Keeping Up With The Kardashians
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Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Season 1

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There is an old saying that some people are born to fame, others achieve it, and there are those who have it thrust upon them. Now, we can add a fourth category; those who appear on a reality television series. Many can get their fifteen minutes of fame by being on a so-called reality show. This includes regular people, former celebrities and marginal celebrities. It used to be that you needed some modicum of talent or other special ability to become famous. Currently, it just takes a bunch of cameras following you around. One of the places was this is very evident is the ‘E! Entertainment’ cable network. They have based much of their programming in the reality arena. One of the most popular on that channel is ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians.’ The premise of this series is following the celebrity wannabe Kim Kardashian and her family as they go through their day. Unless you have been living under a rock for several years, you most likely have heard of Kim. As another ‘E Channel’ series repeatedly points out, she is well known for a famous father, a sex tape and a more than amble derriere. Her father was Robert Kardashian who was a member of the legal dream team that defended O.J. Simpson in his well-covered murder trial. Now she is a spokesmodel, socialite, and burgeoning actress. The premise of the series is expanded to include all of the current clan. This includes eldest daughter Kourtney, Khole, Robert Jr. and mom, Kris. She is currently married to Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner, and they have two daughters Kendall and the youngest of the brood, Kylie. They are far from being Ozzie and Harriet, but they are also not quite Sharon and Ozzie Osbourne either. This is not a typical American family. Well maybe for Beverly Hills but not in any neighborhood that any of us live in. While this series is more than insipid, it does have a few positive points; it is not as bad as the other reality shows especially the ones that force contestants to humiliate themselves for the promise of some quick cash or a potential relationship. The first season of the series is available on DVD through Lion’s Gate.

This is a family of wealth and privilege there is no doubt as to that as you watch the episodes. The older three girls and their mother own a high-end boutique called ‘DASH’ in Calabasas, California as well as a children’s store ‘Smooch’ down the block. Momma Kim also is one of the new breeds of ‘momagers,’ mother managers, mostly for Kim. Bruce earns an income as a motivational speaker. Rob is still going through college but as shown in one episode has flirted with being a professional male model. Bruce also has four adult children from a previous marriage. I married into a family with three daughters, and there is a lot here that rings very true at least how it pertains to the older three girls. There are the usual rivalry and pettiness that goes on, but the show does demonstrate that under it all this is a close-knit family. It may not be like any family we know, but it has its moments. Many may be entertained to watch as the rich and somewhat famous are plagued by a series of problems. Some are out of the realm of us ordinary folks like naked pictures or a semi-nude nanny, but others like sisters trying to get a date for their other sister or a pregnancy scare are identifiable to many.

The first episode starts with a catty moment as Kris tells the assembled daughters that Kim has some ‘junk in the trunk.’ Considering what Kim is best known for this is like saying the sky is blue. As they go through the initial introductions, Kim notes that they are the modern day Brady Bunch with a kick. In many ways, this is not far off since this is a blended family of sorts. This episode combines the familiar with the rich world strange. Kris and Bruce are planning a party to celebrate their wedding anniversary while Kim is preparing to appear on the Tyra Banks show. They are certain that Banks will bring up the infamous sex tape and the girls try to help Kim get ready for embarrassing questions. Kris had mixed feelings about the tape. As Kim’s mother, she wanted to kill her but as her manager is had a job of spin control to do. This conflict between manager and mother comes up often in this first season. In one episode Kim decides to fire Kris as her manager. Kris retaliates but redirecting her voice mail to Kim’s private cell phone and then takes a day at the spa out of reach. Kim naturally explodes with anger but Khloe and Kourtney can calm her down, and she comes to appreciate her mother’s job as a manager a bit more. Oddly this is like the traditional family sit-coms where a child acts out only to see the parent’s viewpoint in the end. We also get to meet some of the ancillary people in the Kardashian world like Scott Disick, Kourtney’s boyfriend.

At one point Bruce feels overwhelmed with his chores as a househusband. He would rather be out playing golf but his day, usually filled with things like taking the dogs to the vet or getting the youngest pair for their mani-pedi appointments. Kim decides to hire a nanny to help out. The agency sends over Bree, a buxom young blond who tries to be a friend to the young girls. She also has the habit of sunbathing topless at the pool and smoking; tossing the butts on the deck. When Khole gets a look at her she calls her mother telling her ‘a whore is at home with your children and topless in front of your husband. There is a little doubt as to how real this plotline was since the nanny was adult film actor Bree Olsen. In another episode, Kim has a photo spread for Playboy, and the discussion is about how much she will show. This is strange considering that thanks to the internet millions have already seen her naked. When Kourtney thinks she is pregnant, the whole family is in an uproar. When it proves to be a false alarm, they do what any family would; go to Los Vegas and get drunk. Unexpected things that happen in real life make it into the series such as when Khole, arrested for a DUI. The girls do try to help others in a fashion when they take in a homeless man and clean him up.

This series is entertaining and as mentioned better than the gameshow a variety of the reality genre. Lion’s Gate usually releases little Indy flicks but now they are branching out to series like this so if you so inclined it will make for a fun evening.

Posted 10/01/08                Posted   04/21/019

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