Keeping Up with the Kardashians: S08E12: "Kris's Mother-In-Law"
By Mark Abraham· Sep 03, 2013
Editorial Note, 1 June 2015
These recaps were written before Caitlyn Jenner came out, is the reason they use incorrect names and pronouns.
“Kris’s Mother-In-Law” is all about how family members can fail you in any number of ways, but mostly in a low key, fake drama kind of way.
The Set-Up: In the previous episode, “Life’s a Beach (House),” Bruce’s sons and step-daughters plotted to build him a putting green in the backyard of bruce and his wife, the Evil Emperor Kris. Kris emerged victorious in the end, brilliantly flanking her progeny by buying a beach house for her husband and youngest daughters, and further making everybody feel guilty for helping Bruce when he was clearly not living up to a moral code befitting a real American Hero by being real passive aggressive and woe-is-me about the loss of manhood he had incurred by choosing to marry such a powerful woman.
Bruce: I’m too easy-going.
Mark: I don’t think you know what that means.
Bruce: I’ll accept your criticism and buy a dictionary, though that’s probably only because I’m too easy-going.
Still, the seed of revolution had been planted in Bruce. In this episode he mounts a small but significant revenge plot against his wife by noting that she’s never really been all too friendly with his mom—although, let’s be real: not once does Bruce clearly mention that Kris is his third wife, after all, and how many daughter-in-laws is a mother supposed to love? Even if Esther herself has had three husbands?—and asking Kris to travel with him to Idaho to make nice. To which she’s like, “the fuck?”, so Bruce has his mother come to Los Angeles instead. Things are tense, mostly because Bruce comes off as even more of a jackass this episode.
Bruce: I’m too easy-going, which is why my mom and wife hate each other.
Also, Brandon gets photo-bombed by this guy:
The A-Plot: Esther calls Bruce, whereupon Bruce explains that he wants his mother to spend more time with his “side of the family.”
Bruce broaches the idea of a trip to Idaho to Kris for Esther’s birthday; she immediately gets defensive. The basic issue, we learn from Kris, is that Esther never really cottoned to her, but we all know that Kris is good at making her half-truths real-truths and that probably everybody involved is at fault.
Kris: I’m great with moms. I was beloved by my first mother-in-law. It’s your mom’s fault, clearly.
Bruce: I’m just going to act like you obviously need to deal with this until you do, because: easy-going me.
Kris: But that’s always what you do! It’s passive aggressive!
Bruce: How can I possibly be emasculated and passive aggressive? I’m so confused due to the mixed messages my wife and sons are giving to me! Why won’t all of you just solve your issues with each other to make me happy?!?
Bruce confessionals some whatevers about how his mom is old and possibly going to die and acts like this whole thing is obvious, and then does the smart thing that passive aggressive folks everywhere should do and complains to Khloé, who he knows hates conflict and will resolve it by Whatever Means Necessary. Of course, because he’s Bruce, he only pulls this shit after he mansplains kelp migration patterns. Like, thanks.
Because I’ve always wanted to know about…kelp.
Bruce, emboldened by Khloé, confronts Kris again with a new plan to bring Esther to Los Angeles, to which Kris smartly replies that he can do that but he should stop acting like she’s the villain given that his own relationship with his mom has also been strained for most of their marriage, which hasn’t really given Kris much of an opportunity to do much, and also btw Kris has already amended her relationship with Brandon and Brody this season and how is it her problem that Bruce has suddenly decided that he’s no longer a shitty dad or son?
As if to demonstrate all of Kris’s points, having failed with Kris, Bruce decides to put the onus on his mother and asks Esther to take Kris aside and “y’know, make everybody feel better” by which he means “me,” which…this is two episodes in a row where Bruce is being a rank asshole and that’s kind of awesome.
After some uncomfortable introductions between Kris and Esther—and, to be fair to Bruce, Kris refuses to put her salad down during this entire scene, almost like she wants it to provide multiple excuses why she can’t touch or hug her mother-in-law and also why she may not stay for dinner—Bruce’s side of the family—sans Brody, but plus Cassy and Burt—sits down to eat. Kris begs off early due to “work”; Bruce starts to panic because he isn’t getting his way.
He is saved, of course, by his mother, who impressively taps into the fake drama of this show and apologizes for the state of her and Kris’s relationship and both women agree that both women were at fault. And…things are fine, I guess. Bruce is certainly pretty happy with himself, anyways.
…that is, until Kris notes that now that her and Esther have rebuilt this bridge Bruce has to cop to his own advice and work harder to make Esther a part of his and his children’s lives, which Bruce is pretty clearly “oh shit” about, which is awesome.
The B-Plot: Kim’s new thing is clearing every fashion choice with youngest sister Kylie.
