Redneck Heaven in Arlington, Texas probably falls somewhere below Hooters in the breastaurant pecking order. But when it comes to boot-scootin' fun, it's hard to beat. Consider: Hooters is famous for its chicken wings; Redneck Heaven? For its "minnow bomb": A live baitfish swallowed in a shot of liquor.
It's that kind country-fried yeehaw that fuels MTV's new reality show Big Tips Texas. That, and a cast of lip-glossed young women in cut-offs and tube tops selling burgers.
For the cast, being on their own reality show is a dream come true. Do they watch such shows? Duh!
"Is that a serious question? I'm 22 and I'm a girl: Of course I watch The Kardashians!" exclaims Kristyn, one of the sexy waitresses who talk smack and play out the Lone Star drama on the 14-episode series, which she describes as "a mixture of Jersey Shore, The Hills and Real World."
"Part of what makes the show so amazing is it really is us — we tease each other, we fight each other, we love each other ... and we'll tell you if your makeup looks bad," says Typhani, manager of the joint and girlfriend of its owner.
Typhani's relationship with the boss provides some of the tension, as does resident queen bee Amber and her conflict with "new girl" Morgan and her head-bobbing stare.
"I was born with a bitch face," Morgan concedes. "It's permanent, even when I don't mean it to be."
But whatever the source of their hostilities, they insist none of the drama was created for the cameras — even though it makes for delicious reality. "They were like fire and gasoline even before the cameras started rolling," Kristyn insists. "There are between 30 and 40 girls each shift — there's gonna be drama. We're awful!"
And there's that issue with the minnow bombs. While many of the girls will happily agree to do one (assuming their customers tip them enough), not everyone feels that way. "I can't even swallow an ibuprofen, much less a fish," says Morgan.
"There's so much more to this place than Daisy Dukes and a half top," says waitress and aspiring pre-law student Sabrina.
Sometimes, there's not even a half top. The bar received some negative press this summer after a "theme night" in which the clothing of choice was nothing more than body paint and pasties. Officials said it violated city ordinances. (The issue was addressed during the filming, Typhani says, and may appear in a later episode.)
Still, not all the women in the bar are exhibitionists. While Kristyn admits "I'm not gonna have this body forever," Morgan says she's actually quite modest — both at Redneck Heaven and in her private life.
"I'm still very plain," she says, preferring tube tops and turquoise jewelry to revealing blouses. "I'm like your sister... your really hot sister."
The girls are already looking forward to the possibility of a second season — "I'm waiting for the phone call; I'll buy a new weave even," says Morgan — even though they haven't seen the first episode yet. And Typhani may have to wait longer than most to watch it. "I don't have cable," she confesses.
Big Tips Texas premieres Wednesday at 10/9c on MTV.