Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Redneck Heaven: MTV debuts Big Tips Texas Wednesday
The local breastaurant made it to the big screen.
Here’s the opening line of Variety's review of Big Tips Texas, the Arlington-set “reality” series that begins airing Wednesday night at 9 p.m.: “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.”
It’s one of the kinder things written about the 14-episode series set at the Redneck Heaven breastaurant that serves burgers and booze in the shadow of Six Flags Over Texas. The show’s getting a 14-episode run, but long story short for those who’ve never seen a television set: Pretty young women in short-shorts and teensy-tops flirt with customers, fight with and f-bomb each other, and occasionally stop long enough to exhale their dreams about Harvard Law School or the barrel-racing circuit. Aaaaand … scene.
But know this going in Wednesday night. At least a handful of the women about to get their MTV moment insist they’re all good with what’s about to come down — the name-calling and nasty moments laid bare on national television, and the hate-filled comments that come with instafame. Like, say, 22-year-old Kristyn Bullard, who began working at Redneck Heaven a little more than a year ago — right around the time the drink-n-eatery’s owners were in talks with the former music television network about moving the Jersey Shore to the Texas State Highway 360 frontage road.
“I couldn’t imagine sitting at a desk all day, so this is right up my alley,” she said a couple of weeks before the debut, sitting at Redneck Heaven table next to co-worker and castmate Morgan Adler. “And then they decided to do the TV show, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is the perfect opportunity.’ Who wouldn’t want to do this?’”
Um … most people?
“We’re young girls, so we obviously love the attention!” Bullard said. “If we take as many selfies as we do, of course we want a camera following us.”
“I didn’t even think twice about it,” said Adler, whose feud with a bartender passes for Big Drama on a show set in a restaurant. The daughter of a Dallas attorney, the 22-year-old Adler lives on a ranch in Justin and is prominently featured in one early episode riding horses and shoveling … well, you know. “I was like, ‘Sign me up.’”
“I knew it was going to be awesome,” Bullard added.
Flower Mound’s Typhani Gibbs, the restaurant’s head of human resources (and, per the show, the owner’s girlfriend), was instrumental in getting MTV in the door. And Gibbs, who turns 24 Friday, insists the producers weren’t just looking for pretty girls wearing body-paint bikinis willing to call each other names.
“I really wasn’t too worried, because you could tell they were genuinely looking for girls who had aspirations and goals,” she said. “They weren’t just looking for The Pretty One or The Country One. They wanted the ones with the biggest dreams, the biggest goals, the biggest stories.”
But by now we know there’s little real about reality TV; these aren’t Robert Drew documentaries, after all, the unvarnished truth captured by the unblinking eye. There’s a fine line between a script and a suggestion. And more than one take should automatically disqualify anything as keeping it “real.” (Or didn’t you see Broadcast News?) But the women of Redneck Heaven insist, again and again: This is all them, the good and the bad, for better or worse.
“In the beginning, for me it was definitely trying to be so perfect,” says Bullard. “Then you realize that’s not who you are. If you wanna call someone a [expletive], sorry, but I’m gonna say you are. You have to be yourself.”
“Absolutely,” said Adler. “I’m not shy. I don’t hold anything back.”
“When we signed up for it we had to accept we are gonna be on TV and it’s gonna be portrayed how they want it to be,” said Bullard. “As long as we stay true to ourselves, we’ll be fine. We have to ignore the negative and know this might have showed on TV, but I also know this happened too, and it wasn’t there. As long as we have each other’s back the negativity doesn’t affect us.”
“In the beginning we struggled with how much we’re putting out there,” Gibbs said. “And then we all realized we committed to this. We put it all out there, or nothing’s going to look right. It’s therapy being on the show. You can’t half-ass it.”
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