Senator Jo Manchin is a proud West Virginian — and a former governor to boot — which is why he is unhappy with the MTV producers who crept into his state and "preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now are profiting from it" in the form of the channel's new reality show, Buckwild. In a letter to MTV President Stephen Friedman, Manchin wrote that he was "repulsed" by the show, which, according to MTV, chronicles the "colorful antics of a group of friends just out of high school in rural West Virginia" and has already been referred to as "the Jersey Shore of Appalachia." (Manchin's criticisms recall those of New Jersey's own Governor Chris Christie, who vetoed a $420,000 tax credit for Jersey Shore, which he felt "[perpetuated] misconceptions about the state and its citizens.")
Buckwild's executive producer, John Stevens, defended the project, telling Entertainment Weekly, "It's not like looking at a train wreck." In fact, he said, "There is a certain coolness to it...I think it’s going to get people talking and it might change people’s perspectives." He went on to cite his subjects' lack of Facebook and cell phones as "refreshing," and recalled with fondness the time one young West Virginian told him, "'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." So, it'll be more like tractor wreck.