3 Things That Kept Me Up After the Season 2 Finale of ‘The Kardashians’

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In the season finale of The Kardashians, the narrative is as rich as the couture. Kim, Kris, and North head to Paris, where Kim will walk the Balenciaga runway. Kris and Kim are careful to emphasize that this is different from past fashion weeks on the show—this is haute couture, marking an altogether new milestone for Kim in her ever-expanding media reign. The irony that a historically insular fashion tradition is now being depicted on a reality show for mass consumption is important to keep in mind: Once you realize that the Kardashians make it their business to bridge the “highbrow” with the everyday, you’ll find that dialectic in most of their storylines and products. Do these elite institutions appreciate Kim for the publicity she brings, as much as she seems to rely on them for legitimacy? 

The episode is also filled with intertextual throwbacks to past Paris trips as a reminder to the viewer of just how far the family has come—as well as lots of tender reflections on mother-daughter bonds, and some pontification about the value of couture (not to mention, for Kris, a tongue-in-cheek lesson in how to pronounce certain designers’ names). Plus, Kylie takes Stormi to the Billboard Awards in Vegas to support an unseen Travis Scott, and Kravis dines at home with the kids. Here are three things that kept me up after the Season 2 finale episode of The Kardashians: 

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

This episode reflects, in part, on Kim’s constructions of legacy for her daughter North, who has joined her in Paris. Their day begins with North visiting Kim in glam while wearing a classic Pastelle jacket worn by Kanye many years ago, when he performed in Paris. “Kanye tends to not care about his stuff and give it all away,” Kim explains. But, in true Kris Jenner tradition, she has become intentional about asking him to save certain fashion pieces and other artifacts for the sake of the kids. “Even when he was at the height of being angry with me, I still texted him and said, ‘I know you just won a few Grammys—gotta add them to the vault.’ And he said, ‘Okay.’” Perhaps the vault is for the kids, but it’s not hard to imagine the public exhibit of cumulatively collected Kimye relics that we all might see at some point in the future. As the day goes on, Kim explains why she’s taken North along.   

“Each kid gets at least one trip with me a year,” Kim tells us in a confessional before we see her at the Jean-Paul Gaultier showroom, introducing North to the team. “It shows my daughter the work that I’m putting in. I like to show her that work can be fun.” Of course, North is also a stand-in for the audience, as we, too, gain insight into the various to-dos of Kim’s fashion industry life. In the process, we also learn about another very personal piece in the Kardashian fashion archive, as Kim explains to her daughter who Olivier Rousting is. “Northie, Olivier…gave daddy this blue dress that daddy wanted for me.” The camera cuts to a photo of the deep blue Balmain dress Kim wore on her birthday in 2013. “You got in my belly the night I wore that dress. So, Olivier might have a little something to do with the reason you’re on this planet.” North just stares at her mother, but the message of her conception story is clear: Clothes can be stories, symbols, and time codes. And it’s the creation of those meanings through couture that constitutes Kim’s work this week, as a legacy reality star bringing cameras to Paris. 

Everyone on Their Phones at Dinner with Kravis 

Next, we see Kourtney and Travis Barker at home, trying to enjoy a candlelit dinner with all their kids (minus Mason), but there’s one problem: Everyone is glued to their phones. “Should we have a no-technology rule?” Kourtney asks. For an episode depicting some rather unrelatable high-fashion scenarios, the dilemma of tech infiltration at the table seems, at first, like a refreshingly universal one. There is one crucial difference, though. The Kardashian content machine is a fundamental aspect of social media itself, which makes this scene sort of ironic: The very medium that the family famously dominated has now, apparently, dominated them. 

“You can’t write this shit” 

The season ends with all the ladies reflecting on life’s ups and downs. “You can’t write this shit,” Khloé comments. Kim echoes the sentiment in her own way. “The best part of my life is I can never foresee what the next chapter is going to be—and I don’t want to foresee it. I just like to live it, in the moment.” With this, it becomes clear that the Kardashians are ambivalent about their reputations as expert managers of their own media narratives. They want to tell us that their reality show is, indeed, depicting true reality—yet another irony in an episode that so effectively tells a story about storytelling using cameras, fashion, and family tradition. They even author a cliffhanger: in the final scene, Kim asks Khloé what they should name her new son, and the family banters without ever answering the question. I have a feeling we might have to wait until Season 3 to learn the answer.  

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