Kim Kardashian’s game
No one has ever accomplished what Kim Kardashian has. Paris Hilton, her ex-BFF, failed. Even Brenda Frazier, that darling socialite from the 1930s, pales in comparison.
Kim Kardashian has made an empire out of being famous for no reason at all. Just as Seinfeld was the show about nothing, Kim and the other Kardashians/Jenners are the family about nothing. In an era where there’s tremendous resentment for “the 1 percent” and their lavish lifestyle, Kim and the rest of the family are raptly followed as they career from one shopping trip or expensive lunch to another and take endless selfies that flood the Internet. Apparently it’s okay to be shallow and materialistic if you’re cool and stylish.
Kimmie’s latest bid to keep her fame going is a computer program, or app, as they call them today, that lets you live her lifestyle virtually, doing the things she does and buying the things she buys, as you try to duplicate her feat of rising up from nobody to A-lister. Don’t ask me how someone who has done nothing can be an A-lister, but she is.
So in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, you travel through malls and buy virtual merchandise, go to bars to network or flirt, and attend Hollywood galas. Interestingly, this sounds very much like another virtual game that was developed years ago, The Sims, except that sims were ordinary people, though there were version of the game where they could attempt stardom in ways very similar to this game.
The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood download is free. But once you have it, to do anything you must buy her “virtual” bucks with your real ones. I’d rather use my real money to buy real goods in the real world, but that’s just silly me.
The game is a smash hit, to put it mildly. CNN reports it’s grossing $700,000 a day. Analysts estimate K-squared will make more money from it—she keeps an estimated 50% of the take—than she would from being in a megasmash movie, all for far less work. And when the game temporarily stopped functioning one day recently, her fanbase went crazy because they could not get their Kimmie fix. Some tweets were, “This Kim Kardashian Hollywood game isn’t working during my 24 hour photo shoot. I’m not tryna miss out on money & fans for this..” and, “F*** THE KIM KARDASHIAN GAME, I CAN’T EVEN GET PASSED THE SH**** A** LOAD SCREEN.”
Recently Kimmie went on The Today Show, where Matt Lauer softballed her with questions about the “dangers” of the game. Her response: “You just have to make sure that your parental controls are all set. I just think you have to be responsible, and don’t have your credit card linked to where your kid can just spend if they want.”
Phew, I’m glad she set that straight.
In a way I can’t blame her. She’s responding to a need; if she didn’t do this someone else would. (Imagine The Charlie Sheen Hollywood Game for just a second. The head explodes…) What’s fascinating (and horrifying) is how so many people would rather led a pretend life than a real one, and make the real life of someone else the sort of life that they’d like theirs to be by paying them real money for fake experiences.
The CEO of the company that makes the game says, “Whether you’re following Kim on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or watching her show, with this game, you can play all the time. You can get your Kim interaction anytime you choose.”
Isn’t modern technology wonderful?
Of the game’s runaway success the CEO opined, “We’re not surprised. Kim is a one-of-a-kind talent…” That sounds cynical, but on second thought maybe it’s not. Or perhaps it’s her mother who is the talent: she took someone who does absolutely nothing and turned her into an ATM with booty. Recently Harvey Levin of TMZ wanted to know if he could do the same thing with a family of unknowns that Kris Jenner had done with her clan. He created his own reality show, Famous in Twelve, which alas was cancelled by the CW after fewer than half its episodes ran, because apparently people weren’t as interested in Harvey’s reality-TV family as they are in Kris’ even though Harvey used his own TMZ show to hype it every night. Score: Kris 1, Harvey 0.
There’s one ironic aspect to all this, for me at least. There’s a scene in Entertaining Welsey Shaw where Welsey, her agent and some PR people all sit down to plot her career, which is in a gradual free-fall. They throw around ideas to get attention re-focused on her, to get her favorable treatment in the media, to promote her “brand,” and so on. One of the ideas I originally had was a real-time video game of her life, where players could see what she sees and do what she does.
I eventually killed that part of the scene, deciding it was too ridiculous even for something that was supposed to be part social commentary.
After reading about the Kardashian game, I put it back in. As Paddy Chayefsky (or was it Jerzy Kosiński?) observed, satire is now impossible. Or as Lily Tomlin (or was it Fran Lebowitz?) once said, no matter how cynical I get, I can’t seem to keep up. Fran Lebowitz probably never met Kim Kardashian.