The Lone Star State’s more conservative quadrants have discussed seceding from the U.S., and after “Big Tips Texas,” perhaps Texans should be encouraged to act on the impulse, and take MTV with them. Essentially just a reality-TV knockoff of the movie “Coyote Ugly,” this half-hour series features boozy, brawling waitresses and female bartenders at a little place called Redneck Heaven, where one speaks of making the customers “happy and horny.” The fabricated conflict begins to wear thin almost immediately, but practically speaking, it’s hard to go wrong with Southern miscreants these days — unless that happens to be “Buckwild.”
Morgan, one of the new girls, arrives with a fiery chip on her slim shoulders and quickly begins picking a fight with Amber, a statuesque “lesbian magnet” who “talks like a sailor” and could probably out-drink the fleet. The rivalry between the two provides the spine of the two-part premiere, which also introduces other gals from different backgrounds struggling to eke out a living and hold their assets within the strained confines of their halters.
Actually, most workplaces wouldn’t tolerate all the acrimony (much less the fisticuffs in the “This season on” tease), but MTV feasts on it. And Typhani, the manager, is dating the owner, so she’s given a rather long leash in overseeing her charges.
Conceptually the setting is in MTV’s wheelhouse, but there’s such a dreary sameness to these characters and situations — and such a heavy hand to the structuring of both — that precious little about “Big Tips” seems real, including what you are not-so-subconsciously intended to think of as a substitute for “tips” in the title.
Chalk it up as another self-described “docuseries” that appears to have substituted a reality-like meat substance for the docu part.
As stated, the regional appeal of these shows has been making them viable, turning deep-fried franchises like “Duck Dynasty” and “Honey Boo Boo” into the equivalent of sitcom hits. Although the shows often traffic in redneck stereotypes, plenty of red-staters are tuning in.
Yet if the ultimate goal is to replicate “Jersey Shore,” “BTT” highlights the fact that genuine characters in these settings aren’t quite so easily manufactured.
Now there’s a tip for MTV. Because despite the familiar tricks of the trade, these ‘Horns don’t hook you.