Between our predatory president-elect and the first woman to ever win the popular vote, 2016 truly was the year of the pussy. Given this pronounced vaginal fixation, it makes sense that we would end our year with a televised event centered around one woman’s genitalia, and the tiny human attempting to climb out of it. We speak, of course, of the Rob & Chyna Baby Special, an hour-long deep dive into the birth of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna’s daughter, Dream.
Surprisingly enough, Dream’s unique name is the least of her baggage. The first in a new generation of Kardashians, Dream’s inception was the stuff of gossip fantasies and Kris Jenner’s nightmares. When Rob and Blac Chyna got together, they were both on the outs with the Kardashian Klan. After years of depression, which manifested in extremely antisocial behavior, Rob was more or less estranged from his wildly successful sisters. Off-screen feuds and bitter silences between the Kardashian women and their only brother became a consistent storyline on the family’s reality-TV show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Meanwhile, Blac Chyna, an exotic dancer turned eyelash entrepreneur, entered the Kardashians’ Calabasas-based orbit via Tyga, Chyna’s original baby daddy. Tyga infamously left Chyna and took up with the then-underage Kylie Jenner, which understandably irked the mother of Tyga’s child. Kyga’s union—that’s Kylie and Tyga, for the uninitiated—launched a scorched-earth social-media beef between Blac Chyna and the Kardashian family.
Armed with text screenshots, a whole lot of thirst trap athleisurewear, and Amber Rose, Blac Chyna went after Kylie, who wasted no time clapping back. This escalating Instagram feud, in which one grown-ass woman and one teenager competed over who had the more outrageous waist-to-hip ratio, would have ended in a dire waist-training injury were it not for the extremely unexpected coupling of Rob and Chyna. By digging Rob out from the designer sock drawer he had been hiding in for the past half decade, Blac Chyna forced her way into the Kardashian family, who had no choice but to accept and love their future daughter-in-law—at least while the cameras were on.
Having flaunted their love in the face of their former enemies, Rob and Chyna were quickly ready to take their show to the small screen. That was Rob & Chyna, a KUWTK spinoff tailor-made for the ratings-friendly duo. What Rob & Chyna lacked in believable plotlines and Kim Kardashian, it more than made up for in Scott Disick. Over the course of six episodes, we were allowed access to some of the most intimate conversations and dramatic moments that Ryan Seacrest’s writers were able to come up with. Aside from a few memorable fights, Rob & Chyna delivered lackluster performances from its stars, proving once and for all that the Kardashians’ ability to forge engaging content out of the dull tedium of daily life is not a universal talent.
Clearly, whatever God cursed us with an inexplicable desire to watch Kim’s face get contoured for hours on end was too tired to inject Rob Kardashian with a dose of charisma. But the blame for Rob & Chyna may very well fall on the producers who thought that it was a good idea to build a show around a man who is suffering from clinical depression. No amount of wacky scripted hijinks could distract from the fact that Rob and Chyna’s relationship is, at best, a deeply strained relationship between two complicated people. In other words, this was nothing like that episode of Kourtney & Kim Take New York when Kourtney Kardashian got an on-screen oil enema.
To make up for Rob & Chyna’s apparent lack of Kardashian je ne sais quoi, E! and/or Kris Jenner have apparently engaged in some pretty sneaky social-media marketing. First there was the very public feud between Rob Kardashian and his sisters, in which Rob ultimately tweeted out Kylie Jenner’s personal phone number. That needlessly provocative ethering was supposedly tied to the fact that the Kardashians had disinvited Blac Chyna from her own baby shower. “Didn’t invite the Mother of my child to a baby shower you all were trying to throw for me!!? You all must have lost your damn minds [comma, comma, comma, black woman raising her right hand emoji],” Rob exclaimed.
While this may have been a genuine outburst, all signs point to a deliberate social-media blitz. After all, for the low, low price of Kylie Jenner disconnecting her phone number, the Kardashians managed to attract an untold number of viewers to both Rob & Chyna and KUWTK. Nothing says crossover potential like a good old-fashioned family feud—bonus points if the masterminds at E! filmed Kylie flipping through all the unsolicited dick pics she must have received courtesy of her brother’s leak.
But nothing about Rob Kardashian’s too good to be true social-media presence prepared us for this weekend’s all-out war between Chyna and Rob.
Just one day before their baby special, Blac Chyna was reportedly hacked on Instagram. The hacker proceeded to claim that Chyna had left Rob after a series of affairs with famous men, including Jaden Smith and Young Thug, and published some of her seemingly flirtatious DM conversations. They also alleged that Chyna was just playing a “game” and marrying Rob so that she could trademark the Kardashian name. While Chyna seemed to take the hack in stride, daring her virtual nemesis to spill all the tea, Rob was apparently wrecked by the social-media outing. In a series of Instagrams and snap stories, he seemed to confirm that Blac Chyna had left him, taking their newborn daughter with her.
“Sorry to be so open but I’m not feeling so good after seeing @blacchyna messages about me and what her plans were. I have never been this heartbroken in my life…my baby girl is 1 month old and Chyna took her and left this beautiful home that I just bought for us,” Rob wrote. “I truly loved Angela. I gave everything I owned for her. Didn’t know I was just part of her plan.”
