After 14 years and 20 seasons, Keeping Up with the Kardashians came to an end in 2021. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Kardashian family is out of the news cycle. But while we may have felt that we were done watching their exploits, the Kardashian-Jenner clan clearly isn’t done keeping cameras out of their personal lives. In fact, they might just be craving more attention — something Hulu is happy to give them.
On March 14, 2022, Hulu dropped a trailer, which revealed the Kardashians’ imminent return to our screens. Starting April 14, 2022, we’ll supposedly see a “whole new” side of the family — a family that feels they’ve taken so much time off from the reality TV spotlight. In reality? While filming may have stopped a while ago, Keeping Up’s finale aired on June 20, 2021. It hasn’t even been a full year. And, given the family’s perpetual presence in tabloids and entertainment news, all of this begs the question: do we really miss the Kardashians?
Is it too soon to welcome them back to our TV screens? Do we ever want a reboot or resurgence? And, equally interesting, why do the Kardashians want to be back on camera already? To coincide with the new show’s April 14 debut, we’re delving into these questions and more.
Should We Stop “Keeping Up” with the Kardashian-Jenner Family?
On October 14, 2007, the Kardashian family debuted their reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In its first month on air, Keeping Up was a huge hit for E! with approximately 1.3 million viewers tuning in to the show. While it’s debatable whether Keeping Up was scripted or not, Hulu’s promise to show us a “whole new” side of the family makes us wonder if it’ll actually be raw, unedited reality TV (if such a thing even exists these days).
Simply called The Kardashians, the show marks a pivot from the family members’ desires to keep the cameras out of their personal lives and pursue other ventures. But cameras or not, the extended Kardashian family can’t seem to stay out of the headlines, from Kim Kardashian’s very public — perhaps too public — split from Kanye West to Kylie Jenner having her second child with on-again-off-again boyfriend Travis Scott.
As asked earlier, are we ready for more Kardashians in TV form, though? There’s definitely a divide amongst fans. Some viewers will watch the drama unfold no matter what, while others simply felt pressured to continue watching Keeping Up because of the long-term investment they’d made. Still, no matter where you fall on that divide, there’s no denying that even though entertainment news seems to orbit the Kardashian-Jenner family, fans aren’t experiencing the same level of access they’d grown accustomed to over the last decade and a half.
Of course, that might be for the better. Yes, the Kardashians and their drama and insert-foot-in-mouth opinions and sound-bites and offensive actions make for good reality TV, but at what cost? Take Kim and Kanye’s divorce, for example: Kanye has been clear about living with bipolar disorder and, while the diagnosis certainly doesn’t excuse his abusive behavior, it’s clear that the constant coverage and media attention is feeding into the couple’s very public breakup — and how Kanye is reacting to it.
It’s difficult to have the personal become public, but it’s even more challenging when mental illness enters the equation. In a culture obsessed with celebrity news, we’re often doing a disservice to all the people involved by turning these very serious issues into entertainment. So, in that way, maybe we should be done keeping up with the Kardashians — even if we miss the show.
Why Do the Kardashians Want to Return to TV?
Keeping Up with the Kardashians left behind quite the legacy; it not only came to define a whole genre of reality TV, but it reshaped our very concept of celebrity. And part of that legacy is the wild amount of access we had as viewers — scripted or not — to their personal, day-to-day lives.
It’s difficult to untangle the very concept of “influencers”, for example, from the way the Kardashians (particularly Kim and Kylie) have grown businesses, gained fans, amassed more wealth, and, generally, inserted themselves into the conversation time and again. Allowing a deeper level of access personalized the fans’ relationships with the family and its dynamics in a then-new way. By (literally) airing their dirty laundry, the Kardashians made fans and hate-watchers feel like they really knew them.
That doesn’t sound like a novel idea now, but, a decade ago, it was groundbreaking in its own way. (Again, for better or worse.) At the time, “momager” Kris Jenner was accused of exchanging her kids’ personal lives for money and fame. That’s not untrue. Today, however, it might not sound as jarring, given the rise of kid stars on social media and streaming platforms, like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitch.
So, why have the Kardashians decided to come back? Keeping Up certainly made them who they are today, both in terms of wealth and fame. But maybe they simply crave the cameras because they need to be seen. High-profile trials and former Olympians aside, the Kardashians are kind of famous for… being famous. It’s now a bit of a “chicken or the egg?” situation — can you even really be a Kardashian/Jenner, or the kind of celebrity the family members are, if you don’t have the cameras on you?
To stay relevant, the Kardashians need our near-constant attention. And they really want to stay relevant. That’s kind of their whole thing, at the end of the day. The cameras are now an extended (and maybe essential) part of the Kardashian-Jenner family because being relevant helps them sell their latest cosmetic line or misguided liquor venture.
If the Kardashians went out of vogue, a dip in popularity might start to undo their whole celebrity-influencer business model. Of course, given the sheer amount of followers and money they have, it would take one heck of a dip in popularity for the Kardashians to drop off the pop culture-radar entirely.
How Will The Kardashians Differ From Keeping Up With the Kardashians?
While Hulu promises an even juicier window into the famous family’s personal affairs, it’s hard to know just how different things will be in comparison to Keeping Up. Besides being more “real”, The Kardashians has positioned itself as more of a look into the family’s latest business ventures — supposedly more self-promotion than relationship drama.
Still, long-time viewers want those can-look-away family and relationship dynamics, too. So, maybe the Kardashian-Jenner grandkids will take up more screen time? (Even if they maybe shouldn’t.) Maybe Rob Kardashian, who didn’t appear on the last few seasons of Keeping Up, will pop up again? Will Kendall Jenner be held accountable for her offensive tequila ad?
The drama is seemingly endless. Since the end of Keeping Up, Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are Las Vegas-married and, reportedly, planning an exclusive, larger wedding reception, while Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson have split up, come together, and parted again, all while raising their daughter, True. And then there’s Kim and Pete Davidson — who has had quite the list of high-profile girlfriends as of late, and a cringey, too-public fight with Kanye in the wake of the Kim-Kanye divorce.
Even just reviewing the headline highlights, it’s such a mixed bag. Maybe some of what’s happening in their personal lives should be left on the editing room floor — but, no matter how damaging, that’s unlikely. Whether you tune in on April 14 or not, one thing is clear: It seems you’ll always know just a little too much about the Kardashians — even if you aren’t trying to keep up with them.