'The Kardashians' Episode 1 Recap: Flesh Tones vs. Roblox

Kim has a barbecue and Saint comes across something verboten on iPad

kendall had covid

After a grueling 10-month absence, the Kardashian girls are back, clad in flesh tones, and salad as ever. They’re on Hulu now, having left their longtime home on E!, after 14 years and 20 seasons, for more money and a shorter lag between shooting and airdate. They dropped the Keeping Up With in their show’s title, and are now just known as The Kardashians. Their last name, which only three of them actually have, has been a strong enough brand for over a decade to stand on its own. Or several brands, actually. Hulu doesn’t let me screenshot, which dampens the comedic effect of it all because she’s wearing an insane blazer while saying this, but Kris lists them:

“There’s Kylie Cosmetics, and there’s Kylie Skin, Kylie Baby, SKIMS, Good American, 818, KKW Fragrance, Arthur George, The Hot Sauce Company, Halfway Dead, Safely…What did I leave out? Probably something.”

Well what about Kendall and Kylie’s dystopian young adult novel Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia. Or Kim’s investment in Shoedazzle? Are those properties generating more passive profit than Rob Kardashian’s sock line or Safely, Kris’s dish soap company???

I’m not entirely sure why the Kardashians came back, as every single one of them with the exception of Scott Disick spoke wistfully on camera of how good it was being off camera. At some point, I’d think even an alleged 100 million dollar deal with Hulu would have diminishing returns for a family of top to bottom self-made billionaires. There are diminishing returns for viewers too — as has been a problem before for the Kardashians and the more famous Housewives, we read news in real time that unfolds on the show months and months later, dimming the electric viewing experience of early reality programming. Nevertheless, they are back to serve their country, polling be damned.

Amid drone footage and uncharacteristic talking-head confessionals in the middle of filming, a few things remained comfortingly the same. For one, Kendall and Kylie barely appeared. For those who might not remember, E! gave Kylie a spin-off in 2017 called Life of Kylie, which was apparently a play on a 1950s sitcom called The Life of Riley, which apparently was a take on an expression meaning “a carefree life.” But that didn’t go too well because the wordplay went over the heads of the Kyhards who were far too busy trying to make our lips look taller and less wet with her signature lip kits to Google it. It was decided then that a little bit of Kylie goes a long way.

Kylie was six months pregnant in the premiere, and Kendall had Covid, probably on purpose. Khloé’s new beige house was under construction, though forgive us for confusing it with Kim’s beige finished house, which has no art on the walls, also on purpose. Kourtney watched her boyfriend Travis Barker do guy stuff like play drums and box in a studio space that looked like an unfinished garage. Cory Gamble, as always, seemed pretty nice, and Scott Disick was not invited to the chicken wing and burger barbecue at Kim’s, because of his various actions and personality traits.

Everyone was stiff and nervous around each other. For the first time ever in my 15 years with this family, they seemed like they hadn’t seen each other in a while. It felt foreign to me, and it made me sad to think that perhaps the cameras were the only thing keeping them in physical proximity with each other for so long. The lecherous Tristan Thompson, Khloé’s cheating baby daddy who is actually a pretty cute guy working on himself in therapy, hadn’t seen Kylie pregnant until the barbecue. Of course, even on a streamer, there is still lag time between filming and airing, and we have since found out he impregnated a woman who gave birth just two months later in December 2021.

The barbecue didn’t seem all that dynamic to me (which is just the way I like this show), but it did kick off the two major story engines: the Scott Disick snub and Kim working on her SNL monologue while threatening to sue Roblox and Ray J’s cubular asses. What happened is Kim’s son Saint was playing Roblox on iPad, and saw a meme of Kim crying. It was apparently a pop-up ad that alluded to more unreleased sex tape footage. It felt bad to see Kimmy distress over this, and I also was distraught that this incident was just one more bit of proof that the Kardashian-West children are more online than me.

Of course Kim, in the off-season, has been threatened and stalked by her estranged husband Kanye West for kissing Pete Davidson at various restaurants. But as of last October, Ye was still styling her outfits.

I usually smile once per episode while watching this family, and this was a return to form on that end. Specifically, I liked when Khloé told her sisters that her “pussy” was “too wide” for the SKIMS bodysuit she had on at salad lunch. The elder Kardashian girls cheersed to the “big puss club,” and I am 15 years older for it.

The first episode, as always, set up The Kardashians as a show about nothing. But with a network switch, it could be more. It could be a show about a family with two different boyfriends named Travis.