Kim Kardashian is many things: mother, social media mogul, businesswoman, unrelenting millennial icon, purveyor of sex tapes, daughter of a famous lawyer, wife to a famous rapper.
Her rise and rise to fame has been documented, observed and unwillingly forced upon pretty much everyone with a decent Wi-Fi connection or a subscription to any online streaming service.
But the tides and more importantly, the ratings are a-changing. The Kardashian klan have become vanguards in volunteering every inch of their lives to a viewing public who are slowly falling out of love with their special brand of LA nepotism.
I’m not talking about the systematic sexism and abuse they are subjected to by trolls, or the verbal warfare waged on them and their fans by haters daily.
Unfortunately it’s just a sad and unwelcome consequence of living in the public eye as a strong and powerful woman or an outspoken obsessive who ‘gets used to death threats’ these days.
You just have to listen to much-maligned superfan, Johnny Cyrus, to understand:
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Nope. The trolls have always fanned the flames of hate. I’m talking about the fans – the people who have Kept Up With The Kardashians ever since Kim first stepped out as Paris Hilton’s fame-understudy and stylist.
But why? She’s no different to the girl who made a sex tape with Ray J back in ’07, a decade ago.
Over the past ten years, Kim Kardashian, who turns 37 today, has successfully clawed her way up the social ladder and reached peak 2017 celebrity status but the transparency has opened up all the details of Kim’s life – no holds barred.
She’s the queen of reality TV, but let’s be honest, we don’t really like our reality TV too real and this year, things have got really, really, tragically real for Kim.
It all began last October, when the eldest Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in her suite at the Hôtel de Pourtalès.
Kim recalled the incident on Keeping Up With The Kardashians:
Then [an armed man] duct tapes my face, my mouth, to get me to not yell or anything and then he grabs my legs and I wasn’t, I had no clothes on under [my robe] and he pulled me towards him at the front of the bed and I thought, ‘Okay, this is the moment. They are going to rape me.’ And I fully mentally prepped myself…
Then they had the gun up to me and I just knew that was the moment they are just totally going to shoot me in the head. I just prayed Kourtney was going to have a normal life after she sees my dead body on the bed.
Kim further opened up about the traumatic experience on The Ellen Show:
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After a long silence on social media, Kim claimed she had turned a new leaf and found new priorities, along with a fresh, artistically beautiful, blue-washed Instagram aesthetic somewhat reminiscent of a Casio calculator display screen.
Then, the family ties which made Keeping Up With The Kardashians so family-friendly and frothy, frayed beyond recognition – amid the sisters’ divorces and real, adult heartaches, the relationship between Kris Jenner and newly-transitioned Caitlyn reached a dark dip.
The sole brother, Rob Kardashian, was embroiled in a public scandal which culminated in his perpetration of revenge porn against the mother of his child, Blac Chyna and is now being sued over the NSFW leak.
Moreover, a then 17-year-old Kylie Jenner had embarked on a legally-questionable relationship with Tyga, Blac Chyna’s ex, complicating matters in more than one messy split.
Shortly after, Kanye West suffered a ‘psychotic break‘ after we uncomfortably bore witness to serial erratic behaviour which was almost-explained citing mental health issues.
The parents of North and Saint are also planning to welcome a third child by surrogacy in January next year, after Kim was told she could ‘bleed to death’ if she gave birth a third time.
It would be a devastating blow for any mother or mother-to-be.
The family, through absolutely no fault of their own, underwent real tragedy, real heartache and real obstacles which couldn’t be overcome with money or an artfully-shot selfie.
In less sympathetic circumstances, Kendall and Kylie Jenner lost any existing respect when they plagiarised a number of musicians’ album artwork for a line of vapid clothing emblazoned with their own faces.
Only months before, Kendall was widely criticised for trying to mend the systematic global racism which plagues our society with a can of Pepsi, in a misguided advertising campaign, as well as sponsoring the doomed Fyre Festival.
We want to be entertained and shocked to some degree but with pithy low-stakes troubles of the heart which are debated on yachts, over large avocado salads.
Robbery, addiction, revenge porn, PR nightmares, and infertility? Your heart breaks for their sorrow, but we’d rather bury our heads and switch off our TV sets.
That’s not the tele-visual brand of escapism which we love and recognise; the stuff of mindless, vapid dream which first hit our screens in The Simple Life.
We saw a similar knee-jerk reaction when Marnie Simpson, of Geordie Shore, entered the so-called Celebrity Big Brother hellhole-turned-household in 2016.
Many revelled in objectifying the young reality TV star when she got wasted on a night out in Newcastle and the footage was edited down appropriately so we could laugh at Marnie and her companions expressing their sexuality in dingily lit clubs.
But 24/7 coverage of her sexual exploits on CBB? That was ‘too much’ of the same thing for some viewers, even after the watershed.
The fact is, we’re falling out of love with reality TV in general.
The episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians which recounted the Paris robbery and its aftermath didn’t rake in the huge ratings of earlier seasons, drawing in 1.58 million viewers.
In fact, viewership has been down on average per season since 2014, according to Forbes.
Compare it with the season six episode where Kris Humphries proposed to Kim, which captured more than 3.3 million viewers, or the season four finale, which broke the E! network record with 4.8 million viewers.
Kim Kardashian is many things to many people, no matter what you think of her. Admittedly, most of us have thought of her – voluntarily or not – with admiration, or rage, or reckless indifference, or as a symbol of everything that’s wrong and unjust about our capitalist system.
Lord knows, life is messy for everyone, famous or unknown, rich or poor, Kardashian or not. ‘Pobody’s Nerfect’. That’s something we can all accept and embrace.
With the (alleged) welcome of three new Kardashian-Jenner babies in early 2018, it seems the ‘momager’, Kris Jenner, who ignited the family saga in the first place might have a plan to claw back some joy.
In the meantime, we just don’t necessarily want to keep up with life’s difficulties and imperfections in an episodic cautionary saga of celebrity dread, when all we’d signed up for was a fairy tale about fame.
We’ve got our own problems. 2017 is a mess and if we want gritty realism on our TV screens, we might as well just turn on Corrie.