New contenders join MTV reality shows

In Arts & Entertainment, Film & TV
Courtesy of MCT
Courtesy of MCT

MTV introduced the world of fist-pumping, big muscles and even bigger personalities. Jersey Shore has since spiraled into a reality TV sensation; each cast member is now a celebrity. It’s too soon to tell whether it’s possible to replicate Jersey Shore’s success, which began in 2009.

Buckwild and Washington Heights are the newest additions to MTV’s clan of reality TV shows.

Buckwild shows the stereotypical life of American subculture, while Washington Heights follows a group of young friends in Manhattan struggling to accomplish their dreams.

Like all reality TV series, both shows offer a cast of characters with distinct personalities. Jersey Shore gave us “The Situation,” who resembled the typical “guido” living in Jersey.

Buckwild offers Shain, the stereotypical hillbilly with an accent to match and the four-wheeling skills to prove it.

In Washington Heights, JP forecasts an ambitious tone set in the Heights as he struggles with financial problems while aspiring to make it as a hip-hop artist.

Although both shows promise drama, drunken nights and late night hookups, their differences outweigh any similarities.

Buckwild can be described as a cross between Jackass and Jersey Shore. Buckwild features the young cast participating in mindless, stupid activities only common in rural areas of the country such as Sissonville, West Virginia.

In nearly all episodes, the boys of Buckwild drive recklessly in their four by fours through muddy terrain. In a short snippet titled “Forklift Roller Coaster,” one cast member comfortably sits in the forklift’s scooper as someone maneuvers the vehicle in every direction and ultimately dumps the rider in a puddle of mud.

Buckwild depicts, with slightly less accuracy, a more simple part of the country. Rather than going out to clubs, the kids of Sissonville make the best of their surroundings. Their purpose, however, doesn’t stray too far of that depicted on Jersey Shore, which is to carelessly party hard.

A quote from one Buckwild’s trailer quickly sums up the cast members’ shared belief, “West Virginia is a place founded on freedom. For me and my friends, that means the freedom to do whatever the f*** we want.”

Contrastingly, the second contender fresh on the scene is Washington Heights, which offers a more serious and relatable storyline.

The Heights parallels Jersey Shore. Both shows have represented a culture evident in the place in which the shows are named after.

Washington Heights replaces the Italian-American scene set in Jersey with a Dominican-American urbanity found in Manhattan, New York.

Washington Heights, which may also misrepresent the neighborhood, is refreshing in how young adults in today’s generation have been previously captured. Unlike Buckwild, each person has an ambition stretching from a literary poet to a professional baseball career.

This cast, however, is not the typical group of friends you would expect to see on an MTV reality show. The plot revolves around nine tight knit New Yorkers’ financial and personal hardships rather than late night partying and night camera sex scenes.

In the show’s third episode, viewers are introduced to JP’s best friend, Jimmy—a former drug dealer trying to turn his life around with dreams of making it to the big leagues.

Jimmy struggles to keep his composure while his father is in prison. His goals of a better future despite his less than fortunate upbringing is the focus of the show.

Still, Buckwild and Washington Heights bring something new and different to the table.

Retiring after six seasons, Jersey Shore’s ratings have set the bar that new reality television shows need to top.

Curious about rural American lifestyle and in the mood for a great laugh? Then Buckwild is right up your alley.

Looking for a drama and interested in the Eastside urban art scene? Washington Heights has that in store for you.

Although both shows lack “gorilla juicehead” gym junkies, ostentatious animal print and a book’s worth of Jersey lingo (grenade, DTF and T-shirt time, to name a few), Buckwild and Washington Heights definitely drew in viewers.

Due to high ratings, both shows are expected for a second season.

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