Welcome to season 9.5 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. At this point it’s hard to deny that this family has, through their dedication to cannibalizing every facet of their own lives for their television show, ascended to the upper echelon of American celebrity obsessions. This was confirmed with the Royal Wedding-like treatment from the media of Kim Kardashian’s wedding to Kanye West two weeks ago, and the furor over Kourtney and Khloe opening a DASH outpost in the Hamptons. Would it be cynical to think that the wedding was timed to coincide with the premiere of the show? It would be, if you were talking about any other family. For the Kardashians, milestones seem to appear fortuitously in concert with season premieres and finales: weddings, babies, breakups. At this point, even funerals might not be out of the question.
So, let’s check in on everyone. First up is Khloe. We start the episode with the sisters having a lighthearted moment jumping on a trampoline in the yard while Khloe explains that someone wants to buy her former home with Lamar Odom, as well as all of her furniture. Creepy! Even though she says she’s eager to be rid of the house, when it actually comes time to pack up she freaks out. Kim rallies the family, including a VO5-treated sleek blond ponytail belonging to Bruce Jenner, to help her pack up the house, but while Khloe is fixated on how Lamar is going to be able to retrieve his stuff, I was too busy being mesmerized by Malika’s blunt bang situation and the enormous jar of perfectly stacked Oreo cookies hanging out on the counter, even after the kitchen was ostensibly packed. Eventually she is able to pull it together even in the face of Kim’s casual cruelty (“I don’t think he’s coming back for those,” she says on the way out the door like a monster), either setting us up for more divorce storylines or “Khloe getting her groove back” storylines on the upcoming season. Khloe is the best Kardashian, so I don’t begrudge her either of those horrible options. Not for nothing, but she is also more believable than certain other Kardashians when she talks about wanting to keep the details of her divorce private, as she does seem reluctant to talk about it on camera, and certainly never says anything disparaging about her ex.
Meanwhile, Kourtney is struggling to relate to Scott, who is doing bizarre things like taking “mancations” in the desert and then calling Khloe when he gets lonely. He recently lost both of his parents, and he’s having trouble coping with the loss while also being partnered with the rather affectless Kourtney. Here’s a typical interaction between the two of them, reproduced as faithfully as possible from my memory after two glasses of wine:
Scott walks in to their house carrying a plastic cup of iced tea.
Kourtney: “I just started getting a big tea like that. It’s life changing.”
Scott: “That’s a life changing thing for you?”
Kourtney: “Yeah, you get one of those babies and you’re en fuegs.”
This dialogue may not be 100% accurate, but Kourtney definitely, definitely used the expression “en fuegs” to talk about iced tea. So that’s about the level that she and Scott are operating on, emotionally. They both try different things to bridge the gap in this episode: Scott buys Kourtney a fancy car that he already knows she doesn’t want, and Kourtney hires a rangy, grey-haired healer named Tejpal to talk to her about why she hates feelings so much, with mixed results. In the end Kourtney doesn’t return the car and agrees with Tejpal that she ought to be more communicative with Scott when he’s trying to open up to her. Then she tries to tell Scott that she doesn’t feel like she gets any time to herself.
“What do you do all day? Like seriously,” he says. Excuse you, Mr. “I’m going to go to NASCAR school/become a Lord/willingly hang out with Rob because I’m bored.”
With Kim, we get a real Electra Complex situation between her and her mother. In her own words, Kim has finally “lost [her] weight” and is back with a vengeance, ready to pass judgment on all those in her path, especially her mom. After ten seasons of Kris Jenner pretending to be the fourth Kardashian sibling, Kim has decided that enough is enough and it’s time for her mother to stop competing with her, now that she is a mature, almost-married woman.
“Khloe calling me a ‘MILF’ is, like, the ultimate compliment.” — A mature, almost-married woman who is responsible for another human life.
Quick sidebar: Kim continues to be one of the most beautiful people in the world, in my opinion, but there is something about her beauty in the last year or so that is, uh, more alien than human? Like, the goal is no longer to be the hottest woman on earth, but to be the hottest creature in the galaxy? All I’m saying is that every time I see Kim onscreen, not only does she look very different from the way she did even six months ago, but she moves a tiny bit closer to the Uncanny Valley.
Anyhow, thanks to the sexual competition between Kim and her mom, we get a scene in which Kim goes with Scotty Pippen’s wife to a pole dancing class accompanied by Kris, wearing a studded leather jacket and bodysuit, as well as Blac Chyna, the object of Amanda Bynes’s aesthetic obsession when she was in the throes of her…troubles. (Never forget.) Later on Kris is doing a photo shoot at home, inexplicably, and gets made fun of so viciously by her daughters as she’s taking some racy shots in the pool that I started to feel really bad for her. I don’t like being put in that position. Kim played peacemaker and promised that she and her sisters would be more supportive — they’d just like more warning the next time their mother is planning a cheesecake photo shoot in the yard.
You might think it sounds like not very much happened in the premiere, and you’d be right. But the upcoming season looks incredible: Bruce and Kris are fighting! Kendall runs away to London! Someone got robbed! Someone else will likely get Rob-ed! Brody Jenner is going to fight somebody in Thailand over his sister’s honor! It’s all happening.