Caitlin McBride: I'm a self-loathing Kardashian addict
My name is Caitlin and I’m a Kardashian addict.
After 10 years, I have followed this family’s many journeys – some serious, some frivolous – from my couch, phone, iPad and desktop. I’ve been there since (nearly) the beginning back when they lived in their more modest Calabasas home, when Kris still worked at Smooch and Kim was throwing strops about her Bentley.
Expert Kardashian knowledge is the pop quiz I have been preparing for most of my adult life.
The myriad reasons why they are pop culture’s most influential family have been reported to death, but I take some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in my obsession, which dates back being 20 years old in 2007. Britney was going through a terrible time; Paris was carrying sex tapes to mainstream fame and we still had hope Lindsay would grow out of her phase.
Flash forward 10 years and the façade has faded. Kim is still beautiful and seems like a genuinely nice, albeit dull person and an exceptional businesswoman. But I can’t stand when women in the public eye don’t admit to cosmetic surgery because a). they think we’re dumb enough to believe them and b).they think it’s acceptable for teenage girls to think that’s how everyone is supposed to look.
I’ve grown to love to hate them. And by default, myself a little bit. While I loathe Kardashian snobbery, as I get older and more cynical, the aspects I turned a blind eye to are becoming harder to ignore.
Did Kim really marry Kris Humphries for publicity? Is Scott Disick really as much of an a***ole he’s made out to be? Did Kris really know about Caitlyn’s gender issue before they married? What really happened between Khloe and Lamar? These are questions I genuinely need answers to.
After a decade of following them across multiple mediums, I had finally gathered the courage to quit. Not cold turkey obviously…I’m not insane. But slowly and surely, I became too jaded to be enthralled by the entire Kardashian experience.
When they first used their social media channels to fill in the blanks off season, the ‘authenticity’ of their accounts became more attractive than the glossy tv show which made them household names. And I’m in good company - viewership in the US has now dropped to 1.5 million compared to a reported 10.5 million for Kim's $10m wedding.
As Kendall and Kylie grew up, it became more apparent that they were uncomfortable with their fame, lamenting their lack of a ‘normal’ childhood experience because the cameras were constantly rolling.
Kendall in particular seems to avoid any examination of her private life: she’s a supermodel, but doesn’t dress up for the paparazz in in the same way Kim and Khloe do. The only show she puts on are the ones she’s in – and her storylines are painfully boring.
A battle with night terrors was the best producers could come up with last season because she refuses to discuss her romantic relationships and comes off like a normal-ish girl just trying to get on with things.
Kylie, on the other hand, is the true heir to the throne. Kris can retire happily knowing she has trained her youngest daughter to carry the torch of family insanity to the next generation - quite literally as of Friday.
As the 10-year anniversary of KUWTK approached, it seemed like the Kardashian news cycle had finally run out of gas. But then, in a way that only the KarJenners can, public interest in the family was renewed for at least another year: 20-year-olld Kylie is pregnant. With Travis Scott’s baby!
I have fallen hook, line and sinker for this new storyline. On Friday night, I let out an audible gasp when TMZ broke the story.
“Who’s the father?” I asked my disinterested boyfriend.
Up until then, I had successfully weaned myself off Kardashian updates. I didn’t even know she was dating Travis Scott. Cue frantic Googling and checking the usual suspects for the inside scoop. I was dubious at first, but when People reported it, I knew it was all but guaranteed. Buzzfeed followed up, then CNN and every other website out there.
By Saturday morning, it was the number one trending news story in the world (while this is hardly a surprise, it definitely gives us pause for thought about modern society). The memes came through thick and fast and the shady Kris Jenner takedowns were some of the internet’s finest.
Kris Jenner leaving TMZ after telling them Kylie Jenner is pregnant the day before the KUWTK premiere.... pic.twitter.com/VT9MikIBhS— ₭ (@KobraKhai) September 22, 2017
I was hooked again. Because I was in my office all weekend, I was able to pass this research off as legitimate work, but my excessive consumption of Kylie pregnancy speculation was strictly selfish.
And then, just as quickly as it came, it had faded by Sunday. No one in the family (still) has commented, except for Kris who proved once again why she should be hosting workshops on How To Win At Life, when she said: "It wouldn’t be the family if something didn't happen every single day."
I was confronted once again with my reluctant idol’s master manipulative technique. Kris knows exactly what she’s doing. Twitter was right all along. I know I'm being used, yet I still go back for more every time.
LIFE OF KYLIE
The timing is suspect. Kylie's spin-off show Life of Kylie, which was intended to show the "real side" of her, came off more like an extension of her Snapchat stories and if anything, proved there isn't a whole lot more to her than we already know.
This real-life plot twist has all but guaranteed a second season commission, as well as crossover interest on the impact of the rest of the family on season 12 of KUWTK and beyond. Until then, I’ll be kicking myself for still keeping up with them.