It may be tough to hear this, but it’s true: while this whole Kim Kardashian-divorcing-random-NBA-dude episode (See? We forgot his name already) may seem like a giant PR bomb that will wipe Kim and her family from our pop-culture consciousnesses, in reality, it’s more of a bump in the road on the way to more Kardashian successes.
Why? Because Kris Jenner is a friggin’ genius.
And we’re not talking in an ironic way. We truly think that Mama Kardashian has done a great job manipulating her family into the spotlight, creating international stardom for every single member of her brood that will pay off for years to come. Of course, no genius performs his or her magic without criticism: Molly Lambert at Grantland did a fantastic takedown of “momagers” like Jenner and why it’s wise to be wary of people who use their family to turn a profit.
But, for every cynical move in the Kardashians’ career (the debit card fiasco, anyone?), there’s been a decision that, when taken objectively, can only be looked at as the moves of a diabolical genius who’s learned from her predecessors’ mistakes:
She has impeccable timing: If we’re to believe Jenner, Kim and E!, Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries was not a sham, perpetrated to make the family a bundle of cash. But the timing of the divorce itself could be called into question, for one reason: Kris has a book to promote! And, oh by the way, just as the story of the divorce hits every website and tabloid show on the planet, she’s got pre-booked interviews on “Today” and “The View” to plug that book! Kim could have filed last week, or next week, all things considered. But Kris used the bad news to put more of a spotlight on her, even if that spotlight came with a raft of tough questions.
Watch Kris Jenner on “Today”:
Her family is generally well-liked: The previous “generation” of famous-for-being-famous starlets — the Hilton sisters, Lindsay Lohan, Tara Reid — were all about as likable as those socks you left in your gym bag. They partied hearty, got drunk, and generally acted spoiled. The Kardashians, on the other hand, have kept their noses clean (except for Kim in one big exception… see below) by keeping things pretty shallow. They even have their roles: Kim’s the bombshell, Khloe is the smart/tough one and Kourtney is the nice one. The only people seemingly portrayed as jerks on the family’s reality show are mostly “invaders” (i.e. men), like Humphries, Scott Disick and Bruce Jenner. Speaking of Bruce…
She revived Olympic champion Bruce Jenner’s career: It had been a long time since Bruce Jenner was on that Wheaties box, and until “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the only thing the 1976 decathlon gold medal winner was known for lately was a very bad nose job. Now he’s probably even more famous than he was as an Olympic hero. All he needed to do was agree to be portrayed as a clueless, henpecked husband who is powerless over both his stepkids and the two burgeoning adults he and Kris had together. Hey, sometimes you need to make sacrifices to stay in the spotlight, right?
Watch Bruce Jenner on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”:
She turns embarrassment into cash money. The book situation is not the first time Kris has turned on-screen humiliation into cold hard cash. In an episode of “Keeping Up” from over the summer, we see Kris dashing to the bathroom because of some incontinence problems she was having. Most people would be mortified to talk about that in front of millions of prying eyes. She not only talked about it and got examined by her doctor on-camera, but she managed to land an endorsement deal with Poise, who makes pads for women who experience “frequent, unexpected wetness.”
Watch Kris Jenner deal with her “Pee Problem”:
And, last but certainly not least…
She managed to use her daughter’s sex tape to make her family international superstars. Think about it: less than five years ago, all we knew about the Kardashians was that a) their late father was one of O.J. Simpson’s lawyers, and b) Kim K had made a sex tape. Now, Kim is jetting off to Australia and being mobbed by crowds and paparazzi like any other superstar, fielding questions about her divorce. If that’s not the ultimate sign of genius, we don’t know what is.
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