Sometimes the adventures of seven complete strangers make television magic, but in other cases, groups of preexisting pals are even more interesting to watch. As soon as MTV made its way down to West Virginia for “BUCKWILD,” Shain, Ashley and their longtime clique showed us how to get down and dirty — something they’d all been perfecting for years. From the trust required to go mudding through the woods to their shared romantic pasts, the group proved how powerful existing chemistry can be. You can’t quite ask a random person for an eighteen-wheeler full of water, ya know?
In honor of MTV’s latest show to follow friends who know each other inside and out, here are six of our favorites that preceded it:
“Laguna Beach“ – Kristin made quite a splash when she transferred to Laguna Beach High School just before her junior year, but the crew she soon called her own included friends that had known each other since birth. The show’s teen fashionistas, skaters and surfers all gelled together, and in spite of some D-R-A-M-A here and there, it was clear they had each other’s backs.
“Taking The Stage” — There’s no better bonding experience than striving to reach your dreams alongside your friends. The show followed dancers, singers, musicians and more at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. They certainly saw roadblocks en route to success, but when a string snapped or a bone broke, they could always count on one another to pull through.
“Washington Heights” – Growing up in the same neighborhood gives people a common ground, and for the crew that lives at the tippy-top of New York City, that shared struggle has seen them through some tough times. Despite their different problems, at the end of the day they can always breathe easy — at least for a second — on a rooftop enjoying the company of friends.
“Two-A-Days” – When your high school football team is one of the best in the nation, preseason is nothing to sneeze at. These guys were run into the ground as they prepared to defend their national title, and the amount of puke left on the field during sprints could have filled a swimming pool. When they felt like they couldn’t stand for another second, they only had their teammates to rely on — and that is a bond no strangers could share.
“My Life As Liz” – Standing outside of a high school’s popular crowd doesn’t mean you stand alone. Liz and her Burleson, Texas, band of misfits were inseparable, and their shared love of “Star Wars” and passion for late-night burgers had been building for some time. Their off-beat connection proved to last long beyond graduation day.
“The Paper“ — Mess with anyone on deadline and you’re likely to get your head ripped off, particularly when they’ve been working for years to keep their high school paper flying high. The Cyprus Hill newspaper staff was almost a cult, and all that time slaving over layouts (even before MTV cameras showed up) cemented them as blood/ink brothers. It’s tough to trust a new face with editing your copy!
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Photos: Michael Muller, Eric Johnson, Jamel Toppin, Scott Gries, Rene Cervantes, Justin Borucki