The Kardashiad, Part 1: OK, Maya Angelou
Entropy reigns at the Eden Roc in Miami, as a silver SUV disgorges all three Sisters K and a howling Penelope Disick. A stroller is fumbled with; Kourtney’s got Mason and Penelope in tow and no visible nanny-assistance. “Two babies, running around, spitting up, screaming — it’s a lot. Scott should be out here,” Kim says. Less than a minute, and already there’s a mystery. Where is Lord Disick? Some Eden Roc hotel rooms are enticingly panned across, in a game-show-vacation-package kind of way.
It’s about six months ago, so Kim’s not yet pregnant with Heir Yeezy and Rob Kardashian’s “colorful, cacophonous” dress-sock line has not yet turned the world of men’s hosiery inside out. Technically it’s only supposed to be Kourtney and Kim taking Miami this season, but Khloe will be here part-time, her own “fertility stuff” and “a bunch of other work commitments” permitting.
Kim tells Khloe that Kanye — busy in Hawaii making his new album Yeah, Actually, I Don’t Want to Be on This Show — has promised to send her something to keep her company. Khloe shrieks, “A vibrator?” Kim says, “Maybe, who knows?” and makes an inscrutable face, as if a vibrator would barely crack the list of the Top 20 weirdest things Kanye has sent her in the mail. (Although when Khloe raises the possibility that Kanye has sent her a FlipCam full of videos of himself “[bleep]ing off,” Kim acts all shocked, like this is impossible to even imagine, like this isn’t what Kanye sends in lieu of flowers as a had-a-great-time-on-our-first-date gift, which, c’mon, it probably totally is.)
Khloe, who’s obviously on pot-stirring duty this week, brings up Kris Humphries, cues exposition: Kris wants an annulment rather than a divorce, so he’s trying to prove that Kim committed fraud by marrying him solely for publicity purposes. Everyone laughs at stupid old Kris Humphries. Khloe does an impression of his stupid voice. What a terrible person he was. Hopefully a shark will somehow eat him in Minnesota. There’s a blast of intense MIAMI!!! B-roll — butts in thongs! Paddle-boarding! — and then Penelope spits up on Kourtney’s arm. Kim asks Kourtney when Scott is coming down. Kourtney glowers, says he’s not, that she doesn’t want him there.
Flashback: Los Angeles, three days earlier. Kourtney tells Scott, “I’ve been getting really anxious about moving to Miami with you.” Scott’s got a stringy beard; a harsh white light pours in through the window, because somebody at E! thinks he’s Sven Nykvist. The last time this show took Scott to Miami, he went nuts during a spat with Kourtney and began punching things, starting with the man in the mirror, as if trying to obtain a Section 8 discharge from this family; it didn’t work.
Night. A bellhop arrives bearing a pink cat carrier containing a white Persian kitten. The Chekhovian gun is on the table: By Christmas this kitten will be dead. Everybody crows over the kitten except Kourtney, whose first question to Kim is, “What are you going to do when it has to go to the bathroom?” Way to kick the moment right in the ribs, Kourtney. “She’s never going to be able to take care of it,” Kourtney tells us. “She’s going to be so over this cat in five seconds.” Kim goes outside to call Kanye. We don’t actually hear his voice but in subtitles, he suggests calling the cat “Mercy,” because brand extension never sleeps.
The Dash store — oh, boy. It’s amazing that there’s not a warning about “scenes that may be upsetting to some viewers” before this segment, like they do on a really gnarly Hoarders. Dresses that have fallen from their hangers, lying puddled on the floor! Piles of tried-on clothes in one fitting room! A discarded yellow-and-green Slurpee cup in another! The third dressing room does not contain a dead hobo asleep on a pile of medical waste, but it might as well, because that’s how Khloe and Kourtney react to the whole scene. “This is our store, with our name on it — it’s like, disgusting right now,” Khloe says, as the sales associates’ smiles freeze on their faces. Khloe says the store looks like “complete and utter hell.”
