Why Keeping Up With the Kardashians is So Popular
I was totally ready to hate the E! channel's "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."
First, as an amateur expert on the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, I watched the late attorney Robert Kardashian sitting at the murderer's defense table throughout the trial. I assumed he was either an idiot or an asshole being such tight friends with that cowardly bastard.
Two things exonerated Robert Kardashian for me.
First, his stunned reaction to the not-guilty verdict signaled the beginning of the end for their friendship. It was obvious that Kardashian knew he was guilty and was horrified by the verdict. He did not attend the civil trial, where Simpson was found responsible for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman's murders and ordered to pay both victims' families millions of dollars.
Then I found out that Kardashian was secretly feeding my favorite writer, the late Dominick Dunne, lots of unflattering dish about the post-trial Simpson's sordid afterlife.
When he died, I felt a little sad.
Anyway, while channel surfing one night when there was absolutely nothing else on, I stumbled across "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and decided to watch it, much like reluctantly craning my neck as I pass by a car wreck on the freeway.
It seemed to me at first that the show's cast had all the components of a loathsome family: an aging Olympian stepfather with a bad face lift (Bruce Jenner), a wicked mother (Kris Jenner, who gave birth to four kids with Robert Kardashian), and their kids-- the Kardashian sisters, Robert Junior and two young teen girls who Jenner fathered.
The show focuses at first glimpse on their "lifestyle"--the cash, the flash, the unearned celebrity and the general life of leisure superficiality common to celebrity TV families.
But after getting a little hooked, I was shocked to realize some very positive things about these people.
First, they are all very affectionate with one another, and you can tell they were reared to be gentle and kind hearted.
They are also hard working kids,
Daughters Kourtney and Khloe own a very successful boutique chain called DASH, where they both work as shopkeepers. Kim Kardashian "acts," does some modeling and is launching a perfume line. And God help me, after the revulsion wore off, I realized she's actually quite beautiful.
The drama comes in with their romantic lives and the family's reaction to them. Boundaries are not very strong with this bunch.
The eldest daughter Kourtney just gave birth to her boyfriend Scott's baby. Scott is an immature, arrogant, unemployed, squeaky-voiced pretty boy who the rest of the family can't stand because he's such a lazy bum.
Kim is the middle child, and she has issues about exaggerating, lying, and her on and off again boyfriend, NFL player Reggie Bush. They have recently reconciled, but she was credibly inconsolable while they were apart. Her depression was almost endearing to watch.
Khloe at age 25 is spoiled, petulant and makes no bones about hating Scott, her sister's baby daddy.
She was there when they first broke up, and she's hated Scott ever since.
She recently married L.A. Lakers Lamar Odom after just one month of dating, but away-games for the Lakers give her plenty of time to meddle in her family's business.
Turns out Lamar Odom is a real sentimental giant who lost his mother at age 12, so he's very pleased to be part of this nutty bunch. He and Khloe are very hot for each other, and it's amusing to watch. Like them, he seems like a very sweet guy. His wife needs to grow up and deal with her aggression, though.
Baby Brother Rob, 22, is lovesick after losing his girlfriend Adrian because he cheated on her. He's a model for Dolce and Gabbana, but he's actually very kind and tender with his family and friends. His cheating ran off the love of his life, and his sadness and guilt are palpable.
I think the show has huge ratings because there's so much subtext once one wades through the veneer of superficiality. It was shocking to find all of them so damn likable.
Except for bratty Khloe, they're all very kind, even when they're angry with each other.
Scott the bum/baby daddy has no job so he hangs out by the Jenner's pool sunning himself while he asks the young Jenner daughters to fetch him beers.
If I were Bruce Jenner, I'd wring the little jerk's neck. Instead, Jenner sat the kid down and calmly explained the importance of supporting Kourtney while she's pregnant. The kid bought it and started helping out in planning for the baby (she recently delivered a baby boy).
I think Jenner is interesting because he seems to be extremely low on testosterone. He looks like a lesbian golf pro for starters, and his wife Kris totally wears the pants in the family. He works as a motivational speaker, a common vocation for an ex-Olympic gold medal winner, but at home he's Casper Milqetoast.
The shocking thing about "Keeping Up With the the Kardashians" was how my initial negative reaction has changed into a fairly sincere interest in these nutty people.
Of all the abysmal, quasi-celebrity family reality shows, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" is arguably the classiest one of the bunch.
Try as I might, I just can't dislike these people.
Except for Scott...he's a total douchebag.
I know it must be horrifying to read a peppy review of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" on my often-cynical blog. But they won me over somehow and I make no apologies.
Do any of you watch it? What's your take on it?