A year after ending their TV show on an American cable channel, the Kardashians are back with a brand new show, which takes up the winning formula of the previous one.
They barely had time to miss us. Just one year after ending the reality show that made them world stars, the women of the Kardashian tribe are packing their Louis Vuitton suitcases at Disney+. The streaming platform is launching their brand new program this Thursday, soberly titled The Kardashianswhich takes up the winning recipe of their previous show: intra-family bun crepes, luxurious lifestyles bordering on indecency, a good dose of shamelessness and situations so outrageous that they become hilarious.
Nobody really believed it when the sisters Kim, Khloé and Kourtney, their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie as well as the matriarch Kris announced, in 2020, to stop reality TV. Keeping up with the Kardashians, flagship of the American cable channel E! Entertainment, bowed out last year after 14 years on the air as it transformed these well-born young Californians into American entertainment heavyweights.
With The Kardashians, fans are entitled to a double ration thanks to episodes now lasting an hour. And they find the clan where they left it: today (almost) all mothers, they juggle between children, love galleys and ultra-lucrative activities of businesswomen. From cosmetics brands to clothing lines, including lingerie, the Kardashians are today at the head of an empire estimated at more than 5 billion dollars.
The return of the sex tape
This is the big (the only?) difference between The Kardashians and the show that preceded it: In 2007, the year of the first episode, the Kardashian sisters were young girls barely known to the general public. They had just emerged from the shadows after the “flight” of the sextape of Kim, then a jet-setter among others. A stroke of brilliance which had given the starlet a double-edged notoriety: adored by some, she had also become the symbol of a sick star-system, which raises the rank of an anonymous icon devoid of talent but who dares expose themselves.
Things have changed a lot: today, Kim Kardashian weighs more than a billion on her own, she has made a name for herself in the very elitist world of fashion, she multiplies her political speeches and has even had access to the Oval Office to discuss prison reform under the presidency of Donald Trump. So when the famous intimate video comes back to haunt her from the first minutes of kardashians, this compromising document acts as a symbol of the path taken. A thousand miles from the young scatterbrain described by the tabloids in her early days, Kim Kardashian can now grab her iPhone to call Marty Singer, the lawyer that the stars are snapping up, and instructing him to settle the case.
“I have all the time, all the money and all the resources necessary to annihilate them,” she says.
Mothers like the others
The stratospheric fortunes of the Kardashians offer the program some of its funniest moments: the billionaires are caught between their lifestyle and the need to put themselves (a little) on the level of the viewers.
The color is announced from the first sequence, which presents the women of the siblings in their respective splendid residences. All this little world activates to meet at Kim, who receives around a “barbecue”. Forget merguez sausages and grilled prawns. In Kardashian language, the barbecue is a splendid all-you-can-eat buffet cooked by a caterer. The hostess takes advantage of a moment of calm during the preparations – the staff takes care of everything – to explain to the cameraman that she leads the life of a mother like the others:
“I cleaned the playroom today, and this kind of thing gets me…hard. Just tidying up the playroom. I’m crazy! Any mom will understand this: if the playroom is tidied up, I sleep well at night.”
Any mom with a playroom will no doubt agree with this statement. A few moments later, it is in a procession of Rolls Royce – the cameras do not miss a single logo that crosses their lens – that a tsunami of brown hair, sunglasses and manicured nails emerges. The Kardashians are ready to eat!
Hard work and controversy
Before sitting down to eat, Kris Jenner momager – understand: mother and manager of the whole tribe – goes to the confessional to dwell on the financial success of her offspring. She embarks on an endless list of the businesses launched by her five daughters, a proud smile on her lips – remember that she receives 10% of the income received by all her children – interspersed with shots of her own routine.
From the height of his 66 years, Kris Jenner gets up every day at 4 a.m. to do his daily exercises, in the gym installed at his home. On her treadmill, her eyes barely open, she makes her first business calls of the day: “How come no one picks up at 7 o’clock? It’s almost lunchtime!”
If money has always been an integral part of the Kardashian galaxy, it comes with The Kardashians a moralizing subtext: the clan assumes to pose as an example of American success, made of hard work and justly harvested laurels. A risky posture, as the Kardashians learned the hard way just two months ago. In early March, Kim Kardashian sparked controversy by indulging in an entrepreneurship lesson in an interview for variety:
“I have the best advice for women entrepreneurs: move your f*** ass and work” she had dropped. “It seems like no one wants to work anymore.”
This observation, made by a woman from the Californian upper class, had earned her a torrent of criticism on social networks. It visibly announced the content of the new program.
Divorces, pregnancies and tensions
Whether caught on camera or not, the Kardashians’ private life is still known to the general public. Generally, they avoid any official comment, reserving the scoop of their reaction to the viewers of their show. Like Keeping up with the Kardashians before her, The Kardashians delivers on the promise of connecting what the public perceives through tabloids with what’s really going on, seen from the inside.
Thus, no subject is silenced: Kim Kardashian’s divorce from rapper Kanye West, Kylie Jenner’s second pregnancy, the tense relationship between Kourtney and the father of her three children… Everything that stirred the media without that the stars do not speak is now within the reach of all those who are interested in it.
Humor (and vulgarity) as a standard
If the Kardashians have managed to charm the general public, it is partly thanks to their spontaneity and the ultra-daring humor that they allow themselves, in an always conservative American television landscape. And this first episode proves that they have lost nothing of this franchise, which offers sequences of hilarious absurdity.
When Kourtney opens up about her new romance with famed drummer Travis Barker, it’s to marvel at the “unique” way he speaks to his daughter Penelope. A second later, the 9-year-old asks her stepfather why he is tapping her mother’s legs. Answer: “I do drums on it”. “On his butt?” asks the child. “That’s where it would make the most noise,” replies the musician. The family burst out laughing.
Same thing when Kim, on the phone with her lawyer, tries to prevent the dissemination of new extracts from her intimate video. Although she is on the verge of a new sex scandal, nothing seems to shake her lightness: “I am 99% sure that they have no extract”, she assures her council. Before adding to the address of his sisters: “Unless someone put a g *** in my ass while I was sleeping!”. “We dare hope that would have woken you up,” Khloé whispers. Kourtney, obviously used to it, doesn’t even look up from her cell phone. The lawyer is still on loudspeaker.
The adventure goes on
The Kardashian detractors like their fans will have no reason to change their minds after watching the kardashians. And fans of this guilty pleasure par excellence have not finished seeing the clan on their small screen.
The Kardashian sisters came up with all sorts of reasons for their decision to make the switch to streaming. The longer episodes, the authenticity better respected, their desire to leave the cable … But this move did not happen without a nice added value, the exact amount of which has not been revealed. The very knowledgeable variety evokes “a nine-figure salary”. Enough to predict new television adventures for years to come.