It's no easy feat to Keep Up With the Kardashians, but Mariah Smith does it better than, well, anyone. This is, in part, due to the nature of her column for The Cut, called "Keeping Up With the Kontinuity Errors" (aka KUWTKE). In it, she nails down concrete time frames in which events actually happened and compares them in relation to when the show's scenes are filmed. The result is an exposé of plot holes and continuity errors galore.
KUWTKE examines the characters' performative selves, portraying a glamorous yet often mundane lifestyle, through the lens of accountability. To give a Kardashian-centric metaphor, it's akin to one of Kris's children calling her on her theatrics. And with the perspective and context this column provides, it becomes clear that this is largely what the show is driven by: theatrics. Though based on real events, the show's unpacking of family drama seldom, if ever, sticks to a factual timeline, as evidenced by Smith's brilliant column.
Fret not, Keeping Up stans. This only affirms the true nature of guilty-pleasure reality television — it should be taken at face value for the light-hearted confection that it is. In other words, it's not that serious. In turn, Smith's critique, though serious in nature, is a hilarious entity in its own right. We spoke with the self-proclaimed "Kardashian truther" about how the column came about, the method behind her madness and her IRL exchange with Khloé regarding KUWTKE. Not all heroes wear capes, folks.
Have you always been into the Kardashians?
The funny thing is, I was actually just thinking about this. I don’t think there was ever a time where I didn’t enjoy them because, as most of us who enjoy entertainment, I don’t remember when they weren’t on TV at this point. And when they first got on the scene, I didn’t really pay much attention to them and I don’t know when I exactly started watching the show every week as a viewer and then when they were on Instagram and Twitter. I was actually looking through to unfollow people, and you know how it shows you who you have followed from the beginning? Since I’ve had all my social media accounts, right after my family I followed the Kardashians and Jenners, which is pretty...sad [laughs]. But so I was like, "Oh, I guess they’ve been on my radar for years." When I started the blog, and what I try to maintain is, yes, I actually do probably feed off finding inconsistencies, but I wouldn’t enjoy doing that if I didn’t enjoy watching them or seeing what they’re wearing or what they were doing or where they are going. So, I don’t think there was ever a time where I disliked them. I’ve disliked their behavior at points, but never them. It’s almost like a family member; you want the best for them, but you can’t help but tell them what they’re doing wrong and how they can do better.
How did this column come about?
I was watching an episode a few years ago when Kim was pregnant with North. The storyline was something like Lamar and Khloé were still together and Khloé was deciding whether or not she wanted to adopt a child. I was watching and I remembered a scene from an earlier episode when Khloé had dark brown flowing hair and Kim was obviously pregnant and they were starting this conversation. And then in a scene later in the episode, Kim was sitting on a patio chair outside of Kris's home with a pillow over her stomach and Khloé had sort of blondish hair and they were talking about their earlier conversation as if it had happened the day before. So immediately I’m like, "OK, wait a second, I remember seeing Khloé with this hair after Kim had given birth to North, so there’s no way these even happened within the same week." So I started digging and realized how easy it is for me to find that they were filmed months apart. I was talking to my friends and I was like, "You know what? I wish I could actually write about this." And so I did. I created the Tumblr mostly for myself and my friends because I thought it was just funny and it was simple to sort of do, and then I guess people enjoyed it and here we are.
It seems like each column requires a significant amount of sleuthing. How long does it take to put one together?
It varies. My first time doing the blog, it took me maybe, and this is sort of embarrassing to say, but like upwards of 12 hours to go from start to finish. So what I typically do is, by the time the blog is posted, I’ve seen the show probably four times. The first time I watch it, I’m almost watching it passively to see what catches me and taking notes on the storylines I really want to focus on. Some things I’ll see them wearing and I’ll know immediately when that was, so I have an approximate month or season or trip of when that outfit or glam was from. I’ll double-check myself with their social media, the internet and their teams’ social media to have at least three sources per date that I pull. It basically is almost a game of memory where I look back and see what’s on Instagram, what I saw on Snapchat and what I saw on Twitter.
And how long does it take now?
I’d say now, I cut that in half. But it all sort of depends on my regular job [Ed. Note: Smith is a research associate producer on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live ] — some nights I don’t get home until about 12:30 at night. I think now, start to finish, six hours.
Have they ever acknowledged the column?
Last year, I met Khloé and my friend said, “Oh, yeah, she writes this blog ‘Keeping Up With the Kontinuity Errors,’ which tracks the continuity errors in the show.” And Khloé was like, “Oh, um, do we have a lot of errors?” I was like, “Uh, yeah, kind of.” She was like, “So you do this for every reality show?” and I was like, “No, just yours.” She said, “Oh, I didn’t know we had continuity errors…”
Some people from Jenner Communications have followed me on Twitter or Instagram, so I don’t know what that means or is, but I really...I like to work under the assumption that they don’t, that would make me feel happy. Because it’s not necessarily for them. Like you know you’re sitting down three months later to talk about a conversation or an event that happened last year, so it’s really not like groundbreaking news.
Will this show ever end? I feel like they’re so tired of doing it.
You know, that’s a good question. I think that they are tired of doing it, but they’ve been doing it for I think nine years, so what’s another nine more, essentially. And as I think about it, they’re really filming all year long. There’s never a time, there’s maybe a few weeks out of the year when they’re not filming consistently, and that’s their “normal,” so I don’t know how they would behave or engage with daily life if that weren’t the case.
(Photo: London Entertainment /Splash)
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