Fans of the Kardashian/Jenner clan are well aware that you see what they want you to see. The family’s long-running reality series Keeping Up With the Kardashians is no exception. Typically, KUWTK doesn’t lean into just how mega-famous this family is, preferring, instead, to give audiences a more intimate look at their personal lives. However, in season 18, episode 5 of KUWTK, it’s clear that this family can no longer skirt around the fact that their lives are wildly different than the average human’s.
Thursday's episode “Surprise, Surprise” features a few different storylines. In one, Khloé Kardashian waffles about whether to freeze her eggs or create full embryos with her ex-boyfriend Tristan Thompson, who is the father of her daughter True. Another moment includes the sisters planning a birthday surprise for their mother Kris Jenner that brings the family back to their childhood home.
It’s when the family gets to Kris’ boyfriend Cory Gamble’s birthday party (the Kardashian/Jenners happen to have a lot of birthdays in November, when this was filmed) that it becomes obvious just how famous these people are.
On this episode of KUWTK, Kim, Khloé, and (definitely not actually retired Kourtney) head to Napa Valley with Kris and Gamble for his birthday. At a wine tasting, Khloé compliments a woman’s Chanel beret. The woman looks totally starstruck, because, like...obviously. The sisters then go around to different tables and serve wine (okay), and it’s painfully apparent that the “normals” are just trying to be chill about it.
Later on in the episode, Kim goes through the McDonald’s drive-thru in Texas, where she’s visiting to assist with the case of death row inmate Rodney Reed. (In February, months after Kim’s visit, Reed’s appeal was denied by the Supreme Court.) As Kim eats her McFlurry in the back of the luxury SUV, the people working the McDonald’s drive-thru realize there’s a Kardashian in their midst. Someone on Kim’s team, at the behest of Kim, says that they can see her, as long as they provide them with one free Oreo McFlurry, with extra Oreos. (I am almost positive this is a joke, but…) Kim then rolls down the window, and the women scream with delight.
“I fucking watch you all the time,” one of the women exclaims, not realizing that soon she’ll be watching herself on KUWTK, too. “I love you.”
“I love you!” Kim replies.
It’s not like the show hides the Kardashian level of fame, exactly: The sisters do photoshoots, fly in private planes, have celebrity friends, and live overall lavish lives. Lately, however, it seems that KUWTK is no longer hiding the fact that it’s a reality show about extremely famous people. In the last episode, while Khloé was talking to Thompson about potentially freezing her eggs, he offered to donate sperm. Khloé replied: “That’s a whole other episode.” Which was this very episode (so meta).
Then there’s the fact that Kourtney has been very candid about her desire not to film as much of her personal life for the show — which she talked about routinely on KUWTK.
The Kardashians are getting meta — and maybe it’s a good thing. It may not be common for most of us to have adoring fans or reality TV cameras following our every move, but that is how the Kardashians truly live. Instead of dancing around that fact, the Kardashians are finally getting real.