Say what you will about reality shows, and I've said plenty -- even before some rocket scientist let a maniac with an assault conviction, reportedly involving his then-girlfriend, onto a dating show a few months before he'd be charged with murdering the very next woman he'd get involved with. (I'm no great fan of the show's star, Megan Hauserman, but that seems a bit lax.)
Some reality shows, though, transport me to places I'll never go. Crab fishing in the Bering Sea. Driving a big rig over frozen Canadian lakes. Partying at the Hard Rock Hotel's sun-drenched Bacchanalia known as Rehab.
I have nothing against the weekly Sunday pool party. It's genius, really. It's just that I don't do well in crowds. Especially grinding, writhing crowds dripping with sweat, baby oil and God knows what else.
Honestly, Michael Jackson's doctor couldn't get his hands on enough Xanax to put me at ease there. Rehab: Sun City would be closer to my speed.
But I can see all the drunken, screaming highlights thanks to "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" (10 p.m. Tuesday, truTV).
I missed most of the first season. But then truTV aired a Memorial Day marathon, and I couldn't tear myself away. Hours went by -- hours that I could have spent enjoying my own pool -- as I sat transfixed, watching thousands of hardbody-types, wedged Christian Audigier-clad shoulder to tattooed shoulder, mugging for the cameras and shouting variations of "Vegas, baby!" "Rehab!" and "Woooo!"
That's not to say there wasn't variety. There were drunk chicks in bikinis yelling at each other, drunk chicks in bikinis being forcibly removed while flailing and biting the whole way, and drunk chicks in bikinis being wheeled out on a stretcher.
The whole thing was fascinating, in a nature documentary sort of way.
At the center of it all was the hustling, get-this-party-started cocktail server Julia Velotas, smacking bottoms, dancing with customers in the cabanas she covered and unleashing her secret weapon, Code name: The Booby Shake. It's, well, actually it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
"I'm a really goofy girl, and I have a lot of fun with my cabanas," says Velotas, who's back for season two. "I just bring out the craziness in them."
Rehab may be one of the biggest parties on the planet, but it's not all fun and games, at least not for the people who work there. Matthew Minichino, the hotel's new director of night life operations, says 10 to 12 camera crews cover the pool, 9 a.m. till about 7 p.m., every Sunday.
"It does interfere with your job," he admits. "It's the busiest pool party in the world, and now I have to deal with a camera crew following me around all day."
But while he insists he's happy to participate, given all the attention it brings the hotel, filming in the middle of a perpetual spring break presents its own obstacles.
"I end up losing them half the time," Minichino says of his assigned crew. "It's just such a mob. You know, you're basically weaving a camera crew and a mic guy in and out of 4,000 people through a 75,000-square-foot pool."
As the series already was in production, joining the "Rehab" cast was part of Minichino's job description. But Velotas still isn't entirely sure how she became one of only two servers featured in the series.
"I think it's because I actually have real boobs, and nobody nowadays has real boobs," she says. "And so they wanted someone who was unique, and that's my unique characteristic."
She later says she's kidding. But not about her breasts. "No, I mean they are real," she quickly adds. "I'm being serious."
While Minichino eventually grew used to the cameras, he isn't thrilled with the idea of seeing himself on TV. "I plan on turning my phone off and turning my TV off and not answering my phone for a week," he says. "I figure I'll look for the reruns."
Velotas, though, says she missed most of the first season -- she didn't have cable until this year -- "so I'm pretty excited to actually see how it all goes down."
But based on what she was able to see, she has no problems with the way she was portrayed. Even the, uh, Booby Shake.
"I think that one of my blessed assets are my real breasts, so the booby shaking from last year is no problem," she says. "I think it's funny.
"But I did have to spice it up this year. I do something else, so (you'll) have to watch the show to find out what it is."
Consider yourselves warned.
Christopher Lawrence's Life on the Couch column appears on Sundays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.