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We Can No Longer Keep Up

By Emily Cortes

The Kardashians announced the retirement of their reality TV show after 20 seasons.

“After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, … we are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years” is how Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian signed off via Instagram announcing their final season will air in 2021. Whether you tune in for the show, rant on social media about how fake their bodies are, or even if you purchase a pair of Yeezy’s, you are supporting their brand. There’s a cliche saying in public relations that “all publicity is good publicity” and although ethically it doesn’t always hold true, with the Kardashian, it usually does. 

To retrace this family’s dynasty, we have to begin with Kris Jenner’s first husband and father to Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Rob, Robert Kardashian Sr. He was a well known lawyer in the Los Angeles area, and was friends with OJ Simpson. Robert would later represent OJ throughout his murder trial against his wife and a waiter from a restaurant she attended— he was returning her glasses. 

Although Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian were divorced before the OJ trial began, the high profile situation brought attention to the family and friends of Nicole Brown, including Kris and her new husband, Caitlyn Jenner, then named Bruce Jenner. Through Kris Jenner’s celebrity network, her children quickly became familiar friends with other young adult stars. Kourtney got a small role on a reality TV series about California kids ranching for the day, and Kim became friendly with Paris Hilton, who she later styled and clubbed with. 

It wasn’t until Kim’s infamous sex tape with rapper RayJ was released that Kris Jenner decided to capitalize off of her daughter’s moment in the spotlight. The Kardashians quickly got a TV deal with the E! Network and producer Ryan Seacrest. As Americans gradually became accustomed to Kim and Kris’ posh lifestyle and melodramatic antics, they also got to know Kourtney, her now ex-boyfriend and father of her three children, Scott Disick, Khloe Kardashian and her ex-husband Lamar Odom, her daughter, and her current boyfriend, Tristan Thompson, Rob Kardashian, ex-girlfriend Black Chyna, and their daughter, Caitlyn Jenner, Kendall Jenner, and Kylie Jenner, and her daughter.

This larger than life family has not only grown up and raised their own families on TV, but they’ve been able to launch individual brands and partnership lines. They have tapped into every market, from makeup, to clothing, to lifestyle, and even the tech world, and their 

“mom-ager,” Kris, receives 10% of whatever each child makes. That’s how you run a family business.  

There is absolutely no doubt that the Kardashians have impacted many aspects of our modern culture. People get plastic surgery to have “Kylie Jenner lips” and use waist trainers to be as slim thick as Kim. Yes, these things weren’t invented by the Kardashians, but most people didn’t pay attention to these things, until they saw how good the Kardashians made it look.

To quote my roommate, a fellow Kardashian fan, Connor Gibbons, “I think you should leave the party when it’s fun, you don’t want to be the last one at the party.” This alludes to the perfect timing to separate their brands from their reality TV branch. Each family member has evolved and now has an image and wealth to protect, aside from TV. 

Kim and Kanye West have especially had a difficult time in the media lately, as they publicly battle his mental illness and protect themselves from the harsh commentary regarding his illness, that was not a part of the agreement when they began filming the show. The show was a tool to get this family into a position of power to have an impact on the world. Regardless of how they make you feel and if you support their brands or not, you’ve been a part of the modern culture they’ve helped shape, and they thank you.

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