This is the second article I write with its title including the Kardashians in it in less than two months.
The reason? the family made it big; they became a social phenomenon, and it is always thrilling to examine such phenomena.
Why did the Kardashians make it big?
It is a supply and demand story.
They’re rich, physically appealing, and entertaining with their daily life stories; and they are eccentric in each of these aspects. On the other hand, people love to be entertained by watching what other people do (a.k.a social voyeurism), love seeing the eccentricity and risk taking in others, and surely love good looks.
This is what makes the Kardashians an offering with a wide demand.
If we examine the Lebanese copycat of the Kardashians, The Sisters, the girls have many similar elements. Alice, Nadine, and Farah are typically models material, with tons of gossip, and potentially lots of luxury brand items in their closets.
There are however two main differences between ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ and ‘The Sisters’ show.
1) The Kardashians show is an authentic broadcasting of an affluent lifestyle inherent to the reality of a rich and sophisticated family, accompanied with overly extravagant possessions (cars, houses, closet items), real life problems, and a full-cycle of family relationships dynamics that hook people for their desirability and controversy. The Kardashians have captured a real sense of what reality TV is. Meanwhile, the Abdelaziz performance remains essentially non-authentic, and little does it convey to the audience that what in front of the screen is sincerely their ‘real’ life, and,
2) Speaking of the audience, the Sisters are unarguably performing to a much different audience. Lebanon with its widely judgmental or rather critical society cannot accept what an American society -typically bred on Pop Culture- can accept. Even more, the size of the American population and the diversity of its media platforms make the impact of one show much smaller than one that is broadcasted in Lebanon, with a small 4 million-sized population, on one channel out of a few, and to a society that is very harsh on pop phenomena.
About the show?
I just watched the show yesterday night in order to understand what all the rage was really about. I watched an episode and a half to get a real sense of the show. After a long day at work, I must admit it was a spa moment to my mind, a massage to all my brain cells as I did not have to work any of them. I was appalled in the sense that the girls performance was unauthentic, and added zero substance, but I was definitely less annoyed than watching a Lebanese politician lie to me over a morning talk show. I enjoyed trying to catch up on the interior design of the house where the girls are supposed to be living, and found them completely fit and well dressed which is eye-candy.
The show however is bad in its design, like really bad, and I hope LBC’s mistake that was followed by harsh criticism is taken as a lesson for all other TV stations in Lebanon not to repeat similar initiatives. I am not against The Sisters as a concept, I just think the show is very ill-produced. Reality TV does not always mean a pejorative word. Reality TV can actually be a powerful message to viewers if smartly used to embed constructive reflections of people lifestyles. The Sisters is just too far from there yet. But I would be very happy for the Abdelaziz family if they can manage to improve it.
Life is still Good, and it will always be.
It happened that lovely Diana, the fourth sister residing in Nigeria was a friend we know from school. When the show was first announced in February, my friends went on discussing the idea of reality TV shows and their impact on our society, mostly our teens. “Do I really want to raise my kids watching The Sisters?” “The government should ban such initiatives”, “My teen cousins believe that the extravagant lifestyle of Kim & Kloe is a real aspiration”, and so on.
Yes, unfortunately, there is a current brainwash for new generations that ‘rich and famous’ is the new way to go.
That said, I am personally not worried neither about The Sisters, nor about our society. What brings The Sisters and the Kardashians to life my friend is the same capitalistic system that brought to us Facebook, social media, the iPhone, a smart car, and soon, space travel. It is the same system that democratized voices and allowed me to speak today.
We have to accept that under a materialistic, acquisitive capitalistic system, every lucrative initiative that may seem like an opportunity for companies to make money (in this case, Ads), will try to thrive. But at the same time, the same system equally allows constructive initiatives to thrive, and we are hence exposed to good initiatives as much bad ones. It is a world where we have the choice to constantly pick value and add value.
Today I can choose to crash the Sisters, and whine about how the world is going downward, or I can otherwise use my energy towards efforts that matter, like creating a show that looks more appealing to teens and society than The Sisters, and broadcast it on YouTube for free.
I am never afraid about society going dumb; I am not worried about the concept of idiocracy that believes that people will eventually get dumber because of technology and its advances. In order to exist, the good and smart in us shall always prevail, and value will always manage to rise and find its way around weed, or else we would eradicate ourselves as a species.
We are meant as a race to adapt and become smarter, never dumber, and the wisdom of the crowd will always be capable of choosing where a better welfare lies.
Hence take a step back from the Kardashians and their clones as they will always exist in our society, and lean in towards what you can do to advance the world and how you can elevate the base level of knowledge and welfare. Live and let live, and the world will be just fine.