For many it was the rise of reality TV which signalled the end of civilisation, so now that the end is nigh for Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the reality TV institution about one incredibly wealthy Los Angeles family, does that mean we get a reprieve?
Since the cameras started rolling in 2007, the Kardashian clan have produced eight seasons of the main show, plus several spin-off series including Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Khloé & Lamar. Along the way they have amassed an estimated combined fortune of £80m (€95m) (the cast of TOWIE are well jel).
In April 2012, E!, the US TV channel which produces Keeping Up with the Kardashians, signed a deal to keep the family on the air until at least 2015.
Since then, several factors have converged which threaten the family’s ability to honour that commitment.
Here’s a list of said factors, which make up my Kardashian Krisis Kountdown: (1) It’s long been rumoured that Kim Kardashian’s baby-daddy Kanye West disapproves of her involvement and would prefer her not to continue. Can the series continue without its star? (2) In a shock announcement this week, matriarch Kris Jenner confirmed that her marriage to Bruce Jenner, the Olympic athlete and plastic surgery fan is over. (3) The ratings are down. Last week’s show had only 1.7 million viewers, compared with the 3.6 million it regularly pulled in its prime.
“Who even are these people?” you ask, irascibly. “What have they done to deserve to be famous? And why would anyone waste their time watching this nonsense?” Ah, you see, these questions prove you don’t understand the first thing about popular culture, but I’ll humour you with an explanation, all the same.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians is TV’s incredible perpetual motion machine. It requires no fuel in the form of plot, character or even meaningful dialogue, and yet it keeps on spinning, powered only by Kim Kardashian’s magnificently vacant beauty.
This is marvellous to behold in itself, but it also makes The Kardashians and other such shows ideal viewing when you don’t have the energy to follow a more complicated story. Perhaps you’re busy doing the washing up, or simultaneously editing a GIF of Kourtney Kardashian yawning in another iPad window? Or perhaps you’ve worked a 14-hour day at the office and just want to collapse in front of the television and not have to form another coherent thought for the next 60 minutes.
There is room in our TV schedules for challenging drama, cutting-edge documentary and 24-hour rolling news; and there is also room for mindless reality television. Plenty of room, in fact. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t flicked all the way up to Channel 513 lately.