bumpkins, or being weird to the point of almost being scary. The recently canceled "Buckwild" is a good example. The incredibly popular show featured a group of young West Virginians mostly being loud and obnoxious, and for the most part, stupid. The show was only canceled after one of the stars died.

So, when do TV networks stop trying to find ways to make fun of the perceived notions of rural people? According to Jason Linkins on the Huffington Post, it won't be any time soon. Linkins said he was the recipient of an MTV memo about proposed new shows, with one show listed as "A BUCKWILD replacement; i.e., a show set in the South with loud, unpolished, young kids."

Center for Rural Stategies President Dee Davis told Linkins, "Every community has aberrant people, easy-to-exploit exceptions for reality television producers looking to put reckless behavior on display. All of the producers of these shows say that they are trying to augur some authenticity, but in the end, they end up using their subjects for ridicule. There are certain people who they feel they have permission to ridicule," and the rural poor are one such group. (Read more)

We wrote about "Buckwild" here, here and here, and about rural depictions in reality TV here.

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