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Keeping Up With The Kardashians Gets To That One Night In Paris

Hasn't Paris been through enough?

Here's what I expected to happen as I watched the "Paris" episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians in which Kim's robbery-at-gunpoint is finally detailed for the world: a reluctant outpouring of sympathy. I guess I'm crazy, because as I sat down, I reminded myself that, you know, this lady is a daughter and a mom and a wife...she's a ridiculous person, but she is a person who experienced a trauma and deserves to have her story received with an unjaded ear. I sat with these feelings until Kim and Kourtney spent fifteen minutes talking about how stressful it was to choose clothes -- with a team of stylists -- to sit in a chair to watch a fashion show.

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Like, Kanye had to fly to Paris just to choose shoes for Kim to wear, and she still had to ask him if she should keep her sunglasses on during the show.

Twenty minutes in, it occurred to me that the "important" stuff couldn't fill even half an hour, so they had to pad it with wardrobe fittings, and I found my cynicism beginning to return to 100%. Then I wondered: "Should I check myself?" And that was only one of my questions.

Who...who does Kim think we think she is?

Let me just go in order and start with the pre-robbery events, as we are shown in the timeline. I'll get to this sentiment in a minute, but wow, if they were divulging these details to engender sympathy, this was not a great way to start. Is Kim laboring under a severe misconception that we actually believe her to be an icon of Parisian elegance? "Ah, oui, Keeeem," the French say, as she clomps by in some hideous footwear wearing a velour tube top and plastic pants. "She has that certain je ne sais quoi, yes?" In fact, Kim Kardashian may be the one subject to which that turn of phrase applies, in that much of what she is and does and says is inexplicable. She's a lot of things -- sometimes she's even quite beautiful -- but the thing she is mostly is the world's biggest and most exhausting try-hard, and the fact that she's involved at all in Paris Fashion Week is absurd. I mean, I know fashion is art and sometimes art is purposefully ironic and absurd and making statements against itself, I guess, but...does she know that? Is that even what's happening? It's like if we let Donald Trump move into the Whaaaooooo, y'all. Forget that too-perfect analogy. You'll cry all night.

Who are the customer bases of Givenchy and Balmain?

Where is it that Kim is so revered that Balmain would go all-in on her as a spokesmodel? I understand Balmain is now owned by a Qatari company. Y'all, when she's the actual queen of an Arab nation, I guess the joke will be on us. Seriously, what do these fashion people say when this crew finally leaves their showrooms in these buildings that are hundreds of years old and packed wall-to-wall with legitimate luxury? Kim was wearing track pants over a swimsuit or something. Kanye all making demands for certain couture looks....I can't.

Can I ask one more quick question about Kourtney?

It's seemingly irrelevant to the larger story, this obsession they seem to have with getting Kourtney out there to be part of the K-scene. Or is it? I enjoyed Kim's funny line wondering if Kourtney, who apparently studied design but doesn't really get into clothes, now, has stayed out of the Fashion Week game because she hates "spending hours and hours getting ready." Kourtney! Listen to your girl over here: just live. I don't know how this family's profits are spreadsheeted and distributed, but surely you have enough money now and don't need to leave your children behind on another continent just so you can be photographed wearing a cape over your underwear. Your mom's not going to let you starve, surely, especially now that the dangers of this life have been writ large. Come out with a line of housewares for Kohl's and be done.

What else can be said about the main event?

No, literally. I don't even know what to say about their accounts of or reactions to the robbery, because, well, if you've ever experienced a personally traumatic event in which you were, ultimately, physically unharmed, the way they are acting should seem pretty normal: aggressively repeating their personal parts of story over and over again; making crazy statements about everyone needing to be armed (omg, Kris); Kanye suggesting he would hunt down and kill his wife's attackers: these are all standard to people who have endured a shock of this nature. (Can we share a smirk that Kanye had to stop his show just as he was about to launch into the lyric "somewhere far along this road he lost his soul to a woman so heartless"?)

Even basically "escaping" Paris as quickly as they possibly could kind of seems normal under the circumstances. Watching it, I realized I didn't find it fake at all, despite the story continuing to seem so unlikely. Things like this are unlikely! That's what makes them shocking. What's weird is that they filmed it and put it on TV five months later as if we didn't just get finished reading about it. Which leads me to ask:

Are they exploiting this tragedy, or is putting it out there just business as usual?

I have to admit that certain scenes -- especially the one where Kim is recounting the whole thing over again for Khloe and Kourtney -- seem staged for filming. It's the way Kim is so perfectly positioning her face in reaction shots.

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I guess what's strange about it is that there are reaction shots, like she had to tell the story a few times for coverage? I can't quite explain it, but it makes that uncanny valley thing happen up my spine. Even some of the footage of Kanye seems weirdly off, but, see above: shock is weird, and if we're going to buy into this whole thing, he went on to experience some very heavy stuff about all of this in the weeks that followed what we saw here.

Was it exploitative to make this visual document of the story? I guess not; they do it with everything else. Was it, then, calculating to include the footage of Kim and Kanye with their children, so poignant and real that I felt a tidal wave of warmth surge through me? It was, and yet I cried.

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Kim's talking-head about begging the concierge to translate that she had babies at home; her acceptance that she might be raped; her prayers for Kourtney to have a normal life if she had to find Kim's dead body...all of that was all too real, and I cried. Kim may have Snapchatted herself right into the thieves' hands, and her whole life may be one big commercial with herself on discount sale, but no one "deserves" to be traumatized and have their personal safety put in jeopardy, and despite whatever earlier reluctance I felt, I cried. Then through my tears, did I hear her talk about how the attackers taped her legs together and did I subsequently imagine all the hay that might be made? Yep. That was quick. So, now who's heartless?

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