It is a damning indictment on the character of the humans in Pig Royalty that the swine of the title emerge as the more appealing of the two species.
Had the Kardashians been born deep in the heart of Texas and grown up on a farm - yet maintained parents with a gift for alliteration - Pig Royalty is what you'd get.
Quite possibly, the producers of this show, made for Discovery+ and streaming on Foxtel, went in with modest plans to create a soothing porcine pastoral about the American dream of producing the best pork on four legs, only for these ambitions to be supercharged when they stumbled into this sororal honey hole of fake fingernails and cat-fighting.
Then again, maybe the producers swooped on the Lone Star state after hearing it was home to the biggest little family feud this side of the Hatfields and McCoys, and therefore dripping with the kind of subculture potential upon which this brand of reality TV has built its impenetrable fortress of guerrilla exploitation.
The latter scenario seems more likely because, as we're informed (not without a sense of dread) from the outset: "In the pig world, rumours do spread quickly".
Pig Royalty follows a couple of families immersed in the lucrative field of competitive pig showing.
Inculcated from birth with a perverse desire to collect trophies in the shape of giant belt buckles and saddled with the broken dreams of their parents, it's the young people we follow into the fetid indoor arenas with their squealing charges.
Turns out, there are many written and unwritten rules to follow if you're to make it big with pigs, among them age limits in some classes applied to those who actually show the animals at the unfeasibly large number of competitions scattered across the country each week.
This clause alone opens the door for, at the very least, show-parenting and, at worst, child abuse.
Before entering the ring, the kids, like the pigs, are scrubbed clean and dressed to the nines (it helps to be draped in some form of nationalistic costume) then trot around in circles waving a cane as they attempt to lock eyes with the judges - some of whom, as intimated in Pig Royalty, are not immune to corruption.
Inevitably, there is passive-aggressive bullying from the sidelines ("This is, like, the worst I ever seen you show, dude"), tears, tantrums, mental disintegration and blood (pudding) vows for revenge before everyone packs up the pick-ups and heads home before doing it all again next weekend.
When it comes to showing pigs, the human participants are never allowed to get too long in the tooth, the cut-off giving rise to a weird breed of early-peaked retirees who spend their late teens and 20s wallowing about in their long-gone glory days, as if washed-up high school football stars and cheerleaders (a Texan demographic in its own right).
This is most evident and most disturbing among the Balero sisters (McKayla, McKenzie and McCall), an especially unpleasant trio whose disdain for their former competitors is only surpassed by their seething hatred for each other. The girls have their leopard-printed mother, Michelle, to blame for, well, everything and all four are now turning their attention to the acquisition of more buckles through cousin "Nugget"; a boy-child, no less, who looks, well, like a nugget.
For every Capulet, there must be a Montague, the opposing family in Pig Royalty being the Rihn clan; a little less well-off, a little less blingy than the Baleros, yet no less ambitious. The Rihns happily admit, in the Texan caste system, they hover somewhere above white trash yet somewhere below the Baleros.
Perhaps it's this self-actuated underdog status which makes the Rihns far more palatable than their opposition but, then again, the Mansons look good compared with "Helotes Rhinestone Cowgirls".
Not harming the Rihns' claim to our sympathy is they're also the kind of family which takes in foreign exchange students and joining them in season one is quick-learner Manuel (he's from Madrid, not Barcelona).
Although Manuel's only experience with jamon has been what he's found on a tapas platter, he's determined to please his hosts and we find ourselves brimming with pride when all his training produces results.
Given, however, the Rihns' stated desire to climb the hog heap and make some real dough, it's entirely possible they're just using the whole exchange student racket to procure cheap foreign labour for the farm.
The real unsung heroes amid all this are the pigs themselves.
The animals go through all this man-made degradation with an ineffable charisma, reminding us why we fell so hard for Wilbur in Charlotte's Web and also reminding us about those silken lessons the eponymous arachnid left in the Arable's barn.
But E.B. White's classic was set in Maine, not Texas, where, Lord, it's hard to be "HUMBLE".
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