Over the years, the "Real Housewives" franchise has been a guilty pleasure for Alicia Jacobs.
So when the local entertainment reporter joined the cast of a new reality show from the producers of the Orange County and Beverly Hills editions, she had an idea of what might be in store.
"The first thing I thought of was, oh my God, I don't wanna be on a show where it's crazy, hysterical women fighting with each other and acting a fool, so to speak," she says. "And I was assured that's not gonna be the case."
For all its talk of girl power and celebrating strong, independent, self-made women, "Sin City Rules" (10 p.m. Sunday, TLC) devotes much of its premiere episode to verbal grenades and catty cutaways.
Most of those involve Alicia - like the series, we're just going with first names here for clarity's sake - and Lana Fuchs, owner of Billionaire Mafia Enterprises, a clothing line, a record label and a concierge service.
The two of them get in more digs than an archaeologist.
Then there's TLC's promotional clip that highlights a particularly emotional moment for Amy Hanley, daughter of the late Mob hitman Tom Hanley.
When she senses a lunch at Firefly with fellow cast member and Rain Cosmetics owner Lori Montoya is turning into an ambush, the situation turns from cordial to a full-blown expletive storm in an instant.
It's the type of sudden ferocity rarely seen outside Animal Planet.
And when Amy finally watched it, one word kept going through her head: Wow.
"Absolutely, I didn't like seeing that," she reveals. "I don't like seeing that. I have three little boys at home.
"Some of it is uncomfortable, but, you know, I have to look at it and say, it's a TV show," she adds. "And the producers did an amazing job. And it's definitely a unique show."
That it is.
The format doesn't break much new ground. It's part "Housewives," part "Mob Wives," part every other entry in the sprawling "Wives" genre.
But "Sin City Rules" offers a look at a Las Vegas that few are privileged - if that's the right word - enough to see.
There's the glamour of Aid for Aids of Nevada's Black & White Party, which Lana attends with her "Lantourage": bodyguards the size of buildings, a half-dozen little people, and her sister Natalya, who's wearing little more than zebra-striped body paint.
And there's the luxe shooting party Lana throws in the middle of the desert, complete with air-conditioned tents, Four Seasons catering, buff shirtless dudes and enough firepower to make the ladies look like the Expenda-belles.
The cast members are also shown in their environments. Poker pro Jennifer Harman stops by Red Rock Resort long enough to walk off with five grand. Lori leads a glam photo shoot on top of a double-decker tour bus as the Strip glistens in the background. And Alicia goes antiquing with Louie Anderson.
But what sticks with you is the bubbling cauldron of negativity.
Lana can't seem to stop herself from calling Alicia a lizard because, she says, plastic surgery has left Alicia's face pulled back to extremes.
Amy gives Lana a toy lizard wearing a tiny blond wig and an "ALICIA" license plate, and the two laugh about how Alicia is so plastic, she'd melt in the sun.
But, at some point, Amy says she realized she'd had enough.
"In the very beginning, yes, I did play mean girls. I will absolutely own that," she admits. "I at least feel bad about that. I've apologized for that. I've apologized on camera. I've apologized to Alicia."
Lana, though, is unrepentant for those insults. (She also jokes about Alicia's age and claims that she sleeps with married men.)
"There is what I should do and then there's what I really want to do," Lana offers. "There's a big difference.
"I think that it's interesting to push buttons on people and see their reactions. ... It's almost like a game to me."
Alicia still seems bewildered by the onslaught.
"Usually when you hate somebody that much, there's a history," she says. "They've done something horrible to you, they've harmed your family or they've stolen from you. They've done something terrible. I don't know this woman. It just was so strange to me."
But while much of Sunday's "Sin City Rules" premiere is devoted to touting the Lana-versus-Alicia main event, there are other battles brewing on the undercard.
While filming later episodes, the relationship between Lori and Amy turned particularly nasty.
"The only person I really didn't have any connection with was Amy," Lori says, diplomatically.
But Lori wasn't even on the top of Amy's list. "My real big issue, I think you'll see as it goes on," she says, "is with Lana."
From the sound of things, you'd need one of Carrie's fantastically detailed bulletin boards from "Homeland" to keep track of all the feuds.
And that was an ideal environment for Jennifer.
If you've ever watched televised poker, you know she's accustomed to being surrounded by big personalities. She's also accustomed to reading them.
"In my field, I always have to be objective," she says. "I always have to keep my eyes open."
This much drama should keep viewers' eyes open, too.
"I'm not gonna lie," Alicia says, "there was definitely a great deal of unrest."
But most of the "Sin City Rules" cast treated it as a necessary evil.
"If they had all of my friends on the show, for example, it would all be great and everybody would get along," Lana says. "I don't think it would be as much fun."
Even Lori, the group's self-described peacemaker, feels the same. "I don't like the drama and everything. But you really wouldn't have much of a show if you didn't have drama, right? It would be pretty boring."
And at least one of the women wasn't fazed by any of it.
"This is an easy thing to do," Jennifer says. "Try playing poker. This is all fun and no stress."
Mostly she was just happy to be around other women for a change.
"It's really fun for me, because I'm in a man's world, and I'm surrounded by men" at the poker tables, she says. "So it was really refreshing to have strong females around me who I really enjoyed being with."
Before filming began, if the cast members knew each other at all, it was in passing. But now that they're all too familiar with one another, would they still spend time with each other if they weren't contractually obligated to do so?
"Hell no!" Alicia says, laughing.
On that, at least, she and Lana can agree. While calling some of the women "amazing," Lana says, "Several of the women are definitely not my cup of tea, by any stretch of the imagination, so there's no way I would ever spend time with them of my own free will."
Amy reveals that despite their rough beginning, she's forged a bond with Alicia. But as for willingly spending time with the others? "Probably not."
Lori, though, has nothing but good things to say about Jennifer, has plans to get together with Alicia and she spent Thanksgiving with Lana.
And Jennifer remains optimistic. "We've built some pretty solid relationships. I don't think it's going to stop because filming stops."
Regardless of the insults, the screaming matches and the junior-high-ness of it all, first and foremost, filming "Sin City Rules" was a job. And a lot of very long hours went into it.
"I think it's going to be a great show," Amy says. "I absolutely think it is.
"I know we have all probably said God knows what about each other. But at the end of the day, really what it comes down to is, we worked our butts off. We all put a lot into this.
"For some of us, it was more real than (for) the others."
Contact Christopher Lawrence at email@example.com or 702-380-4567.