Not one to back down from a social-media standoff, Blac Chyna posted an extensive rebuttal, explaining, “Those Messages OLD AF! He only did this because when he went through my phone he couldn’t find anything to be mad about! He’s on snapchat acting hurt but he’s yet to come see Dream yet!”
She continued, “Honestly it’s only so much a person can take…I’ve gone beyond to help & so has his family! He’s been diagnosed and clinically depressed for 4years. I’m done with the situation until he gets help.” Basically, Rob is saying that Blac Chyna broke his heart and cleared out their shared fridge, and Blac Chyna is saying that she couldn’t stay with a man who was suspicious, unhelpful, and wouldn’t even take his braces off. Both sides make good points.
Since Rob & Chyna has been picked up for a second season in 2017, it’s highly likely that this is all some sort of publicity ploy. So in an attempt to assess the current state of this union, we tuned in to the Rob & Chyna Baby Special. While we may not have gotten any answers, we did get to vicariously attend a really fun-looking baby shower, as well as a pretty laid-back C-section. From the very start of this special, it’s clear that Rob & Chyna’s relationship may not be as strong as they repeatedly claim for the cameras. While the couple insists that “we’re in a really great place,” Rob Kardashian also claims that his business is booming. For those of you that don’t know, Rob Kardashian’s “business” is an overpriced sock line. So this doesn’t quite add up.
The baby special is briskly paced, and lightly spiced with a rotating cast of miscellaneous birth coaches and filler sonogram appointments. In preparation for her due date, Blac Chyna is joined by her mother, human drama magnet Tokyo Toni, her three sisters, and some of her closest friends. Tokyo Toni, perhaps cognizant of the fact that she’s not fated to become a KUWTK regular, has saved up all her ammo for this special. Toni apparently hasn’t seen the Kardashians since she came for them on social media over three years ago. Naturally, Blac Chyna is nervous to re-introduce her mother to Kris, especially since Toni has a history of starting trouble—or in her own words, “I go off when it’s deserved.” We learn that Blac Chyna was the product of a one-night stand, and that her grandmother primarily raised her. Conversely, Blac Chyna has nothing but super nice, not at all contractually obligated things to say about her new momager, Kris Jenner, who she describes as “like a second mother to me.” As befits their close working relationship, Blac Chyna insists on calling her future mother-in-law/current colleague “Miss Kris.”
In one particularly bad scene, Rob Kardashian voices some of his pre-birth jitters to noted sleazeball/Kardashian company man Scott Disick. This scene is notable as one of the purest recorded examples of “locker room talk” on an E! reality TV show. Disick starts the party by pointing at an inflatable pool toy of a black swan, and asking Rob if it’s for when he misses Chyna. Disick quickly pivots from this racially charged humor to a detailed discussion of vaginas and childbirth. Naturally, Scott wants to know if Rob and Chyna have considered a water birth. Rob, who clearly has not been consulted on any matter of import, is concerned with Chyna maintaining her “normal vagina.” He shares that Chyna opted for a C-section with her first child, and Scott jokes that he now understands why Rob was so into Chyna in the first place. But it gets worse! The two buddies proceed to mock a poor, innocent OB/GYN’s enthusiasm for natural birth, accusing him of being really into lady bits. While we can only imagine a Kardashian doctor’s salary, there’s no way this guy is getting paid enough.
Next up is the baby shower! Rob tersely notes that his family was unable to make it to the festivities, as they were in Paris for a fashion show—which is both ominous and far too convenient. Luckily, Scott Disick wasn’t invited to France—or anywhere—so he gets to give a toast. In the lead-up to the big day, Chyna and Rob go on a romantic date to a steakhouse, where Rob finally agrees with Blac Chyna that she should stay in her own house for the time being. They are both wearing baseball hats at dinner.
At a surprisingly tame summit between Tokyo Toni and Kris Jenner, the grandmas-to-be call up Dr. Crane, the family’s notoriously vaginally obsessed physician. The doctor says that only three people are going to get to be with Blac Chyna as she gives birth. In a rare showing of pure benevolence, Tokyo Toni tells Kris that she should be in the room when it happens.
Finally, we’re at the hospital, checking in for Chyna’s scheduled C-section. Chyna suddenly becomes incredibly nervous, and this genuine emotion really highlights how poorly acted the majority of the last hour was. We watch this stranger’s C-section. Before you know it, Dream emerges from behind a curtain. Rob fondly recalls the birth of his first child, narrating, “When I see baby Dream for the first time, I’m definitely happy,” and that it’s “pretty cool.” Word! He also says that he feels his father looking down from heaven and proudly admiring the “beautiful Armenian baby.” It’s the first and only Robert Kardashian shoutout of the special, but the wait was more than worth it.
We watch Chyna breastfeed her daughter for the first time, as Rob proudly announces that Dream is trending on Twitter. In the grand tradition of celebrities who are too famous to show up to the shooting, Kim FaceTimes in to the hospital ward. Blac Chyna’s son, King, comes to visit the baby, and tenderly holds his baby sister. Rob chimes in again, sharing how happy it makes him to be with his new family—Chyna, Dream, and King. He shakes his head in wonder, noting, “Damn, those are some crazy names.”