Everybody in tiny Sissonville, WV — population 4,028 at last check — knows affable, hardworking young Shain Gandy as the town’s “unofficial mayor” who skipped out on being prom king so he wouldn’t miss work. Beginning Jan. 3, MTV audiences will know him as the central star of the network’s newest kids-on-the-loose docuseries, Buckwild.
But, says Colin Nash, MTV’s West Coast vice president of series development, this isn’t simply a downhome Jersey Shore. “It offers a completely new and unique world that our audience hasn’t really seen before,” he explains of the show brought to him by Zoo Productions and Parallel Entertainment, who met Buckwild’s core cast while filming another show nearby.
“We just fell in love from the second that we met them,” Nash says. “Shain Gandy, who is just such a loveable, amazing character, introduced us to his world and his group of friends. And a lot of it takes place in the holler where he lives. He lives in the same holler as his parents, who live a couple houses up from him — so he can holler up to them for whatever he needs. Which gives us a clear definition of what a holler actually is!”
The show also provides a clear definition of what fun entails for Gandy’s two-man, six-woman crew, who would rather spend their time living it up in the great outdoors than barhopping or Facebooking.
“You’ll see they build a waterslide in the backyard out of a huge piece of tarp,” Nash reveals. “They decide to have a pool party for some of the girls as a housewarming present. They borrow a friend’s dump truck and they pull it up and fill it with mattresses and a tarp and turn it into a pool party.”
As for the Mountain State naysayers who protest that the show caters to a redneck stereotype they don’t deserve, Nash says perspective counts. “We aren’t trying to make a show about the state of West Virginia,” Nash explains. “We found this group of kids that we fell in love with, and the show is about them and their world. That’s really what we’re documenting.”
Buckwild premieres Thursday, Jan. 3 at 10pm on MTV