Saturday, October 24, 2015

Keeping up

Two Friday nights a month, when the kids are with their dad, I settle in for a quiet night of "emotional eating" and bad TV.

These are carefully planned events: Like Mardis Gras or a controlled burn, they take place within set parameters so they don't wreck everything in sight.

Sometimes it's sushi, a small cheesecake, and the entire first season of Girls (which, in fairness, is great TV). Sometimes it's tikki masala and eight slobs' worth of What Not to Wear.

Last night (Goldfish crackers and Keeping Up with the Kardashians) represented some kind of peak. I never thought I was the target audience for KUWTK, but not only did I like the show, I liked the Kardashian/Jenner clan as people.

Rather, I liked them as a family, whose members were always dropping by each other's houses (read: mansions) and confronting each other -- through steely, heavily-mascaraed gazes -- about minor upsets. Not for the Kardashians the indifferent shrug or the tactful silence, the thin-lipped retreat to another part of the mansion, or a different mansion. Instead, they were always "up in each other's business."

While a typical, repressed family would make for dull TV, the Kardashians -- alive to the dramatic possibilities of daily life -- were constantly tossing their long, black hair and having it out.

Although they all looked alike and had "K" names, the sisters' personalities were distinct. Kim -- whose surgical enhancements gave her an over-the-top, drag queen quality -- was a know-it-all and busybody, goading her sisters to divorce their husbands while maintaining a prim silence about her own marriage to Kanye West.

Kourtney was the dim bulb sister who got by on her looks. She was married to a fool who, occasionally -- in fits of manic energy or drunkenness -- got in a good one-liner about another member of the family.

Khloe was the feisty one with a heart of gold. She continued to love her estranged and troubled husband, Lamar Odom, despite Kim's disapproval and Kourtney's blank expression with nothing behind it. It was Khloe who rode into the breach to confront Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce, her stepdad) about her unkind remarks about the family in Vanity Fair. 

Bruce Jenner was a sweet old guy who sent his teenaged daughter's car to the shop on a pretext just so he could drive her around, like old times. The daughter (Kendall?) rolled her eyes, called the shop, and got her black Range Rover back.

Caitlyn Jenner seemed unprepared for the complexities of the bitchfest she had entered, as when one of the girls stopped by, tossed her hair, and cooed "Nice purse!" as an opening power play.

Maybe it was all for the cameras, but the Kardashians seemed to genuinely care about each other -- within reason. "I hate to see my sister living like this," said Kim to Khloe in one episode, referring to Kourtney's rocky marriage. "If I think about it, I'll start to cry." She dabbed a few times at one smoky eye.

"First thing in the morning," she remarked to Khloe, pulling herself together. "With a full face of makeup. I'll cry at the end of the day."

Khloe nodded, because that totally made sense.

See you in two weeks, ladies.

(Image: Khloe Kardashian Odom in Sydney, by Eva Rinaldi (Flickr: Kim and Khloe Kardashian) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons)