You might like them. You might love them. You might hate them. Regardless, you know who they are. There’s no denying that every person in America knows the name “Kardashian”. So why are they famous? Well that starts with their father, Robert Kardashian, who was close friends with OJ and Nicole Brown Simpson. Robert’s ex-wife, Kris Jenner, was best friends with Nicole, and all of them were wrapped up in the press after Nicole’s murder in 1994. Robert famously worked on the defense side for OJ, who was on trial for the murder, which caused obvious turmoil with Kris Jenner. (I recommend watching The People vs. OJ Simpson on Netflix to watch that whole mess of a story unfold.) The drama put the family on the map in LA, but not yet the rest of the country. Robert and Kris’ daughter, Kim, then started to get a name for herself in Hollywood as the assistant for Paris Hilton. When her infamous sex tape with then boyfriend and rapper Ray J was released to the public, the iconic Kim K was born.
The Kardashians as a family rose to fame on their reality TV show that we all know, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The world of reality TV encourages the opening up of your life to the entire world. The Kardashians have always done this, not just for a short period of time, but over the complete last decade and beyond. They have let us in to the ups, the downs, the inside jokes, and everything in between. Because this show has passed the test of time, who they are in terms of ‘reality stars’ has changed so immensely. When we think of reality TV today, we think of Bachelor Nation or someone on a random MTV dating show, but the Kardashians were a part of the originals. We’re talking the days of Paris and Nicole, the Osbourne’s, The Girls Next Door. This is a different level of reality TV, it has immortalized them, and as a result, their level of fame is unmatchable. They are absolute icons and household names, and some of the richest people in America. Fascination has grown with their fame over the years, and part of this is because they are so transparent with their lives. The public gets let into everything that happens to them, and we get invested. We understand the drama because we’ve been there for it all – even the small things feel big to us. We know this family, their personalities, their history, and we feel as though we understand them to the core. Because of this level of transparency, it also opens their lives up to criticism. People think that because we see so much, the public has the right to judge and form an opinion on everything they do and say. It’s one thing to ignore a troll on social media, but security has became a big issue as a result of their dynamics with the public. Flashing material items and fancy locations is what led to the Paris incident with Kim. Not to mention that Kendall’s house has had multiple break-ins, and both she and Kylie have had legitimate stalkers. Some may envy their lavish lifestyles, but there are pros and cons to consider for sure.
To anyone who wants to hate on the Kardashians, it’s easy to point at their lives of luxury and say that they don’t contribute to any good in the world. But first, think about how many celebrities that fall under that category but do not get backlash because they do not live their lives as publicly as this family. Again, it’s easy to judge with the level of transparency. However, those who are true fans know that giving back has always been a regular part of their lives. Growing up, Robert Kardashian used to bring the kids to skid row to hand out items like blankets and hygiene products. As Kendall and Kylie grew up and had birthday parties, they would ask that instead of gifts for everyone to bring a donation to various charities throughout the years. Kim has been in the media for her activism, which is honestly not anything new for her. She has always been pro-gun reform, and has been always been outspoken about her stance on gun control. Even in the early episodes of KUWTK, Caitlyn pushed her guns onto her children, wanting them to take shooting lessons. Kim was openly uncomfortable with a gun being around her family and in the house. She also took her daughter, North, to March For Our Lives in D.C. and had a very real conversation with her during their visit about why gun control is necessary. Kanye always donates to causes that Kim is passionate for her birthday/Christmas gifts, which recently has included justice reform. Kim is has been fighting HARD for justice issues, including freeing Alice Johnson from an overly harsh sentence, and we should expect to see so much more of this from Kim as time goes on.
Being a superfan of the Kardashians, I started watching the entirety of the franchise, in order, including any and all spin-off shows. Let me just say, it was QUITE a journey. There is such a transition as time goes on and they become the icons they are today. In the early seasons, the show was light and silly, and as a result we got a lot of filler plot lines. It was common to see the siblings getting into funny antics and pranks throughout the seasons. As time goes on, their lives get bigger, and we start to see huge events like the Met Gala and launches for their various lines. It’s also noteworthy that so much drama is now incorporated into the show, as their lives are anything but quiet. These things now take up so much KUWTK space, that now when we do get those filler plot lines, it ends up sounding strange or scripted because we’re just so used to the drama. But the silly antics is what they originally built the show on, it’s just developed so much over the years. Even the opening theme song has evolved – from the silly whistle song, to the pop music with the sliced pictures, to the nostalgic music with the flashing montage reel that really just fucks. me. up!
For anyone who is interested in taking the deep dive into Kardashian universe, here is the list I followed to watch all of not only the Keeping Up episodes, but all the spin off and associated shows as well in order of occurrence:
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Three
Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Four
Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Five
Kourtney & Kim Take New York Season One
Khloe & Lamar Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Six
Kourtney & Kim Take New York Season Two
Khloe & Lamar Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Seven
Kourtney & Kim Take Miami
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Eight
Kris (Talk show)
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Nine
Kourtney & Khloe Take The Hampton’s
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Ten
I Am Cait Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Eleven
Kocktails With Khloe (Talk show)
I Am Cait Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Twelve
Rob & Chyna
Revenge Body With Khloe Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Thirteen
Life Of Kyle
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Fourteen
Revenge Body With Khloe Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Fifteen
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Sixteen
Revenge Body With Khloe Season Three
The Real Blac Chyna
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Seventeen
So let’s get into each family member a little bit:
Kim: When Kim Kardashian first rose to fame, she was my least favorite; I constantly rolled my eyes at her. But my appreciation for Kim K has grown immensely over the years. She’s the mediator, the pusher, and the motivator. The family sometimes jokes that Kim is the reason they are all where they are today.. and they aren’t wrong. Kim is so natural in the public eye, and honestly a visual phenomenon. You also cannot deny how hard she works – juggling project after project after project. She has ‘broken the internet’ many times, and her relationships have always made headlines. It is notable, however, that Kim is the only Kardashian/Jenner who is currently married to the man that she has children with (sup, Kanye). She also has the most children, with four kids running around, two of which were born via surrogate. I really appreciate Kim for normalizing different ways to make a family, because surrogacy is more common than people may know. Kim’s growing family has never stopped her from success, launching KKW beauty, Skims, and studying for the California Bar exam pretty much all at once. Honestly, Kim is a boss, she is untouchable, and I love her.
Kourtney: Kourt is the oldest of the siblings, and the public (and me) has some mixed opinions on her. In the early seasons, she was my favorite because she seemed the most down to earth and authentic. I feel like Kourtney has really changed over the years, and I definitely would no longer describe her that way. She jumps on the trends to be health conscious in a way that seems very phony. Kourtney also has attempted to brand herself as the “mom” (since she was the first one to have kids, 3 in total), but that has really gone out the window in recent years. Her relationship with Scott has been wildly up and down, and his recovery is actually very inspiring. Over the years, it’s easy to fall in love with Scott and fall out of love with Kourtney. Scott is such a character, and has been sort of grandfathered into the family, which I love. Kourtney is also notorious for being the one who cares the least about working, though she does run a lifestyle blog called “Poosh.” I’ve checked it out, but haven’t really found anything useful. Personally, I think Kourtney is still figuring her self out or in the middle of some kind of mid-life crisis.
Khloe: I’m not gonna lie, Khloe has always been my favorite. She’s gone through quite a transformation in her weight loss journey, but she really took a lot of slack for her look in the early seasons. It’s actually pretty sad the way she was spoken to, and I just hope that her glow up was for her and not her family or the media. She also helps others with weight loss on her show Revenge Body, where they actually get to work with her celebrity trainers. Khloe is the kind of girl that goes the hardest for her man, which makes it even more disappointing when they let her down. She moved to Dallas for Lamar and Cleveland for Tristan – willing to sacrifice for those she loves and even relocate away from her family. Her struggles with Lamar are pretty heartbreaking, but I still like Lamar way more than I’ll ever like Tristan. Tristan’s betrayal with family friend Jordyn Woods was one of the biggest media frenzies that the Kardashians have experienced, and it was actually the second time there was headline news of Tristan’s infidelity (the first was when Khloe was 9 months pregnant with their child, True). Lamar has publicly acknowledged his mistakes, while Tristan continues to be, well, ridiculous and confusing in life and on social media. I do feel bad for Khloe for what she’s been through, but she’s for sure got the toughest skin in the family. On a positive note, she is usually the most fun, the best time, the funniest and the one that everyone loves the most.
Rob: Rob’s story, honestly, is pretty sad. Mostly because he’s clearly suffered from depression for a long time, and it very well could be as a result of the spotlight on him and his family. The level of media attention has proved to be unhealthy for him, as he already had struggles with self-identity, his career ventures, and his self-image. I also believe that losing his dad was the hardest on him in the long run, and it’s something he brings up often throughout the seasons of the shows. Rob has had issues with being publicized as he started to gain weight, and it made him isolate himself from both society and his family. There were years where he did not come on the show or even really leave the house – including missing his sister’s wedding (he flew to the location but after the tailoring, he flew back home and did not attend). It’s sadly obvious to see his confidence boost when he is in a relationship, but those relationships have been anything but healthy for him. His relationship with Blac Chyna was quite a wildly interesting roller-coaster that was fascinating to watch, but ultimately has hurt him a lot. He is currently fighting for custody of their daughter, Dream, and accusing Chyna of being unfit to care for her (rumors have surfaced of violence that has occurred in Dream’s presence). Rob was seen recently out with his sisters, so let’s hope that things start to look up for him. I’m rooting for you, Rob!
Kris: It’s been said that the devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder. Being the matriarch of this family is the identity of Kris, and being the most famous “momager” in the world. There’s always been rumors of Kris setting up some of the drama in the lives of her daughters, but who knows what truth there is to that. I will say, that Kris Jenner is an LA girl who would not accept any other lifestyle than one of luxury. She’s always been out for a big name and a big check, and hey, the girl got hers. Her first marriage to Robert Kardashian had already ended by the time of his illness and passing, and Kris was remarried to Caitlyn Jenner. There was a lot of drama during Caitlyn’s transition, because Caitlyn really trashed Kris Jenner in her book. The transition really had nothing to do with their marital issues, and I honestly feel they are both much better without each other. Kris is currently dating Corey Gamble, who is actually the same age as Kim. Kris is a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with, but I also find her annoying and ridiculous a lot of the time.
Caitlyn: Caitlyn was known for the longest time as one of the greatest and decorated Olympic athletes of all time. Many people can recall the feeling of watching her win the gold and seeing her picture on Wheaties cereal boxes. However, she is now most known for her public transition from a man to a woman, even winning awards for her bravery and courage. Watching Caitlyn on early seasons of KUWTK prove to be extremely cringe-worthy. Her transition does not come until the later seasons, though there are definitely some clues along the way. Even still, it’s really strange to listen to the girls make jokes about Kris “owning his balls” and other things in similar regard. There was also a fight about hair during Kim’s wedding, because Kim wanted the ponytail to be cut off completely. It’s interesting to watch it all unravel, but like I said, cringe-worthy. Caitlyn also took the opportunity during the transition to speak negatively about some family members, which has put a divide between her and the rest of the family. Her show, I Am Cait, included many other trans women and was very informative about the experience overall. She was rumored to be dating 23 year old trans woman Sophia Hutchins (Caitlyn is 70), until recently some strange information came out in the media. I guess Sophia is just a live-in pet? I don’t know, it’s all very weird honestly.
