Image credit: MTV
THE SOUND OF A CHILD'S LAUGHTER Cara and Tyler share a giggle.
Jesse was in Ashley's car, slumped in the shotgun seat, covered in vomit and blood, his feet sticking out of the car. He was covered in bruises. Hours later, he crawled upstairs and told Salwa he loved her. Salwa accused him of being Patrick Schwasted. He said, "You're the only person that I love!" Then he started drunkenly ranting, and he got into a fight with Tyler, which ended with him bleeding on the ground, while Joey screamed: "Get out of here, Jesse!" Not one bit of this was coherent in the least. It was like watching a Denis Johnson short story filmed by a crew of high schoolers for their English Class. Jesse B walked off into the night, a rough beast whose hour had round at last, slouching towards Methlehem. To celebrate his departure, Ashley and Joey ran naked around the house, and everyone laughed. Katie said that she would never recover from seeing that terrible fight. I have no idea who Katie is.
I'm not ragging on the show, by the way. I'm a little bit fascinated by the whole mood they've conjured up with Buckwild. It feels like memories of a summer from childhood, except with all the alcohol and firearms and automobiles that five-year-olds aren't allowed to use. Which, by the way: Sometimes Buckwild is just plain stupid. The show celebrated a sequence with the gang firing a shotgun. Slow motion. Raucous music. Shae, learning to shoot a shotgun. Salwa, shooting a shotgun in heels. Ashley, shooting a bottle of orange soda, and the camera catching it explode so beautifully that it looked like a squib in a spaghetti western. And then, when it cut to commercial, MTV explained: "The misuse of guns can lead to damaging consequences. To learn more about this, head to MTV.com."
Bullplop. Have your cake or eat it, MTV. If you're going to make a show whose whole appeal is based around completely bad and immoral behavior and stupid behavior, don't pull back on our account. But the ham-handedness of that PSA might imply something deeper about this particular cultural moment. Buckwild had big debut ratings, but those ratings dropped off last week; to judge purely by the show's absence from last night's Twitter Trending Topics, I'm betting the ratings fell even further. It could be that, quite understandably, TV viewers want something more substantive out of their reality TV than pure anarchy.
Then again, maybe TV viewers just aren't that interested in these kids. Joey celebrated his birthday last night, and all anyone could talk about was whether Joey would get his birthday wish of hooking up with Shae. This wasn't a tense situation; Shae admitted pretty early on that she was interested in Joey, and she showed up without a bra on, and she offered to let Joey lick her belly before agreeing to lick apple butter off his bare torso. I kind of like Shae. When she smiles and when she frowns, she has the same look in her eyes, and it's a look that says: "I'd like to tear your skin off and wear it to the Prom."
So Joey hooked up with Shae, and everyone had a chat about the surprising size of Joey's Little Joey. "I totally can't see him having a big d---," said Salwa. "Yeah, it's surprising," admitted Shae, sounding cold and dead and robotlike. Joey called her later that day and was all like "Sup sup, girly-girl, let's you and me hang-hang sometime, yeah?" Shae gave him her best Betty Draper impression: "No." Joey explained, "You gotta fail to succeed, sometimes." Truer words? Never spoken.
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