The 'ladies' of <i>Big Rich Texas</i>.

The 'ladies' of Big Rich Texas.

Just when you think you've seen the most atrocious behaviour, unfunny crassness and oblivious self-debasement of which wealthy middle-aged women are capable, the cable disgorges something even more appalling.

It's scarcely an exaggeration to say Big Rich Texas, a semi-scripted ''reality'' series about Dallas country club women and their daughters, makes The Real Housewives of New Jersey look like Downton Abbey.

The format is pure cookie-cutter and the women exhibit the mandatory preoccupation with money, shopping and plastic surgery, but the nastiness has been dialled up to 11. You can't just call another woman a bitch; you have to tell her: ''Take your camel toe and get the f--- out of here.'' You can't just throw a drink in another woman's face; you also have to smash the glass at her feet. The fact it's all staged for entertainment purposes merely reflects the program makers' desire to produce an uglier kind of trash.

Strangely, while the show doesn't get within a Texas longhorn's roar of ''so bad it's good'' territory, it is, at least, bad enough to be watchable. Which puts it streets ahead of any of the soporific Real Housewives franchises.

The most morbidly fascinating of the cast is one of the daughters, 24-year-old Whitney, whose body is increasingly covered in exceedingly tacky tattoos. The most noticeable are the pair of pink ribbon bows beneath her collarbones, but there's also the C-word tattooed in big, black, blocky letters on her foot, a weird crayon swirl on one shoulder, and the word ''mayhem'' in tall Gothic script across her midriff. It's surely one of the worst collections of ink ever accumulated by a woman of her socio-economic background and level of education (she's apparently a pre-med student), but probably nothing to do with her past as a child-pageant princess.

Whitney is dating a heavily tattooed body-piercer named Booger, who she ''met on the side of a highway''. Booger seems like a sensible guy - at least he thinks Whitney shouldn't get any new tatts for a while.

The other daughters are indistinguishable at first, being similar pitches of whining in similar shades of peroxide. The mothers, at least, distinguish themselves from each other by the degree to which they commit to talking about sex in the most cringe-inducing manner. Take DeAynni, her arms in bandages after having her ''bat wings'' taken off: ''After I do the legs, maybe a vajayjay reconstruct. That's the new thing.''

All class, all the time.

Big Rich Texas screens on Mondays on the Style channel at 9.30pm.

DailyStyle