Which, although I have not personally seen Hell, I’m gonna go ahead and say is a bit of an overstatement. Honestly, aside from the glaring/inexplicable instances of untidiness cited above, the store just looks overstuffed with inventory, like any kinda-small retail space that stuff is not exactly flying out of. This does not stop Kourtney and Kim from acting like they want to straight-up burn this place to the ground with all the sales associates in it and salt the earth on which it stood.
Kim gets a call from her divorce lawyer; Khloe gives an eye-roll that would seem a little over-the-top in a silent movie. We’re supposed to feel like there’s some tension between Khloe and Kim stemming (somehow) from Kim’s inability to get herself divorced from Kris Humphries; Meryl Streep couldn’t put this half-assed character motivation across convincingly, but Khloe’s trying hard.
The next morning, Kim and Khloe take Mercy out for a walk down by the ocean. Like you do. Mercy freaks out and starts clawing Kim’s shoulder. Kim hands Mercy off to Khloe, who says, sagely, “We should start walking back. This cat is like, not having it,” “it” being the thunderous fucking presence of the fucking Atlantic Ocean, presumably.
Sadness accrues: Back at the hotel, Mercy poops on the carpet. Kim makes a terrifying discovery. She holds the cat up in front of Khloe: “The poop is halfway in its butt and it won’t come out.”
“It’s probably terrified,” Khloe says, really strolling off with the Wisest Kardashian trophy for, like, the 150th episode in a row.
Kim asks Siri what you do when a cat has poop halfway in and halfway out of its butt. Siri says “OK, here you go,” and Kim reads aloud: “If you have a long-haired cat, trim the hair around the cat’s backside to keep the hair from getting tangled,” which leads to her menacing this cat’s behind with nail scissors and Kourtney trying to talk her out of it. “Do not get scissors around your cat,” Kourtney says. “I need to cut the hair,” Kim says, like this is some kind of Not Without My Daughter situation.
Kim talks to Scott on the phone, tries to convince him that Kourtney’s overwhelmed and he should fly out. Scott says Miami’s a tough town to not party in. “Don’t want [it to] pull me into the dark side,” he says. Interstitial montage! Bike cops! Seaplane! Kim catches Khloe talking to Sheiva, Kourtney’s assistant, and Dash executive Roya about how Kim’s not letting herself, like, feel the feelings about this divorce. Khloe accuses Kim of being a bottler. “I’m not bottling up emotions,” Kim insists, carefully bottling up the emotions this accusation stirs.
Scott flies in, looking like A.J. McLean if A.J. McLean had to go on the run after being accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Kourtney says, “You reek of alcohol — how much have you been drinking?” Scott tells the talking-head camera that he literally had one glass of red wine on the plane. The Disick marriage is literally a torture chamber. A few Seinfeld-bass-solo-like dubstep blorps later — hey, dubstep trickled down fast, huh? — we’re whisked to a cleared-of-peons hotel gym, where Kourtney confronts a treadmilling Kim about summoning Scott to Miami.
The cat drinks out of the sink. Jonathan Cheban shows up. Now everything will be OK. Khloe talks to Jonathan about Kim’s divorce. It’s like Kim’s divorce is the money from the Lufthansa heist and Khloe is Morrie from Morrie’s Wigs. Cheban calls Kim to make sure she’s not bottling up her emotions about the divorce. The girls return to Miami’s charnel-house of a Dash store and grudgingly acknowledge that some progress has been made; Kim takes Khloe aside and accuses her of contributing only “bad energy” to her situation.
“Is this an ambush?” Khloe asks.
“No, it’s not — I’m trying to whisper to you in the corner,” Kim says, in front of a bunch of about-to-die-of-awkwardness Dash sales associates and the camera crew that is capturing this moment for subsequent broadcast into tens of millions of American homes. Kim explains to Khloe that she’s already cried about her divorce for months and months, but eventually decided to “let go and let God.” She does a Namaste thing with her hands; Khloe says, “OK, Maya Angelou, I get it.” Um, it’s Dr. Maya Angelou and also that reference makes no sense. Khloe promises to leave it alone if Kim will do one thing for her; the one thing turns out to be a faux-cathartic exercise where they break plates on their hotel balcony while yelling. It feels like a producer-generated assignment, and I refuse to describe it further.
