I grew up in Southern California, and somehow every town in that region is a five-hour drive from Las Vegas. That unfortunately means I have been there many, many times in my lifetime, and that I’ve watched it develop from a fading, seedy shithole into the world’s biggest high-end mall complex. Since I got old enough to tell my parents to fuck off when they tried to drag me to Las Vegas, I’ve only been there twice, once for an hour and once for three days, and I’m 99% sure I’ll never, ever set foot in the 702 area code again.
I hate Las Vegas for a lot of reasons: gambling is maybe the most assholish thing one can spend one’s time and money on, the place is a worldwide mecca for prostitution and sundry other forms of the exploitation of women, and the cultural environment is nothing but an arrogant celebration of wastefulness, materialism, and vapidity. Add to that a bunch of red-state dicks on vacation and a few thousand assholes from LA who feel like they need to head to Vegas for the weekend because they can’t get up to enough hedonism in one of the world’s most disgusting cities, and you’ve got what might be the most obnoxious party city in the world. Las Vegas is now the American Ibiza, and if you can think of something more embarrassing than that, I’ll buy you ten Jager bombs (Vegas style, baby!).
After a night last week that included about seven too many Whiskey Dick Stouts with Nate-thaniel, I found myself paralyzed on Davetavius’s couch staring at a horror show on the television that, due to the lack of a remote control, I was powerless to escape. That horror show was Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel on Tru TV. I’m not even sure what to call this show. It might be called a documentary, or maybe it’s a reality show. Fuck, I don’t know. I mean, what do you call a show that’s nothing but footage of people dancing in bathing suits spliced between interviews with the least interesting waitstaff on Earth?
Maybe I should back up a little and give y’all the background on the show. Apparently there’s a club on Sundays at the hotel pool at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, and that club is called Rehab. The pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and an upper level with cabanas, and the partying generally takes place in the pool, in the cabanas, and on every single surface that anyone can get enough of a toe grip on to do the Tootsee Roll. Rehab employs a large staff of Barbies with fake breasts who wander around in bikinis and sell $15 drinks and $250+ bottles to the male tribal-tattooed patrons that have already paid $50 to get in and to the lucky-ass ladies who only had to pay $30. The club opens at 10 AM and closes at or around dusk. It looks real cool, if your idea of cool is spending $600 on getting wrecked and getting a sunburn while listening to house music (yeah, house music, in 2009) with a bunch of date rapists and girls who have gone wild.
Tru TV decided to make a show about this club, and that show is Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel. One might wonder why no one has ever made a show about people getting fucked up around a pool before, and it does seem unbelievable, but I think I’ve figured it out: until recently, anyone who saw a show comprised of nothing but footage of women in bikinis and interviews with waiters about what kinds of tips they’d scored would say, “Hey, this show has no substance! It’s nothing but a transparent excuse to broadcast a bunch of footage of nearly-naked women. I feel cheated!” But now, television producers have surmised that they’ve gotten us so used to having our brains sucked out through our eyes by utterly inane bullshit that they can fob this off on us and we won’t say shit. I’m pretty sure we can expect to see the premier of Ow, My Balls! any day now.
The producers of Rehab Party at the Hard Rock Hotel clearly went out of their way to make sure that the show had almost no redeeming social value, but they totally failed. They’ve accidentally created a documentary illustrating the most serious social problems we face as Americans and citizens of the world. I’m serious, dude. You see, the environment at Rehab is such a pure distillation of our screwy values and priorities that it is very nearly a caricature. Let me explain.
At Rehab, everyone knows where they stand. There is a scale for men and a scale for women, and every man knows his position on the male scale by the position on the female scale of the women he can associate with. I’ll give everyone three guesses as to what is being measured on the male scale and the female scale. If you guessed intelligence and dancing ability, you’re wrong. Really, the club is an arena in which men compete to see who can throw away the most money and the women compete to prove they do more Pilates, waxing, and spray tanning than anyone else.
The people at the club fall into three distinct groups: the dudes with the cash to throw down on the cabanas, the women who are there to party and hook up with the dudes in the cabanas, and the rest of the dudes who are there to pick up on the chicks who aren’t hot enough for the cabana guys. Any geek off the street can pay the $50 cover and come in, but the badasses go for the cabanas, which carry a $200 food and beverage minimum, and the uber-badasses take it up a notch and go for bottle service, that gauche method of displaying one’s bourgeoisitude that only people in Las Vegas and New Jersey haven’t figured out is embarrassing yet. In the clips on the show in which the waitresses discuss their customers’ desires and behavior, they almost all take note of the fact that the men who are partying in these cabanas want to make sure everyone knows they’re wasting a shit-ton of cash, and the waitresses help them out in that endeavor by carrying bottles of Grey Goose and Patron (the two most obnoxiously Philistine-ish brands of alcohol there are) over their heads on their way to the cabanas. They can frequently be seen cloyingly complimenting their customers on their partying sensibilities, which encourages even more lewd wastefulness and whooping and hooting. The waitresses also help their customers out by wrangling women from among the crowd to party with the cabana dudes, telling hot chicks that they’ll be able to drink for free and be seen partying in the cabanas if they’d like to join a group of gentlemen who’ve expressed a desire to meet women, effectively turning Rehab into an ad hoc, unpaid hostess bar. But hey, who doesn’t want to party with a guy who can afford to buy a $2500 9-liter bottle of champagne that’ll get hot before anyone drinks it?
The only time any confusion arises within the hierarchy is when a D-list celebrity shows up. I mean, how do these chicks know who to shake their boobs at when you have a guy with a $9000 bar tab on the one hand, and somebody like David Faustino on the other?
So we have here the ultimate crystallization of modern gender roles in America: men’s worth is defined by how much money they have, and women’s worth is defined by how much of that money they can get those men to spend in the hopes of having a chance to see the few inches of flesh that the public doesn’t get to see. And here we get a clear picture of the kind of world we live in: a world in which moderate celebrity, inconsequential displays of insignificant wealth, and other such worthless status markers are the currency with which men rent and buy women who can think of nothing more exciting than simulating sex via dancing with a dickhead in swim trunks and a gold chain in hopes of being seen on TV.
Rehab is like a church at which people sacrifice their dignity to the gods of vanity, waste, empty celebrity, and nudity, and Las Vegas is the fucking holy land. If only these fools knew that Eurotrash have been doing this same shit for so long that even the parodies of it are old.
This show is a peek into the abyss, my friends. But it is really, really funny.
(Sorry to rip on your hometown like this, 702.)