Much of Sunday night’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians was decidedly carefree, likely to lighten up the mood of an episode whose centerpiece touches upon mass shootings, domestic violence, and the psychological effects of constant stalking. So, when “Dog Tired” wasn’t dealing with Khloé Kardashian and Kendall Jenner’s adventure into the world of guns, it spent a lot of time exploring Kim and Kourtney Kardashian’s dog-stealing war over their respective Pomeranians, Sushi and Honey. Amid the low-stakes drama, fans may have gotten a tiny peak at Kim’s mounting tension with her fan-favorite personal assistant, Stephanie Shepherd, who was reportedly let go from her KardashiLand post position last month after years with the family. If you watch closely, “Dog” circles back to just how tense Kim is over Steph’s growing friendship with Kourtney.
Kim’s greatest problem in the latest KUWTK installment is the fact her new family dog will not stop barking. The constant toy-like squeak is slowly driving Kim mad like an Edgar Allen Poe character. So, she decides she has to steal Kourtney’s dog Honey, who is as quiet as an actual stuffed animal, and leave her sister with the very loud Sushi. Kim believes the Kardashian-Disick household won’t realize what kind of canine treachery is afoot, but little Reign Disick, at just 2 years old, immediately figures out they’ve been bamboozled. Kourtney calls Kim to ask for her dog back, but the middle Kardashian is fairly cagey, since she’s now on the lam with a stolen pooch.
This is where Steph comes in. Kim is fairly successful at dodging Kourtney, who demands she returns Honey… until Kimmy and the absconded-with pooch are safely at casa Kardashian-West. Soon enough Kourtney shows up, and Kim is legitimately surprised to see her, since she didn’t tell anyone her location yet. “How did you even know I was home?” Kim incredulously asks; her sibling responds, “I have my sources.” It’s important to note the annoyance in Kim’s voice as she shoots back, “Who? My assistant?”
Kourtney refuses answer — continuing her Deep Throat-esque push to “never reveal the source” — but Kim’s hand has already been tipped. It doesn’t matter if Steph did or didn’t spill Kim’s whereabouts, because we now know the KUWTK star simply doesn’t trust her assistant. We might love Steph, yet, for Kim, she is literally the first person she would assume betrayed her. It’s difficult to imagine someone as suspicious as a post-robbery Kim would keep someone around whom she doesn’t have complete, unquestionable faith in.
This dog-related tiff over who spilled Kim’s dog-napping location reminds one of a different tense chat Kim had with Kourtney about Steph in an episode earlier this season, “Catch Me If You Cannes.” Amid Scott Disick’s threat-filled meltdowns and an investigation into Planned Parenthood, Kourtney informs Kim that Stephanie confided in her she “feels unfulfilled job-wise.” Kim’s jaw was already tight when she mentioned the basic fact her sibling and assistant went out the night prior, so this news is not exactly welcome. In fact, Kim’s reaction to Steph’s lack of fulfillment is an actual “scoff,” according to E!’s closed captioning.
Kim’s stance further shows her exasperation, as she tells Kourtney, “It’s inappropriate for her to talk to you and not me.” In confessional voiceover, we hear Kim then say, “I mean, don’t you think that’s just a little bit unprofessional … That’s a convo she should have with me.” Kourtney isn’t so sure, defending her “wifey” by explaining Steph’s admission wasn’t some calculated dis against Kim. Rather, the friends were talking about “life,” and Stephanie's dissatisfaction merely happened to come up as she mulled over where she’s heading in the future. Anyone who’s had a Deep Talk with friends over drinks knows how easily that kind of conversation can come up. That fact is why Kim says she finds it “weird” Kourt and Steph are wifeys, since, obviously boundaries are starting to crumble. But isn’t that what happens when an assistant is integrated into every single facet of your life, 24/7?
Khloé’s best friend Malika Haqq recognizes as much and predicts Kim is going to fire Stephanie if the Kardashian sister can't get a handle on her communication skills. “That’s where the problem comes in, because things just boil over and then, all of a sudden, it’ll be like, ‘Oh, I can’t have her work for me anymore,’” Malika, who herself had to tearfully stop working for BFF Khloé, says of the famously non-confrontational Kim. Weeks later, the Malika reality TV prophecy came true.
Similarly, Khloé tells Kim it’s her job to tell Stephanie what she wants from her, adding, “It’s not her fault you’ve never said anything.” So, Kim finally does ask Stephanie what’s going on with her career goals, and the ascendent assistant reveals she feels like she’s at “a weird place” in life. Kim seems to understand and appreciate Steph’s cador, but, as we see in “Dog Tired,” she remains a bit leary of her assistant for more than a month, considering when these two episodes were filmed. The Cannes storyline of “Cannes” places it in late May, while the new puppy plot and gun range visit of “Dog” put the episode it in early July.
No matter how Kim currently feels about Steph, Kourtney’s wifey is unbothered. She recently shared her self-care mantra via Instagram Story, reminding her followers, “Sometimes, it’s going to bed @ 8PM or letting go of a bad friend. It’s forgiving yourself for not meeting your impossible standards & understanding you are worth it. Self care isn’t always a luxury but a mean[s] for survival.” So, it sounds like Steph Shep is surviving just fine.
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