Are there signs of Kardashian Fatigue?
13 August 2015, 18:04
New York — Blame the bunny.
Kylie Jenner's new bunny, to be exact. Kylie Jenner's new bunny is called Bruce, the same name that used to belong to her parent, Caitlyn Jenner, who racked up massive ratings for the premiere of her new reality show as a trans woman after racking up massive sales of Vanity Fair with her recent coming-out cover.
That's the same Caitlyn who is the stepparent of Kim Kardashian, who — also recently — took on haters claiming she's faking her latest pregnancy when she posed naked at six months along for her zillionth social media selfie.
That's the same selfie that has more than 1.7 million likes on Instagram.
You get the picture. But back to the rabbit.
John Brown, an anchorman in Florida on Fox's "Good Day Orlando," reached his limit of non-story Kardashian stories three days ago when he walked off the set upon news of the rabbit, and the rabbit's name.
"I don't care! I'm sick of this family. I can't take it anymore," he ranted.
That's the same rant that scored John Brown nearly 3 million views on YouTube, a mention on late-night TV and numerous follow-up interviews. Those are the same interviews that have John Brown so busy doing interviews that he now has a Fox corporate public relations person scheduling all his interviews.
You get the picture.
Brown's mad-as-hell moment, along with a 22-year-old entrepreneur's new "KardBlock," an Internet browser extension that filters out the Jenners and the Kardashians, has some people wondering about Kardashian Fatigue and whether it's finally setting in, both among fans and those of us who don't stalk said Klan on social media, shop at their boutiques, watch their TV shows or worship at the celebrity gossip altar.
"I'm not saying anything that a lot of other people haven't said," Brown explained to his big-league counterparts on Fox's "Good Day LA" in his rant's aftermath. "Why it resonated with people right now, I have no idea. ... I have nothing against the Kardashians. They're doing what they should do, right? They're a business. My point is why do we feel the need to cover every single story, including the naming of a rabbit?"
Why, indeed, John Brown. But what is more important, at least to some, is this question: Will the Kardashians ever fade away? Like, for good.
Tom Nunan, a lecturer at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television with a long resume in film and TV entertainment, doesn't think so. He has a two-word explanation for the world's prolonged Kardashian-Jenner moment. It's "sui generis," or Latin for don't hold your breath.
Not really. What it means is this moment is unique, in a class of its own.
"It's so vast," he said Wednesday by phone from Los Angeles. "Because there are so many members of this clan, our attention can bounce from one to the next to the next to the next."
What he means is: Kardashian Fatigue may not lead to a permanent exit because it can be regularly relieved by dropping one Kardashian/Jenner for another.
"But I think there's something else going on here that makes this a completely unusual and one-of-a-kind supernova, if you will," Nunan offered. "They have this uncanny ability to mix celebrity with taboo behavior in a way that has the mainstream completely embracing them."
Not all, of course, embrace the Js and the Ks, but enough do to make non-fans queasy.
"If they start to actually not pose naked when they're pregnant, then we might lose interest, but the more they just keep pushing the envelope, we'll continue to check it out, because we're all too afraid to do the things that they do. And they're pretty when they do it," Nunan said.
Not John Brown's rant, not young James Shamsi's KardBlock tool (two months old with more than 2,400 downloads) and not celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's vow of a weeklong "Kardashian Kleanse" can convince Nunan that recent evidence of K-fatigue will lead to The End.
"I don't think there is sign enough," he said. "The temptation that is the Kardashians is really tough. They represent pure temptation, whether you're an alcoholic, a drug addict or a Kardashian addict. It's like eating ice cream all day long, every day. There's nothing good in that for you whatsoever."
For his trouble in attempting to help out on the K-fatigue front, Shamsi said he has received three deaths threats and one phone call to "watch out" after word of his KardBlock spread recently.
He came up with the idea because "pretty much every news site I visited was the Kardashians," he said via email. "It frustrated me because there are so many more important things happening in the world."
Mary Murphy is a senior lecturer at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She has also been an entertainment reporter for more than two decades. Millennials will decide when K-mania is over because they're among the most passionate K-people, she said.
"And they don't take a break because of fatigue. They just drop people off the face of the Earth. It's like one minute you're in, one minute you're out," Murphy said.
Even in these wild viral times, she added, there IS such a thing as overexposure.
"The Kardashians are going to make some mistake that does not translate with young people," Murphy said, "or maybe the end will come when they start suing each other. But when it happens, the descent will be rapid."
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