Hey, West Virginians, whatever happens, happens
The MTV reality show that made "Snooki" and "The Situation" pop culture icons has ended. The eight tanned Guido and Guidette housemates from Jersey Shore have moved on after six seasons.
The success of the show, however, has spawned a replacement called "Buckwild," which premieres at 10 p.m. Jan. 3.
It's Jersey Shore moved to the mountains. MTV says the new series follows "a group of nine young, carefree and adventurous friends living in West Virginia." (It was filmed in Kanawha County.)
MTV's promotion says these are just country kids, enjoying their freedom and creating their own fun, "from transforming a dump truck into a pool party to building a human slingshot, they live their lives loud and proud without restrictions."
In the trailer of "Buckwild," one of the characters says: "West Virginia is a place founded on freedom - for me and my friends. That means the freedom to do whatever the (bleep) we want."
So, what's to be made of this?
I try to remember that I was young once - I mean really remember some of the things my friends and I did and what was going through my mind at the time.
When you're at a point in your life where you believe anything is possible, it's possible that anything might just happen.
You're old enough to feel like an adult, but immature enough to suspect that the rules don't apply, which makes life a self-indulgent experience.
One "Buckwild" character says: "Our motto round here is: 'Whatever happens, happens.' "
Believing that actions don't have consequences is a naive view of life, but maybe that's just a part of youth.
It's also quite possible that MTV produced neither "Jersey Shore" nor "Buckwild" with life's lessons in mind.
"It should be fascinating (and) probably occasionally offensive," says Robert Thompson of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, "and, with the success of 'Honey Boo Boo,' probably inevitable."
Naturally, West Virginians are fretting about how our state will be portrayed.
Will the cast be viewed as just a bunch of fun-loving friends embracing a carefree life?
Or will they look and sound like ignorant hillbillies, advancing the stereotype that West Virginians abhor?
It's bothersome that people find this sort of thing entertaining, but as long as they do, there will be people willing to make asses of themselves for the sake of notoriety.
Perhaps the rest of us should try to not take it so personally.
And while I flipped past "Jersey Shore," I may have to watch at least an episode or two of "Buckwild" just to see what the dustup is about.
Hey, whatever happens, happens.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.