By Connie Passalacqua Hayman
aka Marlena De Lacroix
Soap starved, I have become obsessed with the Kardashians. Every day, I can’t wait to see what’s happening with the three sisters whose IQs combined don’t top mine. But never mind that. Their lives are filled with romance, glamour, strum and drang, not to mention heavy make-up: things soaps once brought me on a daily basis. Some days I’m convinced their mother Kris is going to peel off her face, revealing the woman who plays her — Linda Dano!
The Kardashians (E! Television Network, repeated endlessly throughout the week as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Kim and Kourtney Take New York) have close family ties — a staple of soaps, with their large extended families. There is always someone to talk to, about intimate things like dating, birth control and sweet sixteen venues. In case storylines with older sisters Khloe, Kourtney and Kim cool down, there are always spare sisters hanging around — little Kendall and Kylie, just waiting to be thrown into the soapy mix.
In the best soap form, the women rule in this family, with the men being secondary. Bruce Jenner is everyone’s ideal giving dad and Scott Disick is, well, a jerk, and therefore a good storyline foil. And pity poor Kris Humphries: a leading man whose contract was canceled before he could even make it to his third month! Recast! Fast! Many short, interrupted soap marriages break up at the altar. Kim and Kris’ just took 71 more days to do it.
The Kardashians are about what soaps once were about: women’s lives. You want to know what will happen with Kim, the world’s most beautiful woman, who more than anything has a life and a face approaching the legend of the gorgeous Erica Kane. Who did Erica Kane love best among her thirteen husbands and umpteen lovers? Herself! Who does Kim love most? Like Erica, all she wants is career, career, career, but at the same time, her “dream” of an ideal man. As of All My Children‘s finale, Erica was still chasing those dreams. At the rate Kim is going, thirteen husbands is not an impossibility.
Like soaps, the Kardashians reality show has storylines that are open to speculation and anticipation. Why did Kim’s marriage to Kris really break up so quickly? We watch Kim and Kourtney Take New York waiting for clues. ‘Cause he throws her on the bed like basketball as foreplay? ‘Cause he told her the truth, that no one will be interested in her by the time her children are old enough for school? Kim, ever the narcissist, can’t take it.
Despite everything, I watch. I watch the women whose nasal voices drive me crazy, whose animal print clothing makes me want to look the other way. ‘Cause I need my soap fix, I need my romance fix, I need my family fix. I need soap operas — after all, they weren’t real, either.