The Kardashians: Can you keep up?

2010-09-17 13:19

When Kardashian family matriarch Kris Jenner was asked how long she thought the ­reality TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians would run she wryly replied: “Keeping up with the Kardashians season 24: Kendall gets married.”

The Kardashians are a wealthy Hollywood family consisting of “momager” (that’s mother and ­manager) Kris who is married to 1976 Olympics track and field champion Bruce Jenner.

The three Kardashian daughters, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney and son, Rob, come from Kris’s first ­marriage to Robert Kardashian.

He’s the lawyer who earned a good 15 minutes of fame after ­co-defending OJ Simpson in the now infamous murder trial of his wife. Robert died from cancer in 2003.

The Jenners have two daughters of their own, Kendall and Kylie who are 14 and 13 respectively and the epitome of demanding, ­door-slamming teenage brats.

Kim, by far the most famous of the sisters, rose through the fame ranks when a sex tape was ­released co-starring her then ­boyfriend singer Ray J.

This still doesn’t explain how the crazy, cool family landed their own highly successful reality TV show which is five seasons-strong.

Ryan Seacrest, the producer and DJ from LA’s ­KIISFM (which is also syndicated on Highveld Stereo) who was behind Girls of the ­Playboy Mansion, capitalised on the ­controversy of Kim’s adult tape.

The tape turned the raven-haired beauty into an overnight sensation and is surely one of the reasons why the show was launched.

The show has followed through on this premise of controversy and with each episode comes more “Oh my God” moments.

The Kardashian’s debuted on E! Entertainment in 2007 when TV audiences were mostly oblivious to the family.

It allowed cameras into the Kardashian home and followed the family’s every whim and move.

From Kim’s photo shoots, to the ­tumultuous relationship between Kourtney and boyfriend Scott ­Disick and Khloe – the potty mouthed sister who was arrested for driving under the influence last year.

The controversy extends to every aspect of the show, even in the way in which the children address their mother.

The words “f*ck” and “b*tch” feature in almost every ­sentence addressed to their mother.

Furthermore, the Kardashians have no qualms talking about their parents’ sex life.

And who could ­forget Khloe asking Rob’s now ­ex-girlfriend Adrienne if she would rather suck Rob’s balls or have anal sex in front of her conservative parents?

The trashy vouyeristic aspect cannot be ignored.

And SA’s conservative TV ­audiences seem to be lapping it up. According to Neo Merafi, publicist at DStv for E! ­Entertainment, the appeal of the show to South Africans stems from its ­non-pretentious nature.

“They are business-minded young women who can fend for ­themselves; many South African teens look up to them as their role ­models.

The appeal also comes from ‘sisters who always have each other’s back’. South African women relate to this.”
Kris’s overbearing nature is also a source of entertainment.

She has earned a reputation for meddling, while step-father Bruce takes a more laissez-faire approach to the antics of his children and ­stepchildren.

Whether Kourtney is ­making out on the couch right next to him with Scott, or Kim and Khloe are posing nude for various shoots, Bruce doesn’t ­often protest.

The reason the show seems to have worked better than flops like Pamela Anderson’s Girl on the Loose or Richard Denise’s It’s ­Complicated seems to be the ­relationship between mother and daughters
Andre Neveling, news editor of celebrity magazine, Heat, agrees: “The sisters all have extremely ­different personalities, but it works like a bomb when they’re in the same room ­together.

Viewers can relate to them and have a favourite. What makes mother Kris so ­interesting is that she’s a showbiz mom torn between the different personalities, and she often has to choose sides. Kris is incredibly motherly and a sensitive soul, which makes for great viewing.”

While the Kardashian women are beautiful thanks to their Armenian descent they are by no means ­perfect.

Khloe has body issues, Kourtney is the quintissential abused woman, Kim’s private life is in ­tatters while Kris battles with ­ageing.

The show has become so ­successful that it is the No.1 ranked reality series on the E! channel and Kim’s sisters have their own spin-off show: Kourtney and Khloe take Miami.

It further explores the ­relationship between Kourtney and ­Scott, the villain who has become a central point of the Kardashian household.

The relationship hits home for many women, as ­Kourtney yo-yos back and forth in her love life.

Neveling says: “It happens in ­every family that a sibling ends up dating someone the rest do not ­approve of.

“The fact that Scott has been around for so long and has even fathered a child with ­Kourtney, ­despite knowing how the family feel about him, makes it a family drama like no other.”

Although the Kardashians are wealthy, the women certainly have earned a reputation for working hard to ­carve their own careers.

The ­sisters own clothing stores, the mother manages their careers and they all earn a living from various business deals.

Viewers just can’t seem to get enough of the ­shopping sprees, designer handbags, shoes and the red-carpet ­lifestyle.

The title of the show could not have been more apt as this season fans will battle to “keep up” with Kendall and Kylie growing up as they take a more prominent role in the spotlight, including one ­helluva fight with the paparazzi.

As Bruce and Kris have their hands full with their youngest daughters, Kim is loving the single life and falls for an Australian body­­guard, believe it or not.

All this while dealing with a hectic ­outbreak after ­trying botox.

In the meantime Khloe is on a mission after discovering that her beloved momager, Kris is in fact a closet smoker. (The shame!)

The biggest question of all, is, will Kourtney stick it out with Scott?

That remains to be seen when she decides to sell her condo and move in with Khloe and Lamar.

Talk about three’s a crowd.

Can you keep up? Oh, we can’t wait!

» Keeping up with the Kardashians airs on Sunday on E! Entertainment at 10pm 

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