Boob Tube: Kardashian Konversation
As the seventh season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians is starting to come to a close (only 3 episode left), I really think it is time for me to talk about the notorious E! family.
I love the Kardashians. Before you decide that the mere fact of me admitting to that is enough to delegitimize everything I have ever and will ever say about television, hear me out.
The word Kardashian has become a buzzword for everything we feel is wrong with modern culture: materialism, fame obsession, selfishness, etc. Bloggers and tweeters everywhere drop the Kardashian name as a cheap punch line to draw emphasis to something they want to name as negative.
There are these classic Kim Kardashian jokes from well-known Kardashian hater Jenny Johnson:
And then a slew of post-Kris-Humphries-divorce tweets, starting with my favourite from @bookgirl69:
The Kim Kardashian definition of ‘forever’ is ‘when the check is cashed.’
Even TIME magazine chimed in on that one.
Using the Kardashian name in this derisive way is just a cop out though. It is a way of “othering” the problems we see in the world, rather than dealing with them. When we make a Kardashian joke about self-centeredness, materialism, fame chasing, or whatever else, we are telling the world that we don’t condone that thing, instead of doing what would be much harder and looking inside of ourselves at the ways in which we contribute to that thing.
If someone is using a joke about the Kardashians being fame-obsessed as a way to increase the popularity of their own twitter account, isn’t that the same thing?
Everyone loves to criticize Kim Kardashian for is being “talentless.” The truth is, Kim doesn’t possess any of the ‘talents’ that we traditionally associate with fame; she is not an athlete, a musician, or even an actress. But then, she has succeeded at the one thing that pretty much everyone with multiple social media accounts (so, everyone) is trying to do; she has made a name for herself.
She has also found a way, despite being “talentless,” to make the most amount of money while doing the least amount of work. Are there really any among us who can say we wouldn’t want that talent?
More than that though, KUWTK is just damn good television.
Maybe I am eye-balls deep in my own pretend psychoanalytic bullshit, but I really think that KUWTK is a fascinating study in human psychology.
These are young adults who suffered the loss of a parent at a young age. Add to that he was one of the most notorious men in America, and that is some serious childhood trauma. Try watching an episode now without seeing how everything this family does wreaks of all that past trauma.
Then there is the psychology of ego, fame, sibling rivalry, competition, dysfunctional familial attachments, parental affairs, obsession with the past (Bruce Jenner, anyone?), blended-family dynamics…
It’s almost too good to be true for a psyche obsessed writer-freak like me.
And, if all that isn’t enough, it is still some of the purest comedy out there in reality television.