Kylie Jenner's new reality show is made worse and better by social media
Let's rip off the Band-Aid and get to the bad news for fans of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
If you were expecting Kylie Jenner's new reality show to be anything like the hit E! series that has aired for nearly decade—look elsewhere.
The series premiered on Sunday night and for the most part, offered exactly what you would expect from a television show starring Kylie. Because she was home-schooled, 19 year-old makeup mogul never got a chance to experience the pinnacle of teenage-hood: prom. Not partaking in that experience was apparently really hard for her—she unfollowed everyone she knew because she couldn't bear to see their memories scattered across her timeline.
It was really, really hard for her.
To remedy that, and to illustrate that she really does feel like an outcast at times, someone manages to wrangle dateless teen Albert Ochoa, one of many who asked Kylie to prom on social media.
Her best friend, model Jordyn Woods, got Ochoa's mother on the phone, and after a close call with a malfunctioning private jet (Kylie explains she can't do airports because of the amount of attention people give her), they're off.
But, we (the nearly 100 million followers on Instagram and 22 million on Snapchat) already knew all this.
We didn't see Kylie pick out her dress or call Ochoa's mother on the phone, but we didn't really need to. Because of social media, we knew she surprised the Sacramento teen at his school dance months ago and we knew what dress she was wearing, which raises the question: Is there a point watching the same content from different angles, almost five months later?
Kylie might have been introduced to fans through KUWTK, but she’s grown her fame with her relentless use of social media. She admits that to herself in the show.
“In order to stay relevant for the public, I have to be on Instagram and I have to be on Snapchat keeping people entertained," she explains, admitting there's this contrived side of her we, the pubic, see versus the person Kylie is around her family and friends. "That’s who I want you guys to get to know," she says.
But because of this dedication to millions of followers, it's hard to get excited about a show that doesn't give much beyond what we see through filters and updates on our phones every day. It does give loyal Kylie stans a bit more of a story than 10-second snippets on Snapchat. Maybe that's what's most important—things aren't always as they're portrayed on social media, and in Life of Kylie, she's willing to give us the full picture, even if that picture doesn't come into focus until five months later.
While her social media presence makes this show feel irrelevant, her use of social media on the show is fascinating. There is professionally shot footage, similar to KUWTK, and there's archived footage of Kylie's life from her Snapchats (again, all things we've seen before but this time, with music tied to it). Footage from fans even makes the cut.
“I just want to tell you how much I appreciate what you’re doing,” one fan says—though we don’t really get to hear much more. This inclusion makes the whole show feel a lot more authentic than KUWTK at times, because these little moments are rooted in a real world outside of Calabasas, California. It would be a shame not to have more of them throughout the series.
Whether it's real pity or a manufactured sense of pity for Kylie that the show manages to muster out of you, in Life of Kylie, it's easy to feel a bit bad for her and to understand that she craves normalcy ... then you remember you're watching a show about her on E! and that the Jenner/Kardashian clan knows exactly what it's doing with these productions.
For Kylie, the show is another perfect avenue to promote her booming empire. For you, the show gives off a confusing message: Are you supposed to feel bad because she's famous? Empathy because she wants to be a normal teen? Envy because of her status? That's not quite clear, but hopefully it will be answered as the series continues.
Until then, we'll probably keep checking her Snapchat/Instagram/Twitter for moments that will probably make the cut for Life of Kylie, Season 2.
You can catch Life of Kylie on E! every Sunday, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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August 7, 2017 at 07:37PM
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