2023 Was The Year That “The Kardashians” Won The Public Back By Ditching The Business Plugs And Bland Storylines For Some Of The Best Drama So Far

Roughly a year ago, public scrutiny towards the Kardashians was at an all-time high after their show was branded a “chore” to watch by “bored” viewers. Today, things couldn’t be more different.

About a year ago, the Kardashians found themselves at the center of intense scrutiny after fans and critics across the globe declared that their Hulu show was in its “flop era.”

For those who missed it, it was widely agreed that Season 2 of their self-titled reality series, which aired between September and November 2022, got increasingly dull as the weeks went on.

This was largely because the KarJenners were noticeably refusing to share information about the personal dramas that were unfolding within their lives, and instead using their airtime to plug their businesses.

To give just a few examples, Kim’s navigation of her public divorce from Kanye West, who is now legally named Ye, was virtually omitted from the series even though filming was well underway while the pair were brutally feuding online. Plus, despite her relationship with Pete Davidson also being teased in both trailers and interviews prior to Season 2 airing, the comic appeared in just one of the 10 episodes, leaving fans super disappointed.

As mentioned, these juicy plot points were instead replaced with relentless business plugs — as well as rather dull storylines that really added no value to the show. Chief among these storylines were Kris Jenner's hip replacement surgery, and Khloé's surprise visit to a peacock farm. Even plot points of interest — such as the KarJenners’ Met Gala prep — were dragged out over the course of multiple episodes.

It’s worth mentioning that the KarJenners became as popular as they are largely thanks to the success of their former E! show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which first aired back in 2007.

KUWTK was reality TV at its finest, and crucially held absolutely nothing back. It showcased the highs and lows of all the family's personal lives — from Kourtney and Scott Disick’s turbulent romance, to each of Khloé’s ex Tristan Thompson’s messy cheating scandals.

And so, with Season 2 of The Kardashians essentially doing the stark opposite, viewers across the globe ended up branding the Hulu show a “chore” to watch.

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Well, when Season 3 rolled around in May, Kim, Khloé, and Scott ended up addressing the fierce backlash in an episode where they dissected viewer feedback.

And while their response to the backlash featured a whole lot of deflection, it was apparent that the KarJenners ended up taking notes on viewers’ criticism and shifting their approach to producing great reality TV.

Over the months that Seasons 3 and 4 were filmed, the KarJenners largely kept to themselves. There were very few social media posts, public appearances, or stories surfacing in the press. Kim herself even posted about being in her “quiet girl era.” As a result, viewers didn’t have any expectations about what kind of content would be featured in the show — because we didn’t really know what was going on in their personal lives.

And so, fans were excited to see the introduction of more dramatic storylines in Season 3 — such as Kim and Kourtney’s feud over Dolce & Gabbana, and Khloé’s struggle to connect with her second son.

But Season 4 is where the KarJenners really hit the nail on the head.

For starters, the latest season has featured some of the most brutal arguments we’ve seen in a long time. Kim and Kourtney’s yearslong tension reached an all-time high, with the Season 4 premiere episode displaying their heated phone call — during which Kim infamously weaponized Kourtney’s kids and friends against her, leading Kourt to label her a “fucking witch.”

The season opened with this phone call, showing the family's commitment to delivering the drama viewers had been desperate for as quickly as possible without holding the story back or teasing it for ratings. But this scene also showed the sisters actually addressing their issues with brutal honesty and detail. They finally gave us the true, unfiltered version of events as opposed to the restrained, sanitized accounts we've become used to over the last two seasons.

Khloé and Kris Jenner also butted heads this season, with the 39-year-old finally airing her grievances with Kris’s poor management and lack of adequate support — something that has been whispered about for literal years. In fact, Kris has been more of a peripheral side character since The Kardashians began, but this plotpoint finally put her — and complex KarJenner family dynamics — back at the center of the show.

Then, of course, we have the Tristan Thompson Redemption Arc — aka the show’s attempts to paint Tristan in a super positive light after his heartbreaking betrayal of Khloé. The athlete cheated on her numerous times and impregnated another woman during the course of their on-again, off-again relationship, and yet the family have repeatedly welcomed him back with open arms.

