“This summer I’m looking for a big truck, big muscles, and big dick.” – Lauren from Party Down South
“Tinkerbell, put your big girl thongs on and I’m fixing to get hard and run your city.” – Ryan Daddy from Party Down South
“If it’s idiotic and stupid, I want to do it.” – Walt from Party Down South
“Stupid shit is kind of one of my forte’s” – Murray from Party Down South
The “Country Music Television” you once knew is no more. Not that CMT has been worthy of your attention for a good long while, but when their new season launched earlier this year, a total of 7 new reality shows were added to its broadcast roster, further shoving any actual “country” music programming aside for supposedly “unscripted” shows. Country Music Television also very quietly officially changed their named to simply “CMT,” meaning it is no longer an acronym for “Country Music Television,” it is just simply a string of letters. You know, truth in advertising.
Just like the other Viacom-owned music television properties whose roots trace back to serving music communities before Viacom’s takeover—channels like MTV, BET, VH1, and TNN (now Spike)—CMT is now working towards a reality show model, hoping to have 4 complete nights of original programming by 2016. “We’re trying to create content that is bolder, louder and more repeatable,” Executive Vice President of CMT Jayson Dinsmore told The Hollywood Reporter. No, that wasn’t “reputable,” that was “repeatable,” meaning they want programming they can show over and over, and over.
The flagship of CMT’s new lineup is a reality show called Party Down South from producer SallyAnn Salsano—the same producer of the popular MTV reality show Jersey Shore. The idea is to create a Jersey Shore of the South, but just like Jersey Shore, the show does not depict realities of life, it cobbles together castoff, amateur acting talent from across a wide geographic region, places them in one house, gives them alcohol and activities, and embellishes the drama with canned scenes and scripted scenarios.
It’s not necessarily the concept of the show itself that is the problem. If it was couched as young adults acting stupid and was slotted on a television network that catered to such programming like Spike instead of one that up until now has been one of the few family friendly channels left on the cable dial, then it would be just another cable television curiosity. But it doesn’t take a minute into the introduction to the show when one of the cast members can be heard saying, “We’re about to show everyone what being from the South is about.”
And similar to much of the music you can find these days on mainstream corporate radio, and fighting for the last dying gasps on what used to be CMT’s music video format, the cast of Party Down South can’t shut the hell up about how Southern they are, imbibing very heavily into Southern stereotypes with an unnatural, almost sadistic focus and rapidity.
Simply put, Party Down South is the biggest slander of Southern culture that has ever been perpetuated through popular media, and the bean-counting executives at CMT should be positively ashamed of themselves in how this show depicts young women of the South a sluts, specifically referring to them as both “whores” and “bitches” in unbleeped content, and how the men are depicted as incredibly, incredibly stupid. There are also curious amount of damaging depictions of irresponsible gun ownership throughout the show, with a “God and guns” idea being one of the show’s focuses. These negative stereotypes and connotations not only constitute the content of the show, they are the crux of their marketing for it, right beside their assurances that what viewers are getting is the “real South.”
Party Down South is CMT poisoning its own culture and people. Would the suits that OK’d this show sign off on seeing their own daughters being depicted in the type of light this show casts, being called “bitches” and “whores” and having their faces plastered all over the marketing of this dreck?
There should be protests in the streets in front of CMT’s corporate headquarters over this, but since over the last few years the country music fan has been slowly kneaded into a complicit bystander as their culture is stolen right from under them, and then reconstituted to the curious masses in the form of gratuitous and caricaturist depictions that they not only don’t put up a fight, they pull up a chair and watch because corporate media has robbed them of any other choice for their entertainment.
And mark my words, if this show is in any way successful, you will see Party Down South personalities handing out awards at big country music award shows, signing record deals, and becoming general personalities within the country music industry.
CMT has turned its back on its roots as an outlet for music and family entertainment, and the blood of the dying culture of country music and the South stains their hands.