I’ve never gotten into Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The few times I watched was like baking very antagonizing bread. Almost nothing happened, but there was so much to respond to. To ward off the program’s characteristic blankness, my head filled up with a running commentary; I could not quiet it. Which is why I think the legendary auteur Werner Herzog should direct and narrate an episode of KUWTK. At the very least it would provide the show with a much-needed extended monologue about the violence and treachery of nature.
Also, given that he’s a fan or at least horrified viewer of the show, there’s a chance he’d be into it, too. In a recent interview with Variety, the prolific German director of Fitzcarraldo (1982) discussed his television viewing habits, noting that he watches Wrestlemania “just to see the world I live in.” He then discussed his newfound preoccupation with the Kardashian empire — a logical parallel, if you think about it: KUWTK is sort of the pro wrestling of melodrama.
“You have to know what a good amount of the population is watching,” he said. “Do not underestimate the Kardashians. As vulgar as they may be, it doesn’t matter that much, but you have to find some sort of orientation. As I always say, the poet must not close his eyes, must not avert them.” (Prompted in a follow-up question to confirm that he was truly watching the reality series, he replied, “I’m starting to discover it. I’m curious; that’s my guiding principle.”)
It’s a natural pairing in my opinion. Herzog has said he doesn’t much distinguish between narrative film and nonfiction, creates highly stylized and staged documentaries that make the seemingly mundane or explicitly known appear strange and visceral again. He would gaze upon a group of Kardashians getting baby fat injected into their faces or whatever, and be filled with despairing wonder, as if watching a majestic glacier shed ice back into the sea. What began with an ecstatic yelp of “Today we’re being our best selves, bitches” has concluded in the conquest of the useless, as nature continues to taunt the Kardashians with its promised kiss of misery and death, occluded for the moment by a sacrificial murder of cells, etc., etc. …
It would be good.