If you are a fan of the titular reality TV family, then it is no surprise a lot was riding on The Kardashians Season 3, in part due to last season’s lackluster reviews. Not one to go down without a fight, Kim Kardashian sought out a well-tailored-focus-group – her 75 million Twitter – ahem, sorry, X followers. With a few simple keystrokes, Kim tweeted on November 23rd, 2022: “What do you guys wanna see for Season 3 of The Kardashians? Do you guys like family stuff? Work stuff? Kids stuff? BTS shoots? Family pranks?”
Most fans pleaded for a more authentic look into their already very public and sometimes messy lives. Others were displeased with Kourtney’s ex-partner and father to her three children, Scott Disick, being diminished to cameo-like appearances last season. Scrolling through endless responses, it was clear the audience was missing the magic from seasons past. So, how did Season 3 measure up to expectations? In a word – meh. There were enjoyable moments, however, overwhelmingly, this season missed out on the Kardashian magic.
Scott returned and shared screen time with every family member aside from the obvious, Kourtney. He partook in some fairly heavy conversations, including Khloé’s feelings surrounding her surrogacy, and broke the tension with levity when needed. Sadly, not even Lord Disick’s public proclamation in Episode 8 – admitting directly into the camera that he alone is responsible for his actions, not the Kardashian women or even the silly and innocent family pranks – were enough to save this season.
However, this season’s shortcomings might not be all the family’s fault.
Unfortunately, the Kardashians Season 3 premiere streamed the day after the highly-anticipated first installment of the Vanderpump Rules reunion as well as the same day that the uncensored version of said reunion dropped exclusively on another streaming platform. Reality TV enthusiasts went so far down the Scandoval rabbit hole that, by the time they climbed out a few months later (some are still climbing out), expectations for genuine dramatic moments had been elevated. They grew tired of overproduced segments where the principal castmates foreshadowed the entire season’s storylines in the first few episodes. Preferably, this conversation takes place somewhere one feels safe, somewhere like their bedroom or bathroom – or, as we saw in the Season 3 premiere of The Kardashians, both.
The first storyline foreshadowed is quite possibly one of the dumbest fights you’ll ever have to sit through – the Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) debacle. This is saying a lot, as the great ‘itching is not considered low-grade pain’ fight between Genevieve and Aaron from Bachelor in Paradise still lives rent-free in our brain. As Kris and Kim first breathed life into this D&G storyline, it wasn’t shocking that it took place in Kim’s large, minimally-decorated, beige-marbled bathroom. It was shocking that their attempt to create drama from something so vapid and boring lasted the entire season.
It wasn’t until Episode 7, aptly titled “Deeper Than Dolce,” that Kourtney and Kim finally sit down to hash out their “true” feelings about who “owns” the D&G 1990s look more. This conversation, which received accolades from their production team, took place two whole episodes after the fashion show Kim creative-directed and six episodes after this manufactured mess was first mentioned. Naturally, it was brought up one more time, two episodes later, in Episode 9. It’s hard to understand why so much screen time was dedicated to this nothing fight, especially when the real fashion scandal was being overlooked; did the cameras magically stop recording whenever someone mentioned Balenciaga during filming??
Kim had already been so bold to fire back at Season 2’s criticism in the second episode of Season 3: “We’re sharing every last detail of our lives.” Granted, in an attempt to show a more authentic reaction, Kim did open up about her divorce from Kayne West. While sitting on her bed with Kris, Kim shared her struggles of staying silent to protect her children versus publicly speaking out against Kanye’s actions. Kim also revealed she cannot fall apart; she has to be the rock for everyone. Coincidentally, also in “Deeper Than Dolce,” Kim allowed herself to finally break down with Khloé after Kanye’s anti-Semitic remarks in October 2022. Two episodes later, in “Feel, Deal, Heal,” we watch Kim comb through racks of clothing Kanye left for her, not caring what became of them. She cataloged important pieces for her kids and donated anything that held no memories.
While these moments allowed the audience to grow with Kim, it was still hard to overlook the gaping hole that was the Balenciaga scandal. Kim had plenty of opportunities to address the matter throughout the season. After all, they shared every last detail of their lives, right? Wrong. Instead, we were shown yet another sales pitch segment on one of the many Kardashian brands. If going to work with a Kardashian wasn’t enough to distract from what screentime could’ve and should’ve been used to address the Balenciaga S&M-bear in the room, we were meant to be entertained by another Kendall and Kylie earn-their-pay-cheque-by-participating-in-some-activity segment.
Balenciaga was not the only opportunity the family failed to seize this season. Khloé, by far, had the most interesting and relatable storylines, and they were under-utilized. She shared her recent melanoma diagnosis, as well as her feelings on surrogacy and the subsequent bonding troubles she experienced with her newborn, Tatum. However, these storylines were given little to no room to grow. Perhaps this reality TV royal family has lost their magic, as the more interesting, complex, and relatable storylines were the ones least explored and glossed over quickly. If the Kardashians wish to hold their reign, they must change their approach next season…as they were meant to this season.
All episodes of The Kardashians are now streaming on Disney+.