TikTok’s received an ersatz sequel to Retaining Up With The Kardashians

Screenshots: TikTok

Screenshots: TikTok Graphics: Karl Gustafson

On October 17, 2021, a TikTok account named @ blah445087 posted a slapdash compilation of Kylie Cosmetics products, rolling California mountains, and a mirror image of a girl all pink with her face hidden by a phone. Commentators quickly guessed the Creator’s secret identity: “Penelope?” “Is that P?” “SHES 9 WHAT SHE LIVES MY DREAM.”

The creator is Penelope Disick, the middle child of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, a 9 year old with a full acrylic nail set and access to the wealth most people experience only through a screen. After some drama – TikTok’s minimum age is 13 – she brushed her grip on @pandkourt and added “Adult Managed Account” to her bio. She already has 2.6 million followers. Kim and Kanye’s 8-year-old daughter North hit the scene with the account on Thanksgiving weekend @kimandnorth. She has 3.7 million followers.

Who would have thought the unexpected sequel to Keeping Up With The Kardashians would be TikTok accounts run by literal kids?

On the surface, the posts glow in the sweet simplicity of youth. north introduces her pet lizards, Cheese and beans. Penelope jumps up viral sounds. Sure, there is wealth on display all the time. Yes, Kim’s house feels dystopian in its minimalism. But overall, they really seem like normal children.

But we must always remember: like the royal family, everything about the Kardashians is controlled. You are playing a game of chess with the public’s attention. And they’re very, very good at it. As the next generation of the reality TV dynasty comes out into the open, they balance a familiar clash of authenticity and curation. The Kardashians’ new Hulu show is reportedly set to fall in 2022, the kids are already approaching awareness on their own.

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Penelope has a real knack for TikTok’s ASMR site. Your skincare mixes and target hauls are so mundane that they become fascinating again. Even the most boring posts are charged with the fascination of the Kardashian dynasty. Viewed through a child’s lens, the luscious Thanksgiving spreads and tropical getaways feel serious and even sweet. she Lip-syncing Spice Girls with her fatherthat looks a bit wild, if a bit with dead eyes. It feels shocking when she posts Normie content like fries and dip. Stars! