Why Kocktails With Khloé Was Kind Of Kalamitous

Courtesy of FYI.
Tuning into Khloé Kardashian's talk show is like arriving at a party and realizing you don't want to be there the second after you walk in the door. To temper that need-to-flee feeling, you drink — that's the "kocktails" part. A few adult beverages in, you're loose enough to think maybe you can have a meaningful conversation about race and sexism with like-minded party guests. Inevitably, you end up donning the host's inexplicable selection of wigs, or pirouetting around the living room while admitting to a past threesome, or hitting on the hot married guy who's making the desserts. This is the kind of outing that you regret the next day while nursing a hangover.
Put another way: Watching Kocktails with Khloé, which premiered last night on FYI, left me a little stupefied. From the contrived party games and the aggressive come-ons, to Kendall Jenner's prank phone call to a stressed out, breast-feeding Kim, there was no lack of garishness in the near 45-minute debut episode. It kicked off with Khloé reminding viewers, "Yes bitches, this is another Kardashians show — you love it," while chilling in the faux kitchen with an awkwardly posed Kendall and personal chef/cocktail-crafter Sharone Hakman. (Hakman, a former Master Chef contestant, is Khloé's sidekick as well as Kocktail's standing man candy, it seems.) The doorbell rings: Who kould it be?

Comedian Kym Whitley is Khloé's first guest, followed by Real Housewives star Brandi Glanville in a pair of leopard-print shorts that show off bronzed legs and peeks of butt cleavage. Then — surprise! — Aisha Tyler joins the mix. (No, seriously: I was surprised because I love her and would have never predicted that she'd sandbag on this particular reality show. But the appearance made slightly more sense after Tyler, a self-described "spirits enthusiast," gave Khloé a big bag of alcohol containing her own line of bottled cocktails. Everybody's selling something, right?)
Once the lady lineup was assembled, Khloé began taking her hosting duties seriously and turned the mic on Glanville, who declined to discuss her divorce but did bemoan the fact that "nobody stays together anymore." Khloé, of course, can relate — and pointed out how, when men are in the midst of divorce proceedings, they can do whatever they want. "Why am I cast as some jezebel, some ho?" she wondered aloud. Why indeed, Khloé. Why, indeed. But the star of the hour didn't dig in any further or offer any new details about her own divorce or recent romantic drama. It seems like we'll be staying on the surface — unlike at a real cocktails night, no one is spilling secrets or weeping uncontrollably in the bathroom. At least, for now: We'll see what happens next week. Another thing to note before committing to Kocktails: This show is loud. We're guessing the yell-speak is a directive to keep the energy up, but it makes it hard for any of the guests — or the host herself — to speak intimately or with nuance on any subject. Maybe that's the point, or a strategy to stop things from getting too real. But if there's anything to be gleaned from the first episode of Kocktails with Khloé, it's that brashness rules and leaves little room for thoughtful conversation. Soon, the questioning shifts to Kendall: The other gals want to know how she handles living — and dating, especially — in the public eye. One thing about Kendall is that she's pretty good at deflecting attention and playing wingwoman to her much more brazen siblings. After saying that she grew up with all the attention so she's used to it, she demurs, saying that she's had her big sisters to look up to along the way. Cue the "awww" track.
From there, the group embarks on a game that's based on Tinder called "Swiper." But in this version, you swipe right on who you would "bang," to use Khloé's word. (Actually, that's just Tinder. Let's be honest.) Turns out they mostly want to bang everybody — but Kym Whitley and Khloé would rather not bang Cate Blanchett, in case you're curious, because they like ladies to be a little meatier. Seemingly buzzed (except for Kendall, who cheekily says she's "not allowed" to participate in Kocktail hour), the women head to the couches where more embarrassing moments erupt, including Whitley doing jumping jacks and trying to get Hakman to pay more attention to her bouncing breasts. Then Kendall calls her sister Kim, who is at home breast-feeding baby Saint after a long day, and pretends that she's pregnant just to see what Mrs. West will say. Could this have segued into a conversation about a woman's right to choose? Maybe. Did it? Definitely not. Though the phrase "get rid of it" is invoked during the repartee, leaving me to believe this is tacitly pro-choice programming. I can get behind that. Also, Snoop Dogg shows up. (Why not?) He quickly becomes the center of the episode, fielding questions and edging the conversation toward the unbearable whiteness of the upcoming Oscars; Aisha Tyler tries to develop that train of thought, too.
But in the end, this is Kocktails With Khloé, not Socially Relevant, Mediated Discussions With Khloé, so the show closes with Snoop and Whitley enacting the real-life Twitter feud between Nicki Minaj and Farrah Abraham from last summer. Obviously they both wear wigs (which Khloé conveniently keeps on hand in her fake house) to get into character. So, will I be watching episode 2? Sure — the only place to go from the premiere is up. Despite the fact that Khloé doesn't have her hosting banter down quite yet, she's still the Kardashian I'd want to have a cocktail with in real life. Hopefully, as the show progresses, it will evolve into the kind of party that you want to stick around for. You'll still need a couple of cocktails to take the edge off. But instead of being slightly painful, it might even turn into a pretty good time.

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