The Kardashians Know Season 2 Of Their Show Was A Flop. Now They’re Trying To Win Us Back.
From the moment they burst onto E! Entertainment back in 2007, the Kardashians’ rise to the top of the pop culture landscape was fueled by never-ending, high-octane drama that defined their busy lives, allowing camera crews to capture their most intimate and unfiltered moments.
It’s for this reason that longtime fans have been left largely disappointed by their new reality TV era on Hulu, which has seen the family scale back on drama in favor of mundanity and brand promotions.
After lukewarm reviews for Season 1, the second series of The Kardashians got off to a surprisingly juicy start in September 2022 with an explosive premiere providing new insight into Khloé Kardashian’s surrogacy journey after Tristan Thompson’s messy paternity scandal.
However, despite starting on a high, things went gradually downhill in the following weeks as it became increasingly obvious that the show was actively skimming over a ton of huge plot points and public scandals that unfolded in real time while they were filming the season.
For example, instead of giving fans an inside look at how Kim Kardashian navigated her highly public divorce from Kanye West — who has legally changed his name to Ye — throughout February and March while filming was underway, the show spent three episodes unpacking Kris Jenner’s hip replacement and essentially erased the existence of Kim and Ye’s major feud.
And while the producers previously teased the “amazing” footage from Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s three weddings in April and May that same year, fans wound up getting only snippets of their various dress and suit fittings in the lead-up.
On top of this, one of the biggest selling points throughout the (notably scaled-back) promotional cycle for the second season was Kim’s much-talked-about relationship with Pete Davidson, with the show’s executive producers hinting heavily that viewers could expect to see a lot more of the comedian on the show.
But once again, fans were left disappointed when Pete only appeared on camera in one of the season’s 10 episodes, prompting widespread speculation that his screentime had been severely cut after he and Kim split last August.
Obviously, in fairness to Kris and the sisters, there are numerous reasons why they may have opted to omit cameras from specific personal dramas that played out during the filming period — particularly now that the grandchildren are getting older and becoming more conscious of the family’s public presence.
Kim, for her part, has previously made it clear that she prefers not to talk negatively about Ye in the public eye, out of respect for their four kids. Meanwhile, Kourtney has aired frustrations with filming for the show in general — even going so far as to criticize the producers for the way they frame her storylines.
However, given that the Kardashian machine thrives on the unprecedented level of access they provide to such high-profile scenarios, the family's shift toward privacy — while still trying to maintain relevance and popularity for the sake of their respective businesses — has seen the public’s interest in the show plummet.
After the Season 2 finale aired in November, viewers were in disbelief over the lack of content throughout the series, describing the whole thing as “boring” and “underwhelming.”
One thing nobody could say about the Kardashian’s was that they were boring. Well, after season 2- it can be said now. What WAS that? #TheKardashians
— Angelia (@angecuso) November 24, 2022
@angecuso / Twitter
In fact, the backlash became so intense that it wasn’t long before Kim took to Twitter to seek advice from the fans themselves, issuing a callout for feedback as the family prepared to go into production for the next season.
“What do you guys wanna see for season 3 of The Kardashians?” she tweeted. “Do you guys like family stuff? Work stuff? Kids stuff? BTS of shoots? Family pranks?” And, unsurprisingly, fans did not hold back in sharing their suggestions.
What do you guys wanna see for season 3 of The Kardashians? Do you guys like family stuff? Work stuff? Kids stuff? BTS of shoots? Family pranks?
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 24, 2022
@KimKardashian / Twitter
Among the responses, many pleaded for a more “authentic” edit — one that doesn’t skim over important events in the real timeline.
“You completely edited out all the important topics. What happened with: Astroworld? Travis cheating ? Kanye? Caitlin? Khloes excessive Facetune Kourtney’s wedding, Met ball etc. was boring we don’t care,” one fan wrote, adding: “Show us all or nothing!”
You completely edited out all the important topics. What happened with:Astroworld? Travis cheating ? Kanye? Caitlin? Khloes excessive FacetuneKourtneys wedding, Met ball etc. was boring we don’t care We still don’t even know Khloe/Kylies sons names. Show us all or nothing!
— Toni💜 (@doll_face_123) November 24, 2022
@KimKardashian / @doll_face_123 / Twitter
“The scandals, the drama, the crises….no one needs 4 episodes of you getting ready for Met or Kendall’s pretend foray into flipping homes,” added another, referring to a short-lived Season 2 storyline in which Kendall Jenner toyed with the idea of renovating a home.
The scandals, the drama, the crises….no one needs 4 episodes of you getting ready for Met or Kendall’s pretend foray into flipping homes.
— Francesca Bacardi (@OriginalFresca) November 24, 2022
@KimKardashian / @OriginalFresca / Twitter
Another issue fans had was that, in comparison with all 20 seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the new show has more of a focus on the sisters’ respective business ventures, from Khloé’s Good American line to Kim’s Skims empire.
And while platforming their companies via the show is obviously a worthwhile marketing strategy — and arguably central to the Kardashian business model — many viewers still felt that the show should hold more space for their personal lives and slightly less airtime for brand promotion.
“Something needs to change. The show feels like an infomercial,” someone tweeted in response to Kim. “Khloe as always is the only one sharing the real and the raw. We wanna see the Kanye drama, Travis Scott rumors, ray j controversy, etc. Also more kiddos. And less kravis PDA. OH AND BRING SCOTT BACK!”
Something needs to change. The show feels like an infomercial. Khloe as always is the only one sharing the real and the raw. We wanna see the Kanye drama, Travis Scott rumors, ray j controversy, etc. Also more kiddos. And less kravis PDA. 🥴 OH AND BRING SCOTT BACK!
— 〰️ (@misspettylamarr) November 24, 2022
@KimKardashian / @misspettylamarr / Twitter
Needless to say, one of the most prominent requests from fans was for the Hulu show to reconnect with the pure drama and authenticity that was at the core of KUWTK — and one of the key parts of that show’s success was Scott Disick.
There were countless replies to Kim’s callout that begged for Scott to resume his position as a core cast member after he was noticeably absent during Season 2, aside from a couple of very brief cameos alongside Kendall.
Ultimately, fans felt that if the sisters intended to use the show purely as a marketing ploy to maintain relevance, as opposed to sharing the personal details of their lives with viewers, then it might as well end. One Twitter user wrote, “If you can't be authentic don't do it at all.”
Sweet of you to ask. That show that you care what your audience wants. Bring back Scott. Less scripted scenes. If you can't be authentic don't do it at all.
— @6886XOXO (@6886_xoxo1) November 25, 2022
@KimKardashian / @6886_xoxo1 / Twitter
But as questions began swirling as to whether the Kardashian/Jenners may have finally lost their grip on reality TV, they made a surprising return — this time evidently eager to turn things around.
On April 27, Hulu dropped the trailer for Season 3 ahead of its premiere May 25. And in the two-and-a-half-minute clip, there are a number of signs to indicate that the family has listened to fans’ feedback, starting with the mention of Pete.
For some timeline context, the final scenes of Season 2 were shot in late July and early August 2022, soon after the birth of Khloé’s son and right before Kim and Pete’s breakup was reported.
Based on what we’ve already been told, it sounds as if Season 3 picked up filming around a month later, in September, meaning that fans have been eagerly awaiting an inside look at what went down — and it seems we might be in luck.
The dramatic cold open starts with Kim saying in a confessional, “I don’t even know where we left off,” prompting an offscreen producer to remind her that she was “still in a relationship” the last time the cameras were rolling.
“I was? Damn,” Kim replies with a smirk, heavily implying from the jump that we might finally get a little more information about the sudden demise of their relationship.
Of course, another huge factor in Kim’s private life around this same time was Ye's increasingly erratic behavior and antisemitic hate speech. This began in September and lasted until late November, when their divorce was finalized after a contentious legal battle lasting nearly two years.
Given that Ye and Kim’s messy divorce was scarcely acknowledged in Season 2 — although their public feud was at its height — it seemed somewhat unlikely that Kim would delve into the conflict this time around. However, the trailer seems to indicate otherwise.
In the next shot after the cold open, we see Khloé asking Kim if she’s OK. Kim immediately breaks down and responds, “No, not OK ... I'm just having such a hard day today.” Based on Kim's platinum hair, this scene had to have been shot before the end of November, which strongly suggests she was crying about her divorce.
Pulling back the curtain even further, it also looks as if we’ll get Kim’s real-time reaction to the official end of her marriage, thanks to a confessional in which a producer tells Kim, “Today your divorce was final.”
And it seems it won't just be Kim who addresses Ye's behavior. In another shot, we see Kendall praising her sister's response to the public conflict, saying, “I don't know how Kim handles everything with her ex-husband.”
This is followed by a conversation in which Kim and Kris seem to be discussing Ye's behavior more explicitly. “I don’t think you realize the weight of the world is on your shoulders,” Kris says, to which Kim responds, “He has made up the most insane narrative.”
Notably, Kim also looks set to address the reasons she chose to keep much of the ongoing divorce off the show prior to this season. In one confessional clip, she says through tears, “We stay silent through all the lies for my kids.”
Away from Kim's various relationship struggles, the trailer also indicates that Khloé will be sharing the process of having a precancerous melanoma tumor removed from her face. This first made headlines back in October, but very few details have been given since.
As Kris, the sisters, and her BFF Malika can be heard expressing concern for Khloé in the midst of her health scare, she states herself in a confessional that “melanoma is deadly” and that the situation was “way more serious” than she anticipated.
It goes without saying that the other huge — and currently ongoing — discussion about Khloé’s personal life during this time involved her complicated coparenting relationship with Tristan and the persistent speculation that the two have rekindled their romance after his various cheating scandals.
And while some fans have expressed fatigue with the continual focus on Khloé and Tristan’s relationship in the past, the trailer hints that Khloé will delve into the reports of a reunion, saying during a conversation with Scott that she’s giving him “no chances” at a reconciliation.
