Reality Bites

Reality Bites: Big Rich Texas

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

I've always been fascinated by the collapse of societies.

Whether you're talking about decline due to environmental factors (the Olmecs), internal strife and external threats (the Hittites), or catastrophically inadequate plumbing (Atlantis), it really is an intriguing subject. Historically, there are a dizzying array of factors and variables that can contribute to a civilization vanishing from the face of the earth.

Whatever the cause, I think we can all agree no other society has had the privilege of watching its implosion in real time, and few shows I've sat through during this little endeavor known as Reality Bites have provided a better window into oblivion than Big Rich Texas.

I should point out that, much as we like to point and laugh at Dallas, the "ladies" of BRT aren't actually from the Metroplex. My understanding is that Style Network's Los Angeles producers recruited a few out-of-staters as well as some people from the northern 'burbs and - for whatever reason - have centered the action in a Fort Worth country club.

Is there no one loathsome enough for this show in Dallas proper? Was Jerry Jones unavailable? More to the point, do we really have to have a show of this type in every major urban area in the country?

The program follows the antics of five mother-daughter clusters. I'd list them each individually, but I confess it took me almost the entire running time to tell these gargoyles apart. I latched on to DeAynni and her daughters Shaye and Amber from the outset, because they were among the only brunettes. And because a key focus of the third season premiere was her recent surgery to have unsightly arm flab removed.

Yes, I said "third" season. Clearly if you're a subscriber to the simplistic "dinosaur" model of societal collapse (famously critiqued by Joseph Tainter), you've found quite a supporting argument. As far as I could tell, these women do nothing more than obtain unnecessary surgical procedures and throw cocktails at each other. There were more drinks thrown before the credits rolled than I've ever seen in real life (and only two of those were aimed at me, for the record).

The first scene takes place at the country club, where they enjoy margaritas served by waiters in garish sombreros and fake mustaches. This is the same kind of shit that got Lupe Tortilla in hot water, only x1000. Here we learn DeAynni has had her "batwings" removed, and are further informed that after she gets her legs done she's going to have her "va-jay-jay" reconstructed, because fuck charity. A brief discussion of Leslie's (I think, she's the one with the terrible Michael Jackson nose) new sugar daddy takes place, follows by a various 50 Shades of Grey jokes.

Bonnie and daughter Whitney are another special situation. Both are characterized by their identical sculpted eyebrows and crocodilian maws, though Whitney has matching pink bow tattoos on her chest, which are a fitting complement to mom's enormous breasts.

Another of the blond moms -- Cindy -- throws a botox party for one Dr. Adelglass, who looks like the offspring of Jeff Bridges and George W. Bush with about 150 pounds added. Cindy's daughter Alex apparently worked for him recently, and the revulsion on her face when he corners her at the party is...telling. The botox party itself is like watching the reptile scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. More importantly, I found it representative of Toynbee's theory of degenerative evolution.

There's actually a serious argument about whether or not someone resigned from something called the "fashionistas" or was asked to leave.

Whitney brings home a "body piercer" named "Booger" and shows off her "MAYHEM" abdominal tattoo (no fathers are apparent on the episode I watched, which I'm sure is a total coincidence).To his credit, Booger seems to want her to lay off the tats so her family will like him. And why? Because he wants her to move in with him, duh. Bonnie is ashamed, of course, and they have a huge dustup in front of the hired bartender. Faux pas ladies, faux pas.

Just in case you were worried, there's actually parenting of a sort going on. Leslie laments daughter Kalyn's directionless...ness when her little girl reveals she's quit her "dream" of becoming a pastry chef after working a few weeks in a bakery. While Bonnie is afraid Whitney will abandon her ambition of becoming an "esthetician." Leslie even forces Kalyn to spend her own money at the dress store. Whatever will happen to these poor, struggling young women if they can't achieve their goals? Let's ask Alex:

Alex: "When I turn 16, I want a white Range Rover."
Cindy: "Of course, you can have whatever you want."

Some kind of casino night takes place, where the cattiness transcends generations (Melissa and Leslie get into it over the latter's alleged gold-diggerness, Leslie counters that Melissa has no money of her own, THIS CASINO NIGHT IS A TRAVESTY), but I'll be honest, these lizard people terrify me. As they should all of you.

It was fun while it lasted, America.