Most episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians are designed to make viewers wish (or at least secretly wish) they had what the Kardashians have - the over-the-top vacations or the nights at the Met Ball or the houses with infinity pools. The show has always tried to downplay the dark side of that glamour, aside from stray complaints about the paparazzi or harassing fans. But in the aftermath of Kim's attack in Paris, the show can't look away from the reality of what fame has cost the family. What you're left with is a sadder version of KUWTK, but maybe a more authentic one too. Let's get into it.
So, How's Kim? About how you'd expect. She's scared, sad, and (most tragically) acutely aware of how the world is talking about her in her absence from social media and the public eye. It's really upsetting to watch her react to articles that claim she faked the attack, leaked video footage of her interview with Paris police, and companies that create offensive Halloween costumes designed to profit off of her suffering. Her response is something along the lines of, "Too bad people don't realize I'm a person!"
While Kim might be doing a decent job of seeming OK - something that the Kardashians are very, very good at - it's clear she really isn't. Khloé comes to her house to find her having a panic attack in the bathroom and it's so severe that Khloé shuts down filming for the rest of the night. Kim also has a full-on freak out when Kanye comes home late at night and comes up a different set of stairs in their home than he normally does. It's bad enough that she agrees to see a therapist, although annoyingly, she includes the traditional "well, therapy's not really my thing, but…" caveat that is my least favorite thing about the entire Kardashian brand. I'm glad she's getting counseling, and I'm also glad in doing so, she makes it seem OK to ask for help in the wake of trauma.
Kendall's Day in Court: Speaking of trauma (ugh, most depressing transition I've ever used in a KUWTK recap), Kendall's due in court to testify against her alleged stalker. It's not clear how much of this comes down to Paris-related PTSD but Kendall really, really doesn't want to testify. First she says it's because she never wants to see the man again, but then later, she says it's because she feels bad for him (he has a history of mental health issues). All of her sisters talk her into taking responsibility and stepping up, and they're proud when she eventually does, even though Kim and Kourtney do kind of make fun of the sketch the courtroom artist drew of her. After she's testified, Caitlyn comes by to hear the details and ask how she's doing after the events in Paris, which feels a little shoehorned in. Without I Am Cait, it's not clear what place (if any) Caitlyn has in the televised Kardashian universe.
Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen, Corey Gamble: Look. I'm willing to admit that I've historically been hard on Corey Gamble (even under great circumstances, it usually takes me two full years to get out of "You don't even GO HERE" mode with new characters on my TV shows). But the way he treated Kris last night made me really, really uncomfortable. If he wants to step up and help with the family's security, that's great - lord knows Kris doesn't have a lot of spare time. But when your partner has just nearly lost a child in a violent attack, maybe spend a little less time criticizing her for being panicked and anxious? Maybe don't call her a wuss-puss for not wanting to go to the driving range with you to learn to shoot guns? (Especially when anti-gun violence has been one of this family's biggest public platforms.) Maybe don't tell her that she has to stay home while you go investigate a burglar alarm at Kylie's house, insinuating that you're a big, strong man who can accomplish things, and she'd only get hysterical and make things worse? The way he speaks to Kris would be a bad look any time. It's especially bad now.
Wait, Why Are You Wearing That? Kim has a new, strong fondness for a fake lip ring this season - she likes it so much that she's not just wearing it around the house, she chose it to go with one of her confessional video looks too. Kendall almost has her beat by wearing a black, Carhartt-style beanie with an edge that looks like it's been hacked into by a first grader with safety scissors.
Surprises Are Almost Always a Bad Idea: I got a little panicked when Kris announced she'd be throwing Kim a surprise party - seriously? With people jumping out at her? Two weeks after the attack? Fortunately, Kris had the guests greet Kim on the front lawn, instead of hiding in closets, and even though it's a little much to just assume a trauma survivor will be up to having a party at her house without her permission, it's a sweet little evening. Even Rob and Chyna make it! My brain can't quite wrap itself around Chyna being pregnant when she already had the baby on Rob and Chyna?! Kylie shows up too, for the first time this season, and she and Kendall give Kim a necklace to replace one of the ones that was stolen.
Reality TV Is Real: I'll admit that the Kardashians have, in the past, dialed up the drama around events that were probably not that big of a deal, but Kim crying in the bathroom because she couldn't stop remembering the attack felt like the realest thing this show has ever done.
Reality TV Is Fake: Look, I'm not trying to be the nerd who fact-checks reality TV, but the sequence of events in the episode got pretty muddled up. It happens! But when you're dealing with events as public as Kim's attack, Kendall's testimony, and Kim's birthday, maybe try a little harder to make things add up?
Last Words: "With Jesus, you can't be, like, a little more emotional?" -Khloé, taking issue with Kourtney's failure to drop her signature monotone while saying grace before dinner.
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