While this storyline has been recycled numerous times over the years, viewers were pleased to see Kourtney — and her 11-year-old daughter, Penelopekeeping things real with Khloé’s problematic ex this time around by refusing to accept his lackluster apology for years of betrayal.

And although Khloé was criticized for being too forgiving of Tristan, her reminding him of the extent of his behavior — and mentioning his “other son” to his face for the first time — is something that felt like TV gold.

Amid all of the Tristan content, we also ~finally~ got some fresh insight into his cheating scandal with Jordyn Woods, four years on from the drama.

Back in 2019, Tristan infamously kissed Jordyn — who was, at the time, super close with the Kardashians as the best friend of Kylie Jenner. The scandal left internet users across the globe truly shocked, and ultimately saw Kylie and Jordyn’s friendship come to an end virtually overnight.

And on this season of The Kardashians, Tristan looked back on the night he kissed Jordyn, admitting that he “should have handled it differently” before sitting down with Kylie herself to talk things through.

This conversation was a standout moment for viewers, given that up until this point, while Kylie had sneakily and subtlety dragged Tristan on occasion, she’d not addressed the extent of the way his actions impacted her friendship with Jordyn. Of course, the KarJenners infamously axed Jordyn out of their inner circle following Tristan’s infidelity with her, meaning that her once-close friendship with Kylie was inevitably damaged.

“I know how much she meant to your life, and your guys’ connection was, you know, two peas in a pod,” Tristan told Kylie, acknowledging just how close of friends they were for the first time. He later offered a “long-overdue” apology, saying, “The fact that I came with my poor decisions and being a fucking idiot, and just being young and stupid, I wanted to say I’m sorry again for that.”

As for Kim, she’s seemed far more carefree this season. Not only did she actually referenceand joke about — her divorce from Ye, but she also got more candid than ever about her parenting struggles and the reality of raising four children: North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm.

This was the first time we’d ever really seen Kim getting honest about her and Ye’s dynamic, and the struggles of raising her kids. In fact, in previous seasons of the show, Kim has been accused of holding back when it comes to sharing information about Ye and the reality of coparenting with him.

In one standout episode this season, Kim opened up about the way her eldest daughter, North, repeatedly tells her that Ye is “the best” parent because he “doesn’t need a nanny” or a “chef” like she does. Then, in the penultimate installment, Kim got candid about navigating North’s brutal honesty — something that has been a topic of conversation online for years.

Speaking of the KarJenner kids, this season has featured so much content around them. North, who is 10, was filmed hilariously dragging Kim’s ex Pete to filth over his Met Gala outfit, while Kourtney’s daughter Penelope received praise from viewers for sharing her unfiltered thoughts on her dad’s problematic romantic history.

Not only has seeing more of the kids given viewers a clearer insight into the KarJenners' different parenting approaches, but they've become some of the most viral moments of the whole season and got people talking about the show in a way we haven't seen since KUWTK.

What’s more, this season has seen the KarJenners come together for their classic family gatherings multiple times. From their group vacation to Cabo to Scott’s lavish birthday dinner, viewers were treated to so many candid, seemingly unscripted interactions between the family members — the likes of which have been seriously absent in previous seasons.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, we also got an oh-so-casual pregnancy reveal from Kourtney.

Yes, the world already knew that she was expecting, given that by the time the episodes aired, she had already welcomed the little boy, Rocky Thirteen Barker. But Kourt’s reveal marked a huge shift in the way the KarJenners previously capitalized on pregnancy announcements.

Instead of saving her news for a special episode or shielding it from the show to increase public interest, Kourt candidly shared that she was expecting during Season 4’s penultimate installment. Crucially, though, she went on to share cute behind the scenes details of her announcement to the world, as well as candid conversations about the impending arrival with her family and other children. This casual yet candid approach proved, once again, that the Kardashians know exactly what the viewers want.

And so, it’s safe to say that the KarJenners well and truly delivered this year. Here’s hoping they keep this momentum going into Season 5!

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