Let’s acknowledge up front that it would be a stretch to call anyone in the cast of Buckwild, which ended its first season this past week, a true villain. Most of us had not just irresponsible moments in our late teens and early twenties, but entire life stages where we were menaces to society on some level. Sure, they put life and limb in danger all the damn time (though again, a lot of that is their youth and not just where they’re from), and most of them are either shallow (if we want to be nice about it) or just barely smart enough to breathe (if we don’t). But all in all, they aren’t so bad.
But the attitudes in this group towards casual sex can be pretty alarming – OK, let’s clarify that. It’s not so much the casual sex as it is the apparent assumption that unless you’re actually married, no relationship is significant and anything goes. That was my takeaway from the finale, where our new Villains of the Week Tyler and Ashley decided to “hook up” even though he had been giving off pretty obvious “we’re an official couple now” signals to Katie, something Ashley knew but chose to ignore because … well, she just felt like it.
Let’s set the stage here briefly. Tyler is the male in the Buckwild cast who would probably come closest to fitting in to “normal” society. He’s also pretty much a slut, it appears, as well as being “really, really, really stupid” – and that’s according to Katie, who likes him. He and Katie had hooked up on a camping trip, and even though she knew all about his reputation (she wasn’t even the first person in the cast he had been with on this season), she started to develop real feelings, as girls will sometimes do.
At this point Tyler could have been up front about liking Katie only as an occasional lay, but once he said yes to her request that she introduce him to her mother … am I old-fashioned here, or doesn’t that tend to suggest to a girl that while they might not necessarily be exchanging rings down the road, it at least means that he’s not going to be naked with another chick about 12 minutes later in Buckwild time? Especially considering Katie reminded him after the home visit, “I don’t want to be just another number – this is like, kind of important to me,” and he told her what she wanted to hear.
What seemed to happen here is that Tyler started getting teased about having a new girlfriend, so he responded to this threat to his precious freedom by happily going away with the first new pair of boobs that thrust themselves in his face. Those boobs belonged to Ashley, who took advantage of Katie’s absence to sneak Tyler away from a party, into his truck, and into his pants, which looked about as difficult as giving water to a thirsty dog. The cameras cut between shots of Katie telling Anna how much she liked Tyler, to the sight of Ashley taking her shirt off and Tyler warning her not to tell anyone.
Well, of course, news got out – after all, everyone at the party had noticed Ashley and Tyler leaving. To make matters worse, Tyler immediately started giving Ashley the cold shoulder, leading her to feel disrespected and chatty about the dangerous liaison. Katie heard about the alleged hookup from Anna, and then confronted Ashley in a store. After the barest hesitation, she admitted to the boinking. Her weak defense was that Tyler could have always turned down her pass (true), and that she truly didn’t believe he and Katie were that serious (he had told her he didn’t have a girlfriend, but she’s not too dumb to realize Katie might not see it that way).
While Katie gave Ashley the expected “I can’t believe you would do this to me” speech, she seemed to forgive her awfully quickly. In fact, Ashley joined Katie and Cara as they spent the rest of the episode jointly demanding that Tyler admit what he did. He denied the betrayal sex until such time as the girls threatened to have him banned from a new party, which was the spur to get him to come clean. Of course, it’s hard to know why he even bothered to lie, since cheating on even an implied girlfriend doesn’t seem like the kind of thing anyone on Buckwild holds against a person.
It seemed very strange to me that Katie’s real feelings about this were almost entirely ignored. One could argue she either got what she deserved or possibly didn’t care, because she knew Tyler wouldn’t be faithful and didn’t even like him much aside from the hormonal (“really, really, really stupid”). But she had to be at least a little embarrassed, and her friend Ashley didn’t seem to care at all.
Buckwild cast, if you want to stay out of our line of fire, try to limit your drunken gropings to those who are happily and completely single. It’s really not that hard.