The Kardashiad, Part 23: Have You Ever Had Sex in Exchange for Money?

E! Keeping Up with the Kardashians

I just recap this show, I don’t review it, but I’ll tell you this for free: I miss Greece. Everything seemed charged with importance when everyone was in Greece. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt quite as much. What an arc. I didn’t know how good I had it.

[Deep sigh.]

So Kim’s got a walk-in closet at the Jenner house now and she and Kylie and Khloe are lounging in it, dicking around with, like, baubles and shit. “My new thing is jeweled necklaces,” Kim says. “Overdoing it.” She pulls out something Trinidad James might wear to his coronation as Scorpion King. Kylie says “Chokers are so in right now,” and Kim says “They are?” Kim talks about how amazing Kylie’s Tumblr is. There’s a shot of Kylie’s amazing Tumblr. (And many shots of it below.) I guess if you’ve never seen a 16-year-old girl’s “edgy” fashion blog before it’s pretty amazing. I guess computers in general are pretty amazing, when you think about it. Kourtney walks in and Kim says, “Who did your makeup today? It looks horrendous.” Kourtney says something mean about Kim’s under-eyes. It goes on like that for a while; Kim keeps asking Kylie what she thinks, because Kim’s decided Kylie is some kind of style genius because Kylie knows how to reblog images of jorts and leopards and Rihanna.

Bruce is in Brandon & Leah’s recording studio. Brandon shows everybody how a maraca works and says “It’s amazing how simple an instrument can be.” Or a person. Bruce tells them he’s just spoken to his 87-year-old mother, whose third husband has recently died. Their relationship has had its ups and downs, Bruce says, but — OK, honestly, I think I checked my e-mail at this point and missed the rest of this scene. This plot thread will come back around, don’t worry. All you need to know is that Bruce Jenner was of woman born and now the mom’s a problem.

At a Kardashian Clothing Design meeting, excited British dudes hold up clothes while Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe nod and say “Gorgeous.” The British dudes have designed sweaters decorated with silhouetted unicorns, except the unicorns have long black Kardashian hair. They hold these up proudly, as if they’re magic cancer-curing sweaters. Kim says she thinks Kylie would want the sweaters to be cropped, to show a little belly button. Everything is cropped in the youth market, the designers agree. Kim keeps bringing up Kylie’s Tumblr. “She has the cutest sayings,” Kim says. (She posts Post-it-size nuggets of wisdom about heartbreak and the occasional inspirational quote from Wiz Khalifa.) “You have to look at her Tumblr,” Kim says. The British guys look dismayed. “What’s wrong with you?” Khloe asks Kim. Khloe diagnoses the problem in confessional: Kim is pregnant and worried about losing her cool, so she’s “Tumblr-stalking” Kylie. We see archival footage of Kim scrolling through Kylie’s Tumblr, staring longingly at a picture of herself in a lace unitard. “I just want to be, like, that cool again, y’know?”

Mason is Danny Torrance–ing around Kourtney and Scott’s house on a scooter. New/inattentive viewers are brought up to speed on the running Keeping Up gag in which Scott prank-calls Kris Jenner, puts on a Muppety voice, and pretends to be her old friend’s son, Todd Kraines, while Kourtney, Khloe, et al., ROFL silently in the background. Somehow even though Scott is making these calls from his cell or his and Kourtney’s home phone, and sounds exactly like Scott Disick doing a Muppety voice when he makes them, Kris has yet to figure out that her kids are behind this. Anyway, “Todd Kraines” tries Kris again and gets Jaclyn, Kris’s assistant, who doesn’t put the call through.

Kim is sitting in Khloe and Lamar’s backyard. Khloe brings out two giant salads and two giant goblets of orange juice. “So what can I do to get on Kylie’s blog?” Kim asks. “She’s so authentic. She’s, like, the real deal.”

“She’s 15,” Khloe says. Kim says Kylie used to put pictures of her on the blog all the time. Not anymore. “Kanye will send me album packaging,” Kim says, “like, two options, and say ‘Which one would Kylie like?’ It’s like she’s the end-all and be-all of cool … I feel like the mother.” You’re right, heavily pregnant woman, mothers are gross!

Like a supplicant, Bruce goes before Kris in her office, lays down his mom’s sad story for her — she’s 87, living out in the middle of nowhere in Idaho, newly widowed. Bruce says he wants to go to Idaho and see her and wants Kris to come with him. You can tell Kris isn’t into this idea. You can tell Kris’s finger is hovering over the button that’ll make Bruce’s chair tip him through a trapdoor into a shark tank. Instead she reminds him that Bruce’s mom has always been cold to her. They’ve seen each other only four times in the course of Kris and Bruce’s 23-year marriage. “The last time she came to my home,” Kris says, “I made her dinner, I made her brownies, I made her pasta. My favorite soup. I made her feel like a princess. She doesn’t even like me.” Why does it matter that it was her favorite soup?

