Jerry Seinfeld isn’t a fan of reality television. In an interview with sartorial online magazine Mr. Porter, Seinfeld explained that he’s not one to easily get upset with his kids. Yet there’s one thing that grates on his nerves: When they watch “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
I never lose it around them. The one time I really, really got upset was when my daughter was watching the Kardashians on her phone in her bed and I could not take that scene. For someone who for their whole life, television was the Olympics of being a comedian. It was only for the very best. You had to have everything. You had to go through all the different hierarchies of your career to get to television. I’m offended by reality television on many levels and that show of course is the premier example of reality television. These people are not doing anything interesting. I lost my temper with that one.
Seinfeld’s right of course, but it’s clear his irritation with the Kardashian family has more to do with their seemingly effortless and meritless ascent to television stardom, a venue Seinfeld clearly reveres as only appropriate for those who have slaved away in the bowels of Hollywood or endured the standup comedy circuit like he did.
While it does indeed seem unfair that this talent-free family has prospered on nothing more than self-promotion (to the tune of $100 million for four more seasons of vulgar showboating), the Kardashian clan’s greatest offence is hardly taking advantage of a system that rewards those who have the least self-respect. In fact, they might even deserve praise for figuring out how to game the system.
It’s About Content, Not Just Style
The really disturbing thing about the Kardashians is the content of their show—the dysfunction, cruelty and disloyalty to each other, pettiness and backstabbing, staged relationships and even marriages, the drug abuse, depression, sexual exploits, boundary-less living and hard partying, financial recklessness, and utter moral emptiness. Or how about how the family’s relentless pursuit of material wealth and fame has endangered Kim’s physical health and Rob’s mental health?
These are the things that should bother Seinfeld far more than the family’s bizarre meteoric rise and million-dollar payday.
The Kardashians aren’t the only ones producing unsavory content on television. Just last week, ABC suspended production of its reality show “Bachelor In Paradise” after allegations of sexual misconduct involving two inebriated contestants. The details are murky, but if we are talking about drunken hookups, one wonders: Isn’t that the whole point of that show?
The Kardashians Are Just One Example
Seinfeld also seems baffled that people actually want to watch ne’er–do–wells doing nothing. But he forgets that voyeuristic window-peeping into the lives of rich people is a popular sport. What else accounts for the popularity of such vapid gossip sites as TMZ and Perez Hilton? Most of the people featured in those outlets are similarly “not doing anything interesting,” unless, of course, you consider paparazzi shots of Jennifer Aniston filling up her SUV’s gas tank, Katy Perry lounging on a tropical beach, or a comparison of cellulite on the perfect-by-normal-standards bodies of young actresses to be interesting. Many do.
There is some good news, though. It appears the popularity of reality television in general and the Kardashians’ show in particular are beginning to wane. Americans are experiencing a bout of reality television fatigue and have grown tired of the gimmicks to gain their attention—such as the weird cross-pollination of genres (“Survivor” with totally naked people? Let’s give it a whirl! Blindfolded dating? Why not! B-grade celebrities and sharp knives? Heck yeah!).
While Seinfeld may have missed the mark on why we should all change the channel when the Kardashians appear, he’s still doing a public service by pointing out that there are far better things to watch on television—like old “Seinfeld” reruns.