The Waves

No Longer Keeping Up

An exploration of the Kardashian legacy as their longstanding E! reality show comes to a close.


Episode Notes

On this week’s episode of The Waves, Slate senior editor Allegra Frank and Robin Boylorn, a professor at the University of Alabama and occasional Slate contributor, discuss the enduring appeal of Keeping Up With the Kardashians as the E! reality show it comes to a close at the end of its 20th season. The pair digs into the show as a backdrop for the creation of a family dynasty of internet celebrity, track the diminishing role of television in their multi-billion-dollar empire, and parse out the curious appeal of the sisters who became famous just for being famous.

After the break, Allegra and Robin dig deep on the Kardashian-Jenner clan’s history of appropriation of Black culture, and discuss the impact of their adopting working-class Black aesthetics to great personal gain as several of them became mothers to Black children themselves. The sisters haven’t shied away from airing their learning moments for the world to see. But have they been able to use their enormous platform to any meaningful end?

For Slate Plus members, Allegra and Robin continue our new segment, Gateway Feminism, where they talk about one thing that helped make them feminists. For Allegra, it’s the manga and anime series Cardcaptor Sakura, and for Robin it’s her favorite Toni Morrison novel and feminist blueprint, Sula. 


Allegra recommends a new EP, Whole Damn Body from Los Campesinos!

Robin thinks you should check out the Crunk Feminist Collective’s new newsletter, The Remix.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja filling in for Cheyna Roth. Editorial oversight by Susan Matthews and June Thomas. Additional production help from Rosemary Belson.

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About the Show

Each week a pair of writers and guests talk through one news story we can’t stop thinking about, and unpack what gender has to do with it.

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