Keeping Up With The Kardashians is the very definition of the old adage, “hindsight is 20/20.” Oftentimes, the events we’re seeing on screen actually happened about six months earlier. In that half-a-year gap, the Kardashian family is able to take headline-making situations that feel chaotic in the moment and give them an easy-to-follow and flattering narrative arc. Just look at how the reality show handled Kanye West’s very public mental health struggles in 2018.
Since the Kardashians have perfected this genius strategy over the last 12 years, it was impossible not to feel excited about season 16, which was bound to cover the Jordyn Woods-Tristan Thompson alleged cheating scandal. Not only did the timeline parameters of the season suggest the topic was inevitable, but KUWTK trailers heavily teased the looming conflict. With Sunday night’s “Christmas Chaos” we got our first real peek at how the reality series will handle the drama, which is only just beginning.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians is absolutely scandalized by Jordyn Woods’ mere presence.
The first time we see Jordyn she is standing next to then-best friend Kylie Jenner and Kylie’s baby, Stormi Webster. This is about two months before Jordyn would be accused of hooking up with Tristan Thompson, the partner and co-parent of Kylie’s older sister, Khloé Kardashian. The introductory Jordyn-Kylie moment is suggested to be part of montage, but when you really think about it, that doesn’t make sense. “Chaos” is using this time to introduce the annual Kardashian Christmas party, which is being hosted by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for the first time. We see pop star/songwriter Sia verbally greet baby True Thompson as Khloé looks at her glam in an iPhone mirror. Kris Jenner's boyfriend Corey Gamble waves to extended Kardashian family member CiCi Bussey across the soiree. Cici waves back.
Jordyn is the next person we see. She does not wave. She does not smile at anyone. She just mumbles, “Where is the dance floor?,” as Kylie holds Stormi. The cameras holds on Jordyn, rather than actual KarJenner Kylie, because Jordyn is the real focus here. It’s as if KUWTK simply wants to notify viewers as quickly as possible that Jordyn went to the holiday bash and stuck this snippet in here to accomplish that goal immediately. The team certainly hopes to make sure viewers know Jordyn was already looking to party seconds into the festivities. When Keeping Up checks back in on the BFFs a few seconds later, Kylie is the one talking about partying. Still, Jordyn is in the corner of the frame, just so we don't forget she’s there.
This habit continues into the final act of the episode, as “Chaos” jumps around the celebration. In one scene, Kylie and Khloé take a picture with their babies (the image would eventually make its way into an Instagram carousel). It’s a nice moment; one KUWTK reveals Jordyn was hovering over. Once the camera takes the KarJenner sisters in, it swivels around to show Jordan standing with the photographers, snapping pictures on her phone. If there was no scandal brewing in the series' future, it seems unlikely this fairly unglamorous shot would be necessary.
Seconds later, Keeping Up zooms directly into Jordyn’s face as she chats with Khloé about nothing in particular. “She just has the Jennergy,” Jordyn mutters as party chatter. It's filler that's only there to raise one underlying suggestion: This is the end of an era, and no one knows it. Right now Jordyn and Khloé are trading boozy niceties by the dance floor. A minute later, they're goofing off with Khloé's own best friend, Malika Haqq. In a matter of weeks, all of this will be over. Jordyn will be excommunicated by the KarJenners and put on public trial by social media in the aftermath of one night out with Tristan Thompson. It’s likely Jordyn will never go to another Kardashian Christmas Eve party again, even though general opinion has rightly swung back in her favour.
But, at this point in the story, none of that happened yet. Instead, Jordyn, Kylie, and Khloé are all the bedazzle-dressed best of friends. You can practically hear KUWTK, in the immortal words of Jonathan Van Ness, asking, “Can you believe?” For a group as unapologetically messy as the Kardashians, yes, we can all believe.