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Reality dramas of the future

After 'Buckwild' and 'Jersey Shore,' where could the genre go next?

By Robert Isenberg
Special to MSN TV

Get ready: "Buckwild" premieres Thursday, Jan. 3, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and it's going to be nuts. The MTV series follows a bunch of reckless youths in West Virginia who crash dirt bikes, get into brawls and shoot at squirrels. Some folks are already furious, like Sen. Joe Manchin, who doesn't care for "Buckwild" and its representation of the Mountain State. Other people (read: Honey Boo Boo fans) can't wait.

Bing: More about 'Buckwild' | Plus: Best and worst shows of 2012 | The year in reality TV

But after "Jersey Shore" gave the Garden State a bad name (well, a worse name) and "Russian Dolls" infuriated the good people of Brighton Beach, we wondered: Where could the genre go next? What unsuspecting corner of the U.S. could get its own reality drama replete with substance abuse, cultural stereotypes and nonsensical violence?

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Here are some ideas:

"Big Easy"
Location: New Orleans
Cast: Jean Thibadaux, Bubba X, Raizin Kane, O. Miss, Ragin' Cajun
Summary: Five aspiring musicians move into an old mansion in the French Quarter. (They don't actually play any instruments). They chug hurricanes every night and stagger all over Bourbon Street. They get in trouble for barging into a séance and heckling a voodoo statue, and Raizin Kane spends most of the season trying to get a hex lifted. One episode involving 'gators and dynamite never airs. They finish the season with Mardi Gras, where they are booed off an open mic stage. It is soon discovered they are all actually from New York.

"Wicked Awesome"
Location: Gloucester, Mass.
Cast: J. Smith, "Southie" O'Brien, Cape Grrl, Jennie "One L"
Summary: After earning academic probation from Boston University, the gang moves into a saltbox cottage on the Gloucester shore (pronounced "glah-stah sho'a"), where they get hammered with sailors in dark little pubs and recycle jokes from "Jaws." They argue incessantly about the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry, and every single episode ends in a drunken fistfight. The season concludes with St. Peter's Fiesta, when all the guys try to "walk the greasy pole." They all end up in the hospital with serious bone fractures.

"You Betcha"
Location: Duluth, Minn.
Cast: Leif Bjorn, Jon Tierson, Erik Erikson, Esther Klein, Heidi Deutsch
Summary: Five incredibly blond youths move into a 1950s ranch-style house in suburban Duluth. Upon arrival, they immediately start volunteering for local soup kitchens. Most episodes take place in real time at the Lutheran Church. A local ne'er-do-well tricks Esther into visiting a bingo parlor. She flees in tears because "gambling is a sin." Heidi starts a bowling league, The Shining Light. Leif undergoes muscular therapy for his mouth, due to the stress of so much smiling. The season ends with a raging house party, featuring "root beer keg stands."

Location: Houston
Cast: Brick, Big Dawg, Dwayne Zane, Dixie, Mary-Sue
Summary: Dubbing themselves The Lone Stars, these five Texans hole up in a McMansion on the edge of Houston, where they drink beer from cans and then shoot the cans off fence posts with .22 rifles. Each episode involves (a) a tailgating party for the Houston Texans, (b) at least one pickup truck flying through the desert, and (c) a mechanical bull. In the finale, Mary-Sue joins a roller-derby team and starts her own spin-off, "The Pink Punisher."

"Shaka Beach"
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Cast: Big Slice, Hangten, Jamie Ke'ala, Dirk Foblonde
Summary: A gang of surfers with zero-percent body fat hang out in a tiny cabin on the Maui beach. They wake each morning and surf. Their eyes are always bloodshot, and they constantly plan to "forage for grub," but the plan never comes together, so they continue surfing instead. At the local tiki lounge, they get into a passive-aggressive argument with some surfers from California, but then they buy one another mai tais and decide to go drunken cliff-diving. They return to their cabin to find it engulfed in flames, because no one turned off the stove. "Dude," Big Slice moans, "my dad's gonna kill me."

"Kings of Hilton Head"
Location: Hilton Head, S.C.
Cast: Quentin Smith III, Beatrix Paine, Wayne Cash, Gloria Scarlet
Summary: A bunch of wealthy retirees raise hell at the local golf club. They drink gallons of mint juleps and drive their golf carts like all-terrain vehicles, chasing "the help" and cackling madly. Quentin refuses to wear sunblock, insisting that he's "no wilting flower," and he ends up in the hospital with sun poisoning. In the season finale, Gloria Scarlet pursues Beatrix Paine's grandson, and the two women argue and scratch at each other's faces in the parlor. Wayne stumbles into the room, but he doesn't break up the fight. Instead he sips an old-fashioned and murmurs, "Well, I'll be."

"Little Big City"
Location: Reno, Nev.
Cast: Mickey "Knuckles," "Lucky" Dodgeson, Danielle "21" McQueen, Johnny Shootz
Summary: With their snakeskin jackets and thirst for free cocktails, the cast of "Little Big City" hit the casinos any hour of the day or night. "Lucky" is kicked out of Harrah's for dancing on a craps table, Chippendales-style. Danielle and Johnny wake up in a waterbed to realize they married each other the previous night. Mickey punches a dealer and spends most of the season in jail. Their desert trailer is finally raided, thanks to a "COPS" crossover episode.

Location: Quebec City, Quebec
Cast: Jean-Claude, Le Monsieur, Zoë-Z, Madeleine Punque, Chef Dawg
Summary: Canada's answer to reality dramas stars five sexy ... abstract painters. They wear zippered turtlenecks and sip wine, discussing Rothko as jazz records play on the turntable. Fueled by inspiration, they attack their canvases with oil paint and brushes, trying to capture "the spirit of our hearts." All conversations are held in English and French in the comfort of their vintage loft. Everyone ends up making out with everyone else, thanks of their "polyamory pact." In the final episode, someone turns on a hockey game and the cast starts fighting and hurling Molson cans.

"Key Party"
Location: Key West, Fla.
Cast: Vince Vincent, Carrie "Beachcomber" Quint, Stardust, Walt "Driftwood" McCune, Carl Nailz
Summary: Filmed over the course of spring break, "Key Party" is absolute chaos: The castmates get plastered on Duval Street, they pick fights with motorcycle gangs, they drunkenly ride rented bicycles off piers, and they wake up on beaches with no clothes or memory of how they got there. They all live in an old B&B, except for Carl Nailz, a retired helicopter pilot who is twice as old as the rest of the cast. The season ends with Carl streaking down the street and tattoo artist Vince Vincent mumbling, "That's it, I'm going back to engineering school."

"Los Locos"
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cast: Felix Jacuzzi, Vinnie Sands, T-Bone, Teddy Shark, Gwyneth St. Bartholomew
Summary: Filmed in a colonial condo in the Old City, "Los Locos" doesn't feature a single authentic citizen of Puerto Rico. The all-Beverly Hills cast proceeds to drink mojitos, drive pink muscle cars with powerful hydraulics, and speak garbled Spanglish. After "the dune buggy incident," Puerto Rico shuts down production. The studio creates a spin-off in Guam, titled "Brats."

"Buckwild" premieres Thursday, Jan. 3, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

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Robert Isenberg is a freelance writer and actor. He is working on a book called "One Million Elephants," about the nation of Laos.

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