Let me be careful about how I phrase this, since I don’t have a younger brother who is almost precisely half my age, nor would said fictional sibling have the means or fashion budget of a Kylie Jenner, but let’s be real: Kim Kardashian can discuss fashion all she wants with Kylie, but a 16-year-old is gonna get away with shit a 32-year-old can’t. Of course, the fiction that Kim is buying into is a societal one: that she should fear growing old, especially now that she’s about to drop a child, and that it would be better, fashion-wise, to listen to her youngest sister in order to stay hip, rather than her staff stylists or the fashion designers she employs for her line of clothing or Special Guest Star Kanye West or…anybody else. It also becomes clear during the episode that Kim is starting to worry that Kylie doesn’t see her as being cool anymore, and is irked further by the fact that Khloé—who is a mere 3 years younger than Kim—is still getting the benefit of Kylie’s doubt in a way that Kim isn’t, like Kim has just crossed some imaginary line.
(Unsaid, of course, is that Kim herself was never really that cool, so it’s unclear what she thinks she’s lost.)
Kylie sounds bored—it’s unclear whether she’s actually bored or whether this is a reshoot—as she tells Kim that her insanely-diamonded chokers are “so in right now.” And then Kourtney shows up and schools her three sisters in what bored actually looks like when she’s all “I don’t give a fuck about what any of you think.” Because Kourtney doesn’t, which is why she should be president. Or maybe Esther should; at 87, she clearly doesn’t give a fuck what Kylie thinks.
Kim gushes about Kylie’s tumblr, which presently features a picture of Jayden and Willow Smith, calling it’s authority into question right there, and later starts to disrupt a Kardashian clothing line meeting by wondering aloud whether Kylie would like some of the styles their clothing designers are proposing. The music lets us know this is problematic. She hyperboles about how Kylie’s tumblr is “so her soul” which is the Kim-est thing to say ever—simultaneously philosophical and meaningless—as Khloé and Kourtney look at her like she’s their mom. A thing Khloé does again, later, when Kim reveals that Special Guest Star Kanye West has also been getting Kim to ask Kylie about the packaging for Yeezus, which may explain why said packaging was dumb, maybe?
In the same scene, Kim confessionals that Kylie doesn’t really post pictures of Kim on her tumblr anymore, which is making Kim feel old and out of touch. She says this with this many diamonds on her neck, just FYI:
Kim further complains that she feels like Kylie + friends’ mom when she goes to a movie with them because she doesn’t understand what they’re talking about. Which…well, we do. They talk about piss. I’m real sorry I’m missing that party, right?
Later, Kylie complains to Rob during a photo shoot for Rob’s sock line that Kim won’t stop texting her. (Incidentally, all of the socks in the scene are clearly visible except for Rob’s, which are blurred out. Which presumably means Rob is not wearing his own Arthur George socks, which is weird.) Kylie is ignoring Kim, and confessionals that she’s “over it,” though in her defense her confessional is jump cut, so I suspect her full explanation didn’t come off quite as harsh as it seems in-episode. Anyways, the best part of this whole thing is later when Kim goes to Kris to complain that Kylie is ignoring her and Kris just fucking laughs and makes fun of the beanie Kim is wearing.
And then Kylie makes a classic rookie mistake. Kim discovers a photo of Kylie wearing one of Kim’s outfits, and is suddenly super-angry that Kylie would have the gall to dismiss Kim’s own coolness while benefiting from Kim’s sense of fashion. Pissed at Kylie’s teenagery response when she confronts her, Kim demands all of her clothing returned. What’s kind of awesome about this is Kylie’s “meh” attitude about returning Kim’s clothes: here’s a teenager who’s never had to want for anything, who already has her own clothing line, who’s basically like, “sure. I’ll just ring the stylist for some shit to replace your shit in my teenage walk-in closet. Lates. I’ve got to go tumblr some shots of my friend Cody Smith doing cartwheels in a skate park.”
I really hope Kylie is the villain next year, and not Kendall. She’s much better at it.
The C-Plot: “But so where is Scott in all of this?”, you may be asking. He’s pretending to be Todd Kraines again!
Kourtney cracks a possibly-intentional joke when she wanders into her and Scott’s kitchen and says, “hey Rob. Didn’t even see you.” Which is essentially how we all feel about Rob on this show, right?
Anyways, Kourtney and Kim want Scott to do a Todd Kraines thing again where he prank calls Kris and pretends to be a family friend/stalker, but Scott is starting to feel guilty about it, basically because, as he protests, he’s the one who has to do the funny voice every time. He complains this time, and again when Kourtney and Khloé make him do it for Kendall and Kylie.
Later, Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé come up with the idea to get the real Todd Kraines to show up at the Jenner compound. He does, and Kris is afraid to get the door, but then it’s actually Todd Kraines and the gig is up.
…how exciting, right?