OPINION: Has The Kardashians merely been a glossy revamp of Keeping Up With the Kardashians?
As The Kardashians wrapped up with its first season, here's a look at what the show did differently compared to the family's previous reality show.
Kim Kardashian and her siblings are no more known as reality TV stars today. Owning multiple businesses of their own that range across beauty, apparel and health and wellness sectors, the Kardashian-Jenner family is one of the entertainment industry's most influential ones today. When Keeping Up With the Kardashians first started, the family was still trying to find their feet into the world of showbiz but today, they are their own brand and one of the biggest signs of that is their move from network television to a streaming platform for their reality show.
When The Kardashians was initially announced fans were left with several questions, particularly as to why the family members decided to allow cameras into their life again after wrapping up 20 seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. A major change for the family members while coming on board for The Kardashians was that they were now the executive producers themselves and with a content partner like Hulu, they received a sense of autonomy on the kind of content they would like to present to the viewers. It's the call on when to put the camera's away that mattered and was a gamechanger for them.
With the first season of the show consisting of ten episodes successfully released, one of most obvious changes for the family has been the increased budgets which resulted in the show getting fancy drone shots, slow-mo graphics, and the inclusion of more tasteful musical additions into the show. The Kardashians is glossy in every way and supposedly complements more to the changed lifestyles of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, Kylie and their mother Kris Jenner. With their swanky new homes stacked with pantries full of stuff that may expire sitting on the shelves itself, the sleek camerawork for The Kardashians has been a massive promotion that came from the Hulu deal.
To document someone's life though, it needs to have the kind of fodder that makes for suitable viewing content and one can blindfoldedly trust the Kardashians to churn out drama like that. From Kim Kardashian's new romance with Pete Davidson to Tristan Thompson's paternity scandal and Kourtney Kardashian's engagement to Travis Barker, everything gets documented in the new show that's similar to KUWTK except for the transition shots that sell us the idea of the fabulous Calabasas life with capitalism at its beating heart. So, while Kim advises women, "Get your f------ ass up and work" (in her Variety interview), on the show, her momager Kris proudly chants "Fake it, till you make it" while referring to an Emmy Award trophy that sits in her office in all its shining glory which she proudly reveals was bought by Kim from an auction for her.
What The Kardashians does succeed at though I'll admit is showcasing how the Kardashian siblings are prepared to change the industry's attitudes about ageing women. All across the ten episodes, we hear Kim discuss how her life has changed for the better in her 40s and that she feels more confident about being herself at this point in her life. She celebrates being chosen to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated at this point in her life. This also reflects in the way Kim speaks about her new relationship and other details in her confessionals which as per the show's format are more documentary style, giving the illusion of the viewers getting more organic exchanges from the members. The sisters do seem to have a come long way in changing their ways of people-pleasing and putting themselves first more often now and hence when Kourtney calls out the editors of her new show for not focussing on her engagement to Travis Barker and rather throwing the spotlight on a discussion about her ex Scott Disick's feelings, it's a valid issue to raise. I couldn't help but appreciate her stand of "Let's just not hate on a girl who finally knows what she deserves."
The thing that I truly believe about The Kardashians or for that matter also stuck by when it came to watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians is that, as long as you're not watching the show to take away any serious life lessons, you're okay to binge on as many seasons as you want. Considering The Kardashians as simply a celebrity entertainment vehicle that is used by America's most influential family to further their nett worth and promote their businesses or birth ideas for new businesses would be a more rational stand to have. Is their return to streaming better than the TV run? There are some pluses and minuses but what we can agree on is that the revamped version serves our eyes better. Whether the title mentions it or now, we are still very much "Keeping up" with The Kardashians.