Later a no-hard-feelings girls’ night is convened with the staff of Dash Miami; everyone drinks rosé champagne except for compensated Midori endorser Kim, who sticks to — or at least holds a giant tumbler of — America’s most Kim Kardashian-endorsed glowstick-juice-colored muskmelon liqueur. Khloe and Kim enjoy the first Drunk Montage of the evening; afterward, they convince Scott to take them to go get pizza, instead of availing themselves of the professional driver undoubtedly waiting for them downstairs, because (as Khloe puts it) “We don’t want to be intoxicated around other people.”
Which, OK, again, is a weird thing to say in front of everyone who has basic cable. But not wanting to let your driver see you drunk is actually very Kardashian. The Kardashians are rigorously self-controlling, tightly wound people, particularly Kim; the fact that this night is turning into a mini-bender is actually pretty out of character. Anyway, on the way to the pizza place, Kim makes them stop at a Shore Store-style souvenir emporium so that she can buy a trucker hat that says “YOLO” on it, because it’s mid-2012. Jonathan Cheban, America’s least-busy publicist, meets them at the pizza place — it’s after 1:40 in the morning — and poses for pictures with Mercy, who’s still there, because if there’s one thing tiny defenseless kittens like more than riding around loose in a car, it’s pizza.
Scott goes home to take shit from Kourtney, who assumes he’s been out partying. He’s all “I just drove them to go get pizza,” Kourtney’s all “You’re not being fulsome in your replies.” I knew I’d turned a corner with this show in some irretrievable in-for-a-pound kind of way when I started to feel empathy for Scott Disick, but in this scene it’s impossible not to. Keep your head up, Scott. Lords never worry.
Drunk Montage 2 ensues, as Kim and Kourtney repair to a surprisingly normal-looking bar and drink Midori directly from the pour-spout, eventually becoming the first Westerners in history to finish an entire bottle of Midori and liberate the angry Japanese melon-spirit that lives at the bottom. They are doomed. In the morning, Kim wakes up missing both her memory of the night’s activities and her cat, and there’s a moment of panic until it turns out Kim handed the cat off to Jonathan Cheban, who took it home and fed it whatever a person like Jonathan Cheban has on hand to feed a cat. I’m guessing caviar and Restalyne.
Some real serious tidying has gone on at Dash. Everybody marvels at how spacious the back room looks now that they’ve gotten all the junk out of there. Or most of the junk: Roya hand-waves a bunch of boxes containing unsold copies of Kris Jenner’s memoir Kris Jenner … And All Things Kardashian, says “These will be gone.” Someone off-camera (I’m 90 percent sure it’s Khloe) says, “I mean, enough with her books already.” Fahrenheit-451-degree burn! There are still things to complain about, though. This ugly air duct on the ceiling. This store needs to move to a bigger location. In some of the shots of Kourtney, you can see a bunch of female fans with cameras in the background, pressing their faces against the store’s windows. It must be like looking through the kitchen doors at a Planet Hollywood and seeing Sylvester Stallone personally deep-frying Cap’n Crunch Chicken.
Khloe and Kourtney take Mason to the beach. Khloe tells Kourtney to stop giving Scott such a hard time. Khloe says, “You’ve gotta, like, believe in him a little, and maybe he’ll believe in himself.” OK, Maya Angelou. Kourtney pokes at the sand with Mason’s plastic shovel. She looks unconvinced, although at the end of this episode there’s a “One Week Later” epilogue where Kourtney surprises Scott by having his new white Rolls-Royce Phantom shipped out from California and Scott surprises no one by dressing up like Tom Wolfe to drive it around.
Khloe buries Mason in the sand. In the distance, in the version of this show that exists only in my mind, “Hell of a Life” plays while Mercy is picked up by a wave and carried out to sea, but nobody pays any attention.