The Kardashians are back! Sure, they never actually left the cultural conversation, but the second season of their eponymous reality TV show is now streaming on Hulu. The first two episodes are rife with kitschy transition sequences, palm tree B-roll, and…therapy? Maybe not in a professional sense, but Khloé, reeling from the news of a cheating scandal while preparing for the birth of her son via surrogate, seeks emotional support from her family. Each of her sisters take a turn as a shrink, offering tidbits of advice straight out of the DSM-V.
Kim is up first, clad in the should-be therapist uniform of head-to-toe Balenciaga. She displays incredible composure, not even cringing when Khloé jokes, “It’s time to talk about Bruno,” a reference to Disney’s Encanto and the taboo of her partner’s infidelity. Kylie is next: she takes the role of a psychiatrist, but instead of Lexapro, she prescribes Khloé platitudes about “staying strong” and a grocery bag of designer baby clothes.
Clearly, Khloé isn’t getting the help she needs. And so, like any heartbroken person, she turns to Tumblr—or at least speaks like it. In essence, Khloé takes a shot at being her own therapist. Insightful quotes like, “I don’t know if I’m strong, I’m just numb,” prove her potential in the field. But just as Khloé begins to succumb to a life of eternal brooding, Kendall enters, offering a new solution: a brain scan.
Kendall doesn’t reveal how a brain scan will help Khloé, but she does let us know that she’s “excited to see everyone’s brains.” I guess watching fellow supermodel/nepo baby Kaia Gerber in American Horror Story really did a number on her. Kendall’s brain scan apparently confirms that she has anxiety. According to Fortune, it costs $3,500 just to witness the existence of emotional trauma, but I’d argue that the real cost is having emotional trauma in the first place.
After twenty seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and its many spin offs, it’s easy to spot the formula behind the famous family’s approach to TV. It’s full of confessionals and crying and cursing. For us, it’s always been about extraction—receiving yet more entertainment from people who already share every aspect of their life. And now, fifteen years from when they first started, the Kardashians are running out of things to give.
We’ve already consumed their fashion through Instagram, their opinions through Twitter, and their vacations through Snapchat. Season 2 of The Kardashians is an offering, a desperate attempt to satisfy an insatiable public. They give us phone calls about marriage and divorce and all the moments in between. They give us footage of a child’s birth, umbilical cord still attached and flesh wet with vaginal fluids. They give us brain scans. I don’t think it’s enough to ask ourselves why we desire to know more about them. That’s a question for a therapist. Sorry, Kim—I mean a real one.