Which leads us toward one of the biggest selling points of the trailer: the return of Lord Disick.
If you’re an OG fan of KUWTK, you know that Scott — for better or for worse — has long functioned at the core of the show alongside Kris and the sisters.
Though his nine-year relationship with Kourtney was plagued by his struggles with alcohol and addiction, Scott was lauded for bringing much-needed comic relief and levity to the storylines, becoming the cast member behind some of the show’s most iconic one-liners.
However, in 2021 — when Kourtney moved on with her now-husband, Travis Barker, and any possibility of a reunion between her and Scott was crushed for the last time — it became clear that producers were struggling to find a way to incorporate Scott into the Hulu show without Kourtney feeling that his involvement was tarnishing her own narrative.
But after two seasons of reduced screentime for the Talentless founder, his numerous appearances in the Season 3 trailer indicate that fans could be set to see more of him in the next installment.
And while these are all appearances and plot points the show has been crying out for, it's fascinating to note that the trailer also contained a shedload more drama that we weren't expecting.
A large chunk of the teaser for the upcoming season is focused on what sounds like a pretty big falling-out between Kim and Kourtney over accusations that Kim exploited her sister’s wedding to land her Dolce & Gabbana collaboration.
For context, the Italian fashion house played a huge role in Kourtney and Travis’s wedding in May 2022. Not only did it design the couple’s various looks and dress the entire family for the festivities, but the wedding itself took place at Villa Olivetto, which is the estate in Portofino owned by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
So when Kim premiered her Dolce & Gabbana line during Milan Fashion Week a few months later, in September, many fans assumed that the two collaborations had been planned in advance and coordinated as part of the family’s wider relationship with the brand.
However, the new trailer reveals that this was seemingly not the case, with Kourtney accusing Kim of unfairly capitalizing on the day to further her relationship with the designers.
“My sister used my wedding as a business opportunity,” Kourtney says in a confessional before Kendall adds in the next scene that the Poosh founder felt that her “wedding vibes were stripped from her.”
To make matters more complicated, the trailer strongly suggests that Kim was blindsided by her sister’s “narrative,” claiming that she “couldn’t have been more mindful” when she embarked on the collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana.
Kourtney and Kim historically have had a complicated relationship, and for several months, there had been rife speculation that the pair were going through a rough patch. However, the confirmation that the rift was sparked by Kourtney’s wedding definitely comes as news to fans — which is part of what makes it so much more intriguing.
In fact, it's arguable that much of the failure of Season 2 was because so many of the family's scandals had played out publicly, meaning fans had high expectations for the behind-the-scenes details, which The Kardashians failed to deliver.
This time around, they appear to have adopted a very different approach. The sisters have been notably quieter than ever before since the beginning of 2023, leading some to declare that they were at the start of their downfall.
However, it appears that laying low and keeping their drama under wraps was part of a deliberate strategy to reinvigorate excitement and ramp up interest in the show by giving fans a glimpse at what’s actually been happening behind closed doors. Kourtney and Kim’s feud is the case in point.
Similarly, they also appear to be using the show to address some of the subjects they were called out for in Season 2 while also speaking to wider cultural issues — in this instance, the matter of toxic beauty standards.
It’s no secret that over the years, all the sisters have been faced with intense criticism for promoting unattainable standards of beauty, namely with regard to photoshop and plastic surgery allegations.
With their immense cultural power and social media presence, the KarJenners have been at the forefront of the glorification of airbrushed perfection, which they have consistently attributed only to daily workouts, without making space to acknowledge their access to assets like personal chefs and high-end cosmetic procedures.
They were also heavily criticized for their repeated focus on weight and being “skinny” in Season 2, with countless viewers switching off over the “triggering” and “disturbing” conversations.
Of course, one of the sisters at the center of this debate is Kylie, who has spoken only a handful of times about the way her appearance has changed over the course of her life in the spotlight.
But now it sounds as if she might be ready to address some of the speculation and criticism, telling her sisters in the trailer, “All of us just need to have a bigger conversation about the beauty standards that we’re setting.”
Whether Kylie will talk in detail about any specific procedures remains to be seen. However, it’s evident that she’s more willing to open up about the topic after experiencing motherhood, telling her BFF Stassie that she doesn’t want her daughter to “do the things” she did, and that she wishes she’d “never touched anything to begin with.”
One of the great appeals of KUWTK in the past was that the family never shied away from dedicating an episode to addressing public chatter or quashing rumors around their appearance — whether it was Kim X-raying her butt to prove it was real, or Kylie coming clean about her lip injections for the first time.
Despite this, they’ve been called out in the past for not acknowledging the beauty standards discourse. But using the show to address it is a surefire way to ensure engagement and viewership by the fans who have been desperate to see this content for years.
So, all in all, it seems that the third installment of The Kardashians will see the family take notes from both their successes and their failures, culminating in something that — hopefully — will play out very differently from the disappointment of Season 2.
And you don’t even need to take my word for it: They appear to directly hint at it themselves, declaring at the end of the trailer that they’re back, “and this time it’s personal” — but only time will tell if that promise holds up.
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