Why you're not watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians anymore
Here's where I pause to allow you to mutter your own justifications of the snort/scoff/because they don't DO anything! variety at the screen. Still, the fact remains: We used to watch (some of us secretly). Now we're not. And I'm not buying the explanations being floated across the Internet today; some theorize that Khloe and Lamar's recent struggles have hurt the numbers, others claim that fallout from Kim's marriage-divorce-baby cycle simply wore fans out. I say: not a chance. Negative press doesn't hurt the Kardashians. This empire was built on negative press.
The problem is, like many reality stars before them, the Kardashians have become many times more famous than their so-called docudrama. Unlike many such reality stars before them, they're able to docu their own drama in real time, 24/7, on a range of platforms that actually outnumbers the Kardashians themselves (most of us were just getting the hang of Facebook when the Laguna Beach kids blew up). Kourtney tweets. Khloe Instagrams. Kendall Instagram-vids. Kim gives the paparazzi her best angles. Kanye appears on Kris' talk show to discuss Kim and Nori. They put out a nearly constant flow of dispatches and visuals letting us know what they're up to-and lest I come off as playing too innocent here, publications like ours pick up and blast out that information.
We posted a pic of Kim's baby shower invitation all the way back in May. We've known since August that she got a gift from Katie Couric and sent it back. We've already shown you two pics of baby Nori. And we've had time to assess Kim's post-baby hair color and Parisian lipstick and cleavage. So why, unless you lost your remote or needed some background white noise while painting your nails, why would any of you tune in to watch last night's Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which just got around to showing the shower we barely remember at this point?
During this Keeping Up chapter, there have been more weeks where Kardashian developments dominated the news than weeks where they have not-so most of the season felt moot. And this is an important pop culture moment: It's the exact point at which the TV format that's come to dominate our airwaves and the celebrities the format created are colliding and rendering each other kind of obsolete. Reality shows can't succeed if we don't care about the people-but if we care about them too much, there's nothing left for their shows to tell us.
So the question is, what now? The show that made the Kardashians famous is now the least potent weapon in their arsenal: They have makeup lines, clothing lines, endorsements, movie cameos. But if Keeping Up goes by the wayside, they'll have to become good enough-they'll have to become great enough-at that other stuff to make sure we don't forget them even after we've forgotten their reality roots. Which, it appears, we already are.
Or, you know, I could be totally wrong. Maybe this season just had one Bruce/helicopter scene too many, and next year they'll bounce back stronger than ever. After all, this family's always got something up its silk puff-shoulder sleeves.
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