I hate reality shows. But I love The Kardashians. Explain? I'll try....
1. Scott Disick, who I really didn't like for many seasons, has worn me down with his relentless good cheer and bounce back spirit. He forgives quickly and totally, often tries to please Kourtney with ridiculous measures ( like dressing as a sexy handyman and coming on to her while pretending to fix something outside their house ), seems to be a loved and loving friend ( based on the same friends that show up for him in the background, season after season, and his relationship with Robert Kardashian ) and in general has a relaxed, sweet temperment. He reminds me of what biographers or novelists refer to as 'silly knights' from long ago: jovial, charming, self absorbed but still loyal, shallow but caring, silly and self indulgent and humorous, enjoying life and steering clear of 'real battle'- even his small, pale stature and dandy nature ( wears pink and is fastidious dresser ) fit the bill. Whatever his faults are in his relationship, and much of that goes on behind the scenes and is only hinted at, he clearly adores Kourtney and despite her clear emotional and physical distancing (they haven't slept in the same bed/room for two years, she won't marry him, etc.) he continues to try to be close. His struggles with alcohol and lack of follow through were much more injurious to his 'image' (or 'brand' as the blogging world would call it) before he dove into a year of weekly therapy to save his relationship with Kourtney, and made one step forward, one step back progress- but the serious nature of this kind of work has lent him just enough vulnerability and depth to become loveable.
2. Oh the floor rolling! Outside of my own family, I had never seen such a bunch of floor rollers. I thought we were the only ones who regularly jumped on one another, wrestled, tickled and honked and grabbed until we ended up collapsed on the floor, either giggling hysterically or someone pissed off by an accidental jab to the rib or elbow in the nose. I find it endearing to watch Kardashians do this, just as I love that my own family does.
3. The texting. I don't have any explanation or excuse, but Kardashian women make texting look like a natural extension of being a Kardashian and I like to watch them, heads bent over, dark hair spilling, eyes vacant, scrolling and texting. Ahhhhh.
4. Dark long thick shiny hair, dark eyes made up, miles of dark skin lasered, spray tanned, scrubbed, moisturized and spray based into mocha latte perfection, glistening lips with immaculate borders, crisp color shocks of nails, all lined up in a row. The similarity of coloring and unification of look between all the sisters is mesmerizing.
5. The pack mentality. They spend a lot of time together. Modern families are often split up on purpose ( don't get along, serious rifts ) or accidentally ( moved and can't afford frequent visits ) and it's very rare to see an entire extended family remaining physically and emotionally involved the way the Kardashians are, and it is extremely important to the success of the show. Like them or hate them, they have each other's backs, they play and work and vacation together, and they make time for each other. I love that and it's the kind of larger ( while I only have four children to their six, and that isn't including Bruce Jenner's children from a first marriage ) family life I hope we continue to have.
6. They work. While not possessing any particular talents I cannot understand people who say they don't work. So no, they are not doing manual labor in fields, nor on their feet all day seven days a week no paid vacations, but regardless, they are working, and while it is mostly the 'fun' kind of work, they. do. it. This counts! How many reality shows have come and gone with no other benefits to those involved than perhaps decreased stature and brief infamy? SO MANY. The reason they are so successful is because of the enormous focus and effort they have collectively put into making it so. You hear and see a lot of drama about their personal lives but no such thing about their professional lives, the behind the scenes. The Kardashians are making a financial empire and the word 'making' is important here. They get where they need to be, on time, with a good attitude, expecting and willing to do what they agreed to do, working overtime if necessary, and being, by all accounts, kind and friendly while doing it. They run a clothing store line. That alone is WORK. This counts! They run a fashion line. This counts! They stay on top of all media and social networking and brand image and as anyone in our blogging community knows, this is work and- This counts! They make deals and start and end shows. This counts!
7. They don't all talk in this SUPER URGENT AND IMPORTANT AND HIGHLY STYLIzED voice. I've watched Real Housewives, for instance, and those women talk like a jackhammer. By 'those women' I"m talking about Atlanta, New York, Orange County, you name it. Almost all of them speak aggressively and quickly and manage to make even baking cookies sound bitchy. The Kardashians ( mainly Kourtney and Kim ) have been critisized for sounding vacant, but I think they just sound normal, just like if someone was watching me all the time they might think I look pissed, and I'd say ' Hey, I have bitch face! Not my fault! I'm almost middle aged! '
8. Kourtney and Chloe. Without them, the show gets much less interesting. Kourtney is interesting to me because when I watch her I don't see someone without much to say, I see someone who for various reasons ( like her deep resentment of her mothers open affair (inviting the man over to pool parties while her husband was gone and the kids were there) and the divorce that followed, her fathers hasty death from cancer and her history with Scott's drinking and behavior ) has shut down emotionally in many ways, and who is channeling all her emotional energy into her child (now children.) This is a story I've seen at times in not only my own life, but other mothers I've known: deeply relatable. I also think it's interesting and commendable that a person so in the public eye has, despite being mocked by the public and her family at times, been essentially an attached mother. She extended nursed, co-sleeps and baby carries and is focused on organic, natural nutrition. Khloe has really grown up on camera, and her attempts to remain strong and self-loving in the face of disgusting criticism for her weight from the media and her own mother are completely endearing. She has a deeply loving relationship with her husband and does an incredible amount of charity work behind the scenes, largely for ill children. She's also really funny and often has insightful points about the relationship dynamic of people around her, and has become warmer and more supportive every year of the show.
9. The length of the show, and the fact that they are a family, means that we as viewers get to see some of the actual growing pains people go through, changes and evolutions (or devolutions) Every now and then a relationship dynamic is illuminated in a different way that reminds you of the complexity of relationships between human beings, even ones with lots of money and few problems. A recent episode worked a running theme of the show: that 'Kris is mean to Bruce', her husband, the doting and quiet guy with all the jokes about his balls being cut off. In the course of the show we see a few revealing comments and actions. Made up or not, it's interesting anyway. When Kris comments that Bruce seems easy going because he chooses to spend most of his time engaging in solitary hobbies and pursuits, we can all relate to that feeling of being frustrated that no one seems to see a side to a person that we do. For viewers like me who have watched since the first aired episode, you can see which people grow and in what ways, which are still struggling with the same old problems, the whole shebang, and that, to me, is good reality television.