Kylie: The billionaire. Kylie has always been in the spotlight from an early age, and you basically watch her grow up on KUWTK. She’s the most popular among the younger demographic in a mirrored way to the fascination that surrounded Kim in the beginning of her take-off. Kylie has always been passionate about make-up, and makes her billions through Kylie Cosmetics – most known for the lip kits. It’s noteworthy that she is the only sister that kept her pregnancy a complete a secret from the public, which could have been a decision based on the young age at which she became a mom. The father of her child is rapper Travis Scott, whom she dated after her long relationship with rapper Tyga (the girl has a type). The status of her and Travis’ relationship is pretty vague right now, though I don’t think they are together. Kylie and Kim joke that Kylie is “coming for Kim’s thrown”, and she recently has passed Kim in terms of social media followers. Kylie also gets some extreme scrutiny from the media as a result of her deep pockets and the lifestyle that comes with it. She’s only 22 years old, so it will be really interesting to see what the rest of her life looks like.
Kendall: Kendall has really made a name for herself in the world of modeling, and if you watch her in the early seasons you can see her passion from the very beginning. She’s absolutely stunning of course, and has the complete look of a model. She’s developed herself into one of the most notable and highest paid models in the industry, and is constantly traveling as a result. I believe she owns a house in LA, but spends most of her time in her apartment in NYC because of the fashion opportunities. She’s the only sibling without children, though I do believe she wants to have a family later in life. Kendall is one of the most sensitive of the sisters, which may also come as a result of growing up in the spotlight. Her dating life has been the least dramatic and arguably the most private, though she also experiences her share of rumors. For some reason, I think Kendall sometimes has a hard time figuring out where she fits into the family, as her fame seems different in some way.
Like I said, the show has made a huge evolution over the years. Money has of course played a factor in this, not to mention their level of fame and celebrity. But also just the way their lives have developed has made the show what it is today. The transparency during their pregnancies, Caitlyn’s transition, break ups, betrayals, and all the other aspects of their lives has allowed for the show to continue on and on. And us fans, we get it. Because we were right there with them, and we are going to be there every step moving forward.
On another note – being a true and devoted Kardashian fan, I had to order Kim K’s selfie book, Selfish. It’s a wonderful coffee table book if you stan for the Kardashian clan and are obsessed with Kim in particular. She’s always been an avid selfier, and collaborated her pics over the years onto the glossy pages. The book is in order chronologically by year, which is fun to see young Kim before her baby hairs were all lasered off. Her family and sisters make cameos in the book along with her friends and other notable celebrities. She writes in her own notes and anecdotes on the pages along side the pictures, which was easily heard in Kim’s voice. The book is cute, it’s fun, and it can be found on Amazon. (I also made my own selfie post from my inspiration when rewatching the show a while back.) Lamar made media headlines of his own last year when he released his book, Darkness To Light, which I listened to via Audible. I believe that both Khloe and Kris have written books, which I may look into adding to my “to read” list.
Alright. So if you’re still reading this, then you’re either a fan of the Kardashians also or somehow I’ve managed to change your mind a little bit. Regardless of how you feel about them, you cannot deny that they are powerhouses in the world of celebrity and social media. For so many reasons, they are iconic, they are influencers, and they are legends. And they are not going away any time soon.
You can watch all the episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on Hulu, and a few of the spin-off shows can be found on Hulu as well – such as Life of Kyle, I am Cait, and Kourtney and Khloe Take the Hamptons. Rob and Chyna can be found on the NBC app, Blac Chyna’s new show, The Real Blac Chyna is hard to find but the first episode is at least on YouTube. Some of the other spin off shows are also available on YouTube or other off-sites such as dailymotion. The newest seasons of KUWTK are on E! and the E! app. Also, I do HIGHLY recommend listening to the Comments By Celebs podcast, where they do a weekly Kardashian Bonus show and breakdown the newest episodes that are released.
Long live the Kardashians.
Thanks for reading!