Courtesy of MTV
A 21-year-old star of “Buckwild,” an MTV show featuring a group of reckless West Virginia teenagers, was found dead Monday after going missing around 3 a.m. Sunday.
Shain Gandee, former prom king and a main character on the show was driving off-road with his uncle, David Dwight Gandee, 48, and Donald Robert Myers, 27. They were all found dead in the vehicle.
I am hoping the events of this past weekend will get the producers at MTV thinking about how strong their influence is on its viewers and stars.
“We’re young, free and Buckwild.” This promo for the MTV show “Buckwild” was paired with clips from a group of young people doing crazy, unsafe stunts just for kicks and because there’s not much else to do in their small town of Sissonville, W.Va. Their fast and dangerous lifestyles led them to 3 million viewers on Thursday nights for their first season.
The trailer definitely caught my eye, but not in a good way. I had no intentions of watching this show and supporting MTV’s efforts to appeal this “live fast, die hard” lifestyle to their young viewers. MTV has enough programs that show their viewers dangerous lifestyles can be fun, and hey, maybe if you’re crazy enough you could get your own show too.
Being on MTV doesn’t exactly skyrocket you to fame, but for an average person, it can be quite the ego booster. It doesn’t help if the premise of the show is crazy young people who feel invincible. Shain might have been drawn into the excitement of being an MTV celebrity. Who wouldn’t be?
But being known for being a little wild, perhaps even buckwild, can lead one to do some pretty dangerous things – even things that can end your short life at the tender age of 21.
The only positive thing that can come out of this show and these deaths would be for MTV to realize that it is negatively impacting society. Its plans for a second season were announced in February, however since news of Shain’s death, MTV has suspended production on the series, according to The New York Times.
Thankfully so, because young children do not need to see this extreme exaggeration of how some people live their lives, and the cast members should not be forced to act in a way that’s worthy of national entertainment. If this is the purpose of television today, then we might as well throw our televisions out the window.
Shain’s death is a very sad wake-up call for MTV that its tactics to get more viewers by exaggerating reality is unacceptable. If they do not take this opportunity to see that what they are doing is damaging to everyone involved, they better figure it out soon. The last thing anyone wants is another death to be caused by MTV’s influence on viewers and contracts with cast members.