The Kardashians are about to celebrate the seventh anniversary of their astoundingly durable reality-TV juggernaut. Keeping Up With the Kardashians has spent an entire season building up to the blockbuster Kim & Kanye wedding special – just weeks before the debut of Kourtney and Khloé Take the Hamptons. (You thought there was any as-yet-untaken-by-Kardashians turf? Not on American soil.) There isn’t another story in the annals of reality TV comparable to this one. So many empires have come and gone in the Kardashian era: The Hills, Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of Wherever. All those people, all those lives – where are they now? But the Kardashians are right here, where they’ve always been. Which is freaking everywhere.
The Kardashians are the last ladies standing in reality TV because they’ve simply always believed they were celebrities – endlessly amused with themselves, endlessly oblivious to one another. Their vanity is impervious to the outside world, which is how many of us often wish our own personal vanity worked. Their gargantuan egos, their petty jealousies, their catty feuds, the effort-vs.-eye-roll they put into reciting their lines, their commitment to frivolity at all costs – these are seductive qualities in a reality-TV star, however repugnant they might be in real life. Whatever it is you watch reality TV for, the Kardashians just have a lot more of it.
Occasionally, the sisters will meet and mate with a human male who will regard them with curiosity, lust, maybe even warmth, only to find their company irksome. The sisters are always surprised when this happens. Why? They just are. They do not learn, grow, mature, suffer, any of that HBO Sunday-night business. They do, however, take pole-dancing classes. And get mad when Mom crashes the pole-dancing classes.
It never ends. Just this summer, Kim’s video game blew up into the megagrossing airport-lobby time-waster of the year. Kim showed up with her new name and an open kimono at the VMAs, then the sisters got caught texting during the moment of silence for Ferguson. The big joke at the Emmys was Jimmy Fallon saying, “For all our success, we will never make as much money as Kim Kardashian did for that game app.”
The dramas in Kardashian World don’t change much. Kourtney is knocked up again. (She giggles, “Scott wants to kill himself!” Yes. He does.) Khloé mopes around the mansion in one of Lamar Odom’s old sweatsuits. Mom Kris, who has achieved empire-building like Joe Kennedy never dreamed of, wants to party with Rick Ross and Diddy. While having lunch with Kris, Khloé observes, “You guys are having a MILF-off,” while Kim notes, “My mom and I have always had this funny weird cute competition.” You don’t say.
You might loathe the Kardashians, and that’s more than understandable. But there are hardly any ex-fans of the Kardashians, because all they ever promised is what they keep delivering: a journey into the American ego at its most luridly monstrous, with lots of shopping. The ongoing Kardashian saga has turned into the rise and where-the-hell-is-that-fall of an American-family empire, bigger than U.S. Steel.