Sock shoot! Kylie and Kendall and a male model, Blue Steel–ing it in Arthur George hosiery. Celebrity photographer Nick Saglimbeni — seen last week shooting Khloe in a latex catsuit — tells Rob that he’s gotta see the shots he’s getting. Nick says the shots look awesome. Nick calls Rob “the Sock Whisperer.” There’s a stuffed doll on the studio couch. The male model asks Kendall, “Where’d you find that little dude?” (It’s a Beanie Baby version of Captain Haddock, from Tintin, but nobody ever says this.) It’s Kylie’s, Kendall says. Kylie brings Captain Haddock everywhere. At the makeup table, Kylie looks at her phone, complains to Rob that Kim keeps texting her about her blog. “Kim acts like my blog is Vogue magazine or something,” Kylie says. “I’m over it … I’m like, you should make your own Tumblr and put up pictures that you like.” Seriously — how uncreative do you have to be that it’s beyond you to scroll through a Tumblr feed and push the “UHHH PRETTY” button every 10 seconds or so? Isn’t the biggest selling point of Tumblr that it’s almost impossible to be bad at it? I’m pretty sure one of my cats has a Tumblr. One of them might be behind this one, I don’t know.

Hey, so that Malibu beach house Kris rented last week, supposedly for the family? Bruce is basically living there full time. “I think it’s very weird that you live out here,” Khloe says. She and Bruce are sitting on the couch, in front of a window full of ocean view. Bruce is wearing purple aviators indoors. “I still spend a lot of time at the other house,” he says, which is not how you talk about a house you ever want to return to. Bruce complains some more about Kris’s refusal to go visit Grandma Esther and a whole lot of hand-waved away marital strife drifts gently out to sea.

Scott puts his foot down when asked to make another Todd Kraines call. “It’s become a job for me,” he says. “And I think we all realize the Lord does not like working.” At the Jenner house, Kim walks into Kris’s bathroom in a big denim shirt and a black beanie and asks Kris if she’s seen Kylie. Kylie hasn’t been returning Kim’s text messages and she’s not in her room. Kris says “She’s probably sorting out her beanie collection. OK, Third Sister? You make fun of me, for the last year, for being the fourth sister, like I don’t act my age, and you come in here looking like the third little sister. Are you my teenager?” Kim laughs a fake laugh — like, she literally goes “Ho … ho … HO,” like Sarcasta Claus — and says “Not funny.” Bruce suggests to Kris that instead of going to visit Grandma Esther in Idaho, they get a plane and fly her to California. Can Grandma Esther not take a regular plane? Kris grudgingly agrees, but not before giving a speech about wanting “to be in a place where I want to surround myself with really positive energy, and be with people I know love me and care about me, and want me to be around in a really positive way.” So, employees, basically.

Kim and Kourtney and Khloe are in Kourtney’s office. Kim says, “I just filled out my stem-cell cord-blood thing. It said, ‘In the past five years, have you ever had sex in exchange for money?'” Kourtney says “WHAT?” She’s shocked. The nerve of this form. It also said “In the past five years, have you ever had sex in exchange for drugs?” Khloe says, “What if you have [done] any of them? Can you not do the thing?” She does this darting, worried thing with her eyes that I’m going to assume is just her being a comic genius rather than actually worrying. They gather around Kourtney’s jewel-encrusted desk phone and call the real Todd Kraines. They explain the situation. Todd says, “You’ve got to be [bleeping] kidding me.” Todd says his mom, who’s Kris’s old friend and the reason the Kardashian girls know Todd, has given him so much grief about this. But the real Todd Kraines is a forgiving man. They ask him if he’ll come by their house on Monday to surprise Kris and Todd agrees. “This is going to be so amazing,” Kourtney says. “Thank God he’s in,” Kim says. “Can you imagine if he was like, ‘[Bleep] you guys’?” Actually, yes. Yes I can.

Kim’s in the car with Jonathan Cheban. Black Bentley, Cheban driving. Kim says, “I hate that my face is so fat that it looks like I have all this Botox,” she says. “Yeah, but everyone knows you’re not doing that,” Cheban says. Kim asks if they can drive up and down Melrose for a bit. “I want to find, like, new, cooler things,” Kim says. Blah blah blah Kylie’s blog. “She’s got that hipster style,” Cheban agrees. “I just want to see what that young crowd is about,” Kim says. “I used to die to walk up and down Melrose.” Cheban spots something in a store window, says “Look at this! That’s very inspiring,” and pulls the car over. It’s a mannequin wearing what looks like a midriff-baring Coolio costume made of bandanna. “Kylie would wear that for sure,” Kim says. “Hold on, let me take a pic.” She e-mails it to Kylie immediately. The whole moment is weirdly Gloria Swanson, and if any of it is even remotely unscripted, it’s one of the saddest things that’s ever happened on this show. Seriously, Kim: YOUR BOYFRIEND IS KANYE WEST AND YOU ARE A MILLIONAIRE. Also, the whole point of 16-year-old hipsters is that they will eat our hearts and leave us for dead.

