Keeping Up With the Kardashians is turning 10. With the first Kardashian decade rapidly receding in the rearview mirror of a matte black Mercedes-Benz, it’s time to reminisce with America’s first reality-TV family.
Over the past 10 years, the Kardashians have changed in ways both subtle and obvious, spiritual and cosmetic. Princess Kimberly has graduated from organizing Paris Hilton’s closet to a walk-in personally curated by Kanye West. Kourtney finally broke up with Scott and is still the only sister with a college degree. Khloé got revenge, and Kris monetized two more of her children. But perhaps the biggest signs of the changing times are Kylie and Kendall Jenner, the youngest original cast members, who have managed to almost entirely eclipse their reality TV origins to become models, influencers, and moguls in their own right.
This Sunday night, the original cast of Keeping Up With the Kardashians—it’s the first “docuseries” to maintain its OG cast for a decade—will do what they do best: broadcast their perfect faces and zany family dynamics into the homes of millions of rabid fans. No matter how many waist trainers you buy or SugarBearHair gummy vitamins you consume (you really shouldn’t be taking more than two a day), you will never be a Kardashian. Still, the family has managed to build an entire brand on a potent mix of aspiration—they are the ones on TV, we are the ones binge-watching E!—and relatability. While the Kardashians may be in possession of shockingly shiny hair and enough Yeezy couture to dress a small nation of hypebeasts, they are, at the end of the day, a close-knit clan, as all-American as Jackie Kennedy or apple pie.
Modeled after The Brady Bunch, KUWTK is a simple show about beautiful, strange people who love each other even more than they love selfies or sponsored content or making lots of money. While the upcoming anniversary special is classic Kardashian fare—think lots of champagne, Scott and Kourtney bickering, Kendall staring vacantly at the camera and Ryan Seacrest freakishly never aging—the predictable montages occasionally give way to some surprising confessions.
During one break in the feel-good Kardashian camaraderie, the family recounts the devastation that followed Lamar Odom’s Nevada overdose. While the health scare has repeatedly been described as near-fatal, according to the Kardashians, they genuinely believed Odom was dead. Asked about the hardest moments she’s had to endure while filming, Kendall Jenner recalls, “I landed from Hong Kong to London, the first text that popped into my phone was from Kim, and it had said ‘Lamar passed away,’ and I immediately started sobbing on the plane. And then the next text came through saying actually he’s OK, he’s alive, but he’s not doing well.” Kim explains that she had also shared the (fake) news with Khloé, because “someone had made a fake account and emailed me with the wrong information.” She continues, “So just seeing Khloé… She fell, screamed on the plane—”
“I was screaming,” Khloé interjects, adding, “To think and to go through the motions as if someone has passed away is the most traumatic thing—it was too many emotions for any of us to handle.”
During a decidedly lighter segment, Seacrest grills Kim on the makings of Kimye, pushing her for details on how the rapper managed to maneuver out of the friend zone to become Kardashian’s current husband. Kardashian recalled how she met the rapper in “2002 or 2003,” when he was recording a song with her friend Brandy. (Who knew!) Apparently, Kim was so far from A-list at the time that Kanye didn’t even know how to pronounce her name; “He was asking his friends like, who is this Kim Karda-shawn,” Kim laughs. She also alludes to the power couple’s on-and-off again status—when Kourtney asks if something had been going on when the two appeared to be just friends, Kim muses, “I mean it was at one point, and then it stopped... you know how it is.”
Seacrest follows up by asking if there was a “seminal moment” when things changed between her and Kanye, to which Kim responds, “Right before I got married to Kris Humphries, we were like talking… and I just went a different direction, and I think I had to go through that to figure out what I wanted,” before admitting that Kanye was probably pursuing her at the time. She continues, “After my breakup I was feeling really low and down and he was like, ‘Just come to Paris and see my fashion,’ and so he jokes that he put on this whole fashion show just to get a date with me… and that’s where we started dating. And I swear from the moment I landed and was there I fell madly in love with him, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, why didn’t I do this sooner? This is what real life is like, and love and fun and real support. This is what it is.’” Sometimes all it takes is a 72-day marriage to realize your true destiny as the future Mrs. Kanye West.