Welcome in Anais is watching TV. The principle of this weekly column is simple: its author is called Anaïs Bordages and sometimes she watches TV.
If you had asked me a month ago to identify Kourtney Kardashian or Kendall Jenner in a line-up, I probably wouldn’t have been able to. You may not believe me, but I have already amply demonstrated my ability to avoid an inevitable pop culture phenomenon. As Friends and “Les Marseillais”, the Kardashians are among those cultural supernovas that I have managed to ignore with as much force as the fake calls from the Personal Training Account.
Beyond some basic knowledge of Kim Kardashian (sex-tape, contouring, Kanye West), I never had the slightest curiosity for the incessant gossip around her family, nor for their reality TV show launched in 2007. , or for their influence in the world of beauty and fashion – from what I’ve seen, their love of lycra, raw and ski goggles really doesn’t thrill me.
But there. Having recently contracted a very fashionable respiratory virus, I had to find something to occupy my days of isolation without overstimulating my neural connections. Between two fits of coughing, stranded on my couch, I came across the new show “The Kardashians” on Disney+. Having never heard these people speak, I then said to myself that it was time to finally discover the sound of their voice, and above all, to try to understand what the world found in this extremely wealthy family, often accused of appropriate the Afro-American aesthetic.
Readers, in a few episodes, I understood everything. I understood the delirious fascination, the hundreds of millions of followers on Instagram, the empire built on emptiness. Maybe it was the fever, but suddenly I wanted to know everything about their lives, be their pal, share salads with them, skin them and impersonate them to live in their gigantic beige houses.
I was hypnotized by their manufactured beauty, their unearthly plastic, their airbag-clad alien bodies. Suddenly, I too wanted a padded life devoid of personality, nails longer than Meryl Streep’s resume, blonde hair extensions and buttock implants. I too wanted to have lots of sisters, live 100 meters from my mother’s house and have a dressing room the size of Corsica.
I too want to wear a greige trench coat in my bed.
Yes, because let’s be honest: the main draw of this show is its opulence. Like everyone else, I follow certain American celebrities on Instagram just so I can gaze at their homes. But while watching “The Kardashians,” I realized that all of my little stars were just proletarians by comparison. Suddenly, it was like going from the small basin to the Olympic swimming pool.
I drooled over Khloé’s garage-sized candy cupboard, and cried with envy over Kris Jenner’s (beige, of course) movie theater. Despite the presumably hereditary lack of taste, I fell for Kim’s ridiculous outfits, which seem to have only two looks: pajamas, or an alien lieutenant from the future. And I was fascinated by the frighteningly skin-tight jumpsuits Khloé wears to… go eat fries at the restaurant??? In fact, this whole family is under vacuum.
Really not the outfit I would choose to eat truffle fries.
Moreover, emptiness is the watchword. Like their seamless garments, the family’s interiors seem to push the boundaries of neutrality. The Kardashian aesthetic is nothingness gone through the pressure washer. Their living rooms are so white / beige / gray / greige, that it looks like a cross between an Ikea showroom and a gynecologist’s waiting room. Not a frame on the wall, not a color, not a piece of furniture or an object that would have the slightest personality. At one point, Scott is amazed by Khloé’s new table. This table looks like this:
Emptiness made furniture.
“The Kardashians” is the anti-“Les Marseillais”: in one, everything happens, in the other, nothing happens. But that’s what makes the show so relaxing, this aesthetic of nothingness, this total intellectual stripping. Everything in their life looks so simple. They eat. They discuss. They get their makeup done. They go from their living room to a privatized restaurant, to their garden, to another privatized restaurant. There’s zero stakes, and that’s wonderful.
A very accessible family with very understandable problems
There’s nothing worse than reality TV shows where everyone is constantly yelling at each other. That’s why I’ve never watched “Les Ch’tis” or “Real Housewives”: I’m afraid to see people who take the lead H24. But this new version of the “Kardashians”, with their forty-somethings, even perhaps even calmer, has the effect of a retreat at the spa. Frankly, they seem so much nice. At the same time, I tell myself that I too would be super nice if I never had to do the dishes or the housework, and that the only imperatives that I had to manage in my life were:
- Being on time for my sister’s engagement.
- End of list.
Appearing accessible to millions of people while spending your life jogging through marble fortresses takes real talent, and no one can take that away from them. In one episode, Kris and Kylie Jenner relish shopping in a supermarket like normal people, and after raving about the fresh produce section, the mom starts giggling when she can’t remember how. insert his credit card into the machine. How not to identify?
Kendall, a hypochondriac, misses Kris’ birthday to spend the weekend in a huge apartment, surrounded by caregivers who give her vitamin C infusions, listen to her list her imaginary symptoms and regularly check her vitals: brilliant !! Where do we register?
Sometimes a few difficulties arise, and I sincerely sympathized with Khloé’s anxiety – who, after being invited to a talk show, congratulates herself on “constantly take risks”. I’ll think about it for my next panic attack! It’s also hard not to be charmed by Kim Kardashian’s efforts to prove that she has depth.
The show is also very smart to open with the presentation of “Saturday Night Live” by Kim, who is involved in the process wholeheartedly. We even see her, during the season, campaigning for the release of a person sentenced to death, revising and passing the bar! Ok, ok, actually it’s the “Baby Bar”, that is to say a first year exam that tests basic knowledge of law. But still!! In his place, I wouldn’t have bothered, I would have just continued to eat candy in a latex catsuit in my eight-seater bed.
Does feeling voyeuristic titillation, and even sympathy, for the Kardashians make me a bad woman? Certainly! Is this all staged? Without a doubt! But who cares? Knowing how to capture attention and meddle in every corner of popular culture is certainly not a tedious job, but if this show is to be believed, it is clearly a job. And no one does it better than Kim Kardashian.
Find every week Friends, the podcast of Anaïs Bordages and Marie Telling in which they (re)discover cult series.