R.I.P. Shain Gandee


If you’ve checked out Poor Scholars in the past, you know that we have some fans of MTV reality television — in this case, Buckwild. Earlier this week cast member Shain Gandee, his uncle and a third passenger were found dead in Gandee’s 1984 Ford Bronco in West Virginia. The cause of death was due to carbon monoxide and it was ruled accidental. 


I have been a fan of MTV’s Buckwild since the initial premiere of the show and I am sure most of my enjoyment came from the storylines surrounding Shain. I am positive speculations as to why he and his two passengers decided to go late night muddin’ will come in a relentless fashion, but all those who watched the show will know that the events leading to his early passing were not at all unfamiliar. Shain reminded me of one of those friends we all have who live life to the fullest and sometimes a little too close to the edge. These people are usually the friends that are the most genuine and easy to like. Based on all accounts since this incident, his friends and family were central to his life. The fact that these tragic events were in situations not unfamiliar to viewers indicate that his lifestyle was exactly what he portrayed on camera. He was not a fraud. He wasn’t changing who he was to gain viewers. Shain gave us a glimpse into another lifestyle that most of America was not used to and he did so by making genuine reality television. For this, I thank him.


This video summarizes Shain, easily the best character on Buckwild, rather perfectly. From being called the “Redneck Macgyver,” to the way he talked in interviews, he was the entertaining lifeforce that kept everyone else moving. I’m cool with anyone speaking English that needs subtitles and Shain was about the only reality TV redneck with crossover appeal I’ve ever seen.

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