At the Jenner house, the guard at the gate rings the intercom. Todd Kraines is here! And he’s a regular dude with a receding hairline! Scott reveals himself as the voice of Fake Todd Kraines. “These kids are nuts,” Kris says. So much for that scene. Later, Kris drinks giant martinis at the Palm with her friend Rhonda. Kris tells Rhonda she has to go home tonight and make brownies. Greasing the pan with spite, no doubt. “The problem is she doesn’t know what kind of person I am,” Kris says. When she lifts her martini glass back into frame it’s almost empty, so either she’s pounding these or this whole inane self-pitying conversation took half an hour. Based on how exhausted Rhonda looks I’m betting it’s a little of both. Kris talks about what a great relationship she had with Robert Kardashian’s parents. Rhonda says something about making amends, echoing something Bruce said to her earlier. Kris says, “What is with you people and the amends?”

Kim wants to soothe a Mexican-food craving at Casa Vega without someone taking a photo “of me stuffing my pregnant face,” but the universe has other plans. A guy in an adjacent booth holds up a phone, there’s a flash. “So rude,” Cheban says. Kim hides behind her menu, puts food in her food-hole. She looks at her phone. Sees pictures of Kylie at a premiere. She’s wearing a bunch of clothes stolen from Kim’s closet. Head-to-toe Kim. “I want to kill her!” Kim says. Does she, though? Isn’t she getting what she really wants, namely proof despite evidence to the contrary that hip 16-year-old girls still want to be Kim Kardashian when they grow up? Anyway: Kim and Cheban corner Kylie in the bathroom at the Jenner house. Kylie’s ironing her hair. She apologizes without making direct eye contact and Kim walks out unsatisfied, saying “You’re so sincere. What a sincere teen you are.” I wish Kim could stay hormonal and insane forever.

Bruce’s mom is here! Grandma Esther looks almost as much like a once-beautiful old woman as Bruce does. In the car on the way back from the airport, Bruce suggests that, during the party, Esther should take Kris “off to the side, and tell her, ‘You know what? I love you, I appreciate what you’ve done, we’ve built a great life together.’ Take her off to the side and make everybody feel better.”

“All of a sudden my mouth is so dry,” Bruce’s mom says. Bruce promises that when they get to the party they’ll get her a drink.

The party’s weird. Kris has invited only kids with Jenner blood — Brody’s not there, because he’s not in this episode at all, but Burt is, and so is an unidentified blonde, possibly Mrs. Burt. Kris says she did this because her non-Jenner daughters tend to be too protective of her. During the meet-and-greet look-how-you’ve-grown portion of the evening, Kris stares at Esther while passive-aggressively eating salad off a plate. She’s the only one with a plate in her hand. Eventually Kris offers Esther a glass of white wine and Esther asks Kris if she has any Canadian whiskey. Kris isn’t sure. (“I know there’s some Armenian whiskey,” she says.) She lets Esther search the bar herself. Bruce says, in voice-over, “The bottom line is, Kris is just a good ol’ down-home girl just like my mom is.”

Dinner conversation: Esther tells Kendall she needs to put a little weight on. Kris brings Esther a whiskey drink. She tells Esther she didn’t stir it, because she knows that’s how Esther likes it. Esther always says “Don’t bruise the whiskey.” Leah’s eating an oyster and Bruce makes a dumb joke about how oysters are an aphrodisiac. Leah says “Hell-LO.” Esther whispers in Leah’s ear. “One of my doctors said, ‘Obviously you’re not a smoker.’ I said, ‘You know, I smoke non-filtered cigarettes. It’s the filters that’ll kill you.'” Esther is my new favorite Jenner. I’d watch Keeping Up With Esther. I’d watch Esther and Burt Take Miami. Kris has to “leave early” for some Kim-related reason, but even in the face of this quasi-snub, Esther’s actually really nice to her when they say good-bye. Nicer than you can reasonably imagine an 87-year-old with a few whiskeys in her being to someone she hates. There’s more, but let’s just skip right to the “Next week,” because it’s amazing and absolutely not made up, unlike this entire story line.

Next week: Kim has procured placenta meat from somewhere and wants everyone to eat it; Rob gets into competitive chain saw sculpting.

Filed Under: Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, The Kardashiad

Alex Pappademas is a staff writer for Grantland.


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