Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the E! reality series that thrust Kris Jenner’s army of tabloid-ready divas into America’s living rooms, is now on Season 12. Let that sink in. Breaking Bad lasted five seasons and The Sopranos went six, but the phrase “less is more” is nowhere to be found in the Kardashian lexicon. Their opportunism knows no bounds. If they feel underappreciated by the media, they’ll simply post a topless selfie or unleash a bizarre tweetstorm to their millions of acolytes, as Kim did the night everyone was reveling in Beyoncé’s Lemonade. And make no mistake about it, folks: The Kardashians are here to stay. Just last year, they inked a mammoth $100 million, four-year deal to stay on E!
It’s been a pretty remarkable uphill climb for Team Kardashian, who’ve gone from “the family of that guy who defended O.J. Simpson” to perhaps the most famous family in America—weathering a sex tape and legions of haters along the way. People tend to look down on the Kardashians, viewing them as the apotheosis of narcissism and vanity, but perhaps they represent the self-aggrandizement we hate in ourselves. This is Generation Selfie, after all, where every person has carefully cultivated an online brand for him or herself. The Kardashians are just a helluva lot better at it than you.
Also, they’re no Donald Trump. They seem like genuinely decent people.
The person responsible for Kardashian Inc. is none other than Kris Jenner, the Kardashian matriarch who they’ve come to nickname “Cruella.” At one point toward the end of the Season 12 premiere episode, as all the gals are yapping away at her for mollycoddling Rob, she snaps.
“I’ve seen you guys through so much shit that you do that I have to fucking put up with!” Kris exclaims. “‘I’m married for 72 days.’ Really? That was normal! I mean, the shit that we’ve all gone through, you guys can do anything you want and it’s OK and I’m going to accept it all, and I’m going to do the same thing for [Rob], so stop judging me!”
Yes, the latest storm Mama Kris is weathering has been created by her son, Rob, and Blac Chyna. You see, Blac Chyna is the ex-girlfriend (and baby mama) of the rapper Tyga, who has been dating Rob’s half-sister Kylie Jenner for the last couple of years. Now, of all the women in the world, Rob is reportedly engaged to Blac Chyna. But since KUWTK was filmed months ago, the family is airing their initial grievances.
“Want to hear the craziest story?” Khloe says to Scott Disick early in the episode. “Rob was asking what time would I be home and I got home 30 minutes earlier than the time I told him I was coming home, so I walked in on him with Blac Chyna at my house. There was alcohol everywhere. He’s having the time of his life. I don’t need this shit! Don’t you dare make me feel uncomfortable in my own home.”
Khloe adds, “I told him, ‘You’ve burned your last bridge.’”
Later on, Rob draws the ire of his other half-sister, Kendall Jenner. Rob has, it seems, re-gifted Blac Chyna an iPad that Kendall had given to him as a Christmas present. This is basically tantamount to murder in the Kardashian fam.
“Rob is dating someone that has kind of had a bad history with my family, and he fully re-gifted my gift,” confesses Kendall. “On top of it, it’s so annoying to find out through social media because his girlfriend [Blac Chyna] posted it. There are some things that just aren’t cool, and I don’t think this is very cool.”
She then proceeds to call Rob, saying to him, “One, I’m annoyed, two, I’m actually hurt that you re-gifted my fucking gift that I went out of the way to give you.”Poor Rob, who just wants to sell his socks in peace but has been caught in the spell of a thirsty hanger-on.
The biggest fireworks, however, come from the relationship between Khloe and aspiring Ted Cruz trans ambassador Caitlyn Jenner. Back in January, while promoting her (recently canceled) show Kocktails with Khloe, she told Howard Stern the family “felt betrayed” by Caitlyn because her “business people knew” about the transition before they did, and how they first found out about Bruce’s transition to Caitlyn during the Diane Sawyer interview.
After the Howard Stern interview airs, Khloe is bombarded with “insane, aggressive texts” (Khloe’s words) from an angry Caitlyn, despite the fact that Khloe had said all that before.
“I said, ‘You slaughtered my mother and you have the nerve to say what happened to family sticking together?” Khloe says to Mama Kris. “I said, ‘You jumped that ship as soon as you did Diane Sawyer and attacked my mom,’ and instead, [she] tells me to ‘get a life’ and to ‘shut up,’ and I’m like, ‘You shut up and you get a fucking life.’” She adds, “She could tell me to fuck off all she wants. I don’t have a relationship with her. I’m done.”
This leads Mama Kris to call Caitlyn and smooth over the Howard Stern drama.
“She’s out there talkin’ shit about me,” says an enraged Caitlyn. “I don’t want her talking about me, OK? You don’t go on Howard Stern and call me a liar.” “Why is she even talking about it?” she adds, before yelling, “DON’T BRING IT UP!”
Cue Mama Kris, who claps back in Khloe’s defense: “What do you think I said to you about Vanity Fair? You fucking say something nice or don’t say anything at all!”
“Nothing was said that was terrible in that Vanity Fair article,” contends Caitlyn.“All you said was negative shit, so now you know how I feel!” Kris replies, starting to cry. “OK, but you were her dad since she was 5 years old. Give her a break!”
Caitlyn relents, and the episode eventually ends with all the gals realizing they owe their entire lives (and careers) to Mama Kris, and should probably stop calling her “Cruella” before she cuts their allowance.