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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is not a fan of MTV’s new series Buckwild, which centers on young adults in a small town in his state. In a letter to the network, he said that he was “repulsed” by the program, which doesn’t air until next month.
In a letter to MTV President Stephen Friedman, which the Washington Post obtained, Manchin asks that the show be cancelled before it even starts.
“As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” Manchin wrote. “I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off of Buckwild.”
He continued, “Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”
Manchin also criticized the show in an interview with the Post, saying that it “plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.”
Producer John Stevens of Zoo Productions defended the show in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“It’s not like looking at a train wreck,” Stevens said. “That’s not what it is. That’s the part I’m really excited about. There is a certain coolness to it. It’s different than a lot of the stuff that has been produced. I think it’s going to get people talking and it might change people’s perspectives. These kids are totally wild and carefree. It will be very refreshing to the MTV audience.”
Stevens adds that part of the appeal of the show is watching these young adults from Sissonville, West Virginia who have had little connection to technology or social media. “These guys don’t have the crap in daily life that convolutes their lives. They ride motorcycles. They jump in a lake. One kid said, ‘We don’t have a roller coaster,’ so he jumps in a front loader and his friend swings him 20 feet up in the air for thrills,” he said.
MTV ordered 10 episodes of Buckwild, which will take over the now-cancelled Jersey Shore’s slot on Jan. 3.