I get a lot of raised eyebrows each time I share any Kardashian-related information. For the most part, people don’t associate a triple degree holder, one foot firmly in academia scholar with the KarJenners in seriousness. I get it as well, when I dropped the bomb on my advisor about writing a Ph.D. on Kim Kardashian in 2016, she flipped. She told me to take some time off and think, as though I had lost my mind (which, to be fair, graduate school and dissertation writing are notorious for anyway).
What started as a joke (to me), turned into a full-blown culture studies phenomenon. I recall a conference being centered around KarJenners, celebrity, and reality TV culture (I missed the deadline to submit a pitch) and this is just in academia. Outside of our tiny bubble, the world was fully engrossed in watching Kim, momager Kris and Ye, taking the world by storm (actually Kylie took the world by Stormi but that’s a conversation for my gay friends and me). The Kardashians emerged as the biggest celebrity brand in the world with a net worth together that can make Jeff and Elon unionize with other billionaires to compete against the femme power of the sisters. Math isn’t my strongest strength and truth be told, any number of zeroes I add to their total net worth will not be accurate. The Kardashians and the Jenners are bigger than most of us.
Then why is it that someone sitting in their bedroom in India is hating so fervently on them? Do we hate them because they are fake? Do we dislike them for their notoriety? Do we hate them cause it’s intellectually cool? I won’t go down the road to speculate it for you, especially if all you know about them is through a second-hand source.
Outside of the numerous connotations, lawsuits, ridicule, and general disdain they attract, Kardashians and Jenners together have proven to the world that they are far more entertaining and interesting than all seasons of the Kapil Sharma show put together. I understand that may not be true for you/your family/your second stepbrother/whoever else but the Kapil Sharma Show is just as manufactured, if not more, like them. The jokes are dumb, the intent to create drama is real and despite all that’s wrong with them, the business empire is booming.
For a series that never streamed in India until recently, there was a lot of assumption about Keeping Up With The Kardashians. When they announced that they are sunsetting the project, most assumed that the KarJenners got the best out of their time and are going to continue with short format videos on socials etc. However, the new project on Hulu was conceived to keep in mind their change in branding and image on the internet. The Kardashians and the Jenners are no longer emojis and memes, they are a bigger force than any one of us can imagine. Hulu’s association with the KarJenners is more on point for them than for the network, for E! and their audience had long left the Kardashians to follow the drama on socials. This one is chic, polished and very painfully self-aware, kinda like an aspirational Netflix docu-series.
The Kardashians on Hulu features dramatic arcs around the individual lives of Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner as well as their dynamics with each other and their families. Unlike the predecessor KUWTK, Rob Kardashian and Caitlyn Jenner are not a part of this series, however, others are referred to and occasionally shot with including Kourtney’s current partner and musician boyfriend Travis Barker, Scott Disick who shares custody of his children with Kourtney, Tristan Thompson who is best known for being a serial womanizer and cheated a fair few times on his partner Khloe Kardashian, Corey Gamble (Kris’ boyfriend), and Kim’s (now) ex-husband Ye, formerly referred to as Kanye Omari West. Ye legally changed his name and all tabloids have a weird way of framing this information in literally every piece of news item written on and around him. If you haven’t quite followed, this write-up is shaped like a tabloid piece cause serious writing for a subject that commands being relaxed is just criminal. I am looking at you Guardian.
The pilot steered clear of repeat shots of information presented over and over again (circa KUWTK), however, the problem of the old news still persists. Shot in Sep-Oct (roughly), the episode has nothing new to offer in terms of the information, unless you’re living under a rock or are a visible KarJenner hater. In the case of the latter, I am proud of you for making this journey.
The pilot name drops Dave Chapelle, Pete Davidson, Amy Schumer (from what my 3:51 am brain can remember cause fuck research for this piece- this is what I do in my downtime). It also includes a lot of self-awareness and burns in the form of Kim talking about her sad face emoji and Khloe pointing out how Kim’s sex tape drama was the highlight of the first episode of KUWTK. New day, new beginnings, amirite?
I hope for the sake of KarJenners and the rest of us that Ye does not lose his cool as he watches the drama unfold in real-time. Honestly, watch the series for Kris Jenner being a cool mom, North West being one hundred percent Kanye West’s child and Travis Barker who never once starred in KUWTK despite being announced one hundred times that all of Kourtney’s friends told her to hook up with him atleast once. Mans wanted a film marathon and she wanted the man. Go Kourt, you need it for your brand to find happiness and for someone to treat you better than Scott Disick.
But seriously, watch the series for North West. I am all in for mini-Kanye.
The series is available for streaming on Disney+ in India. The episode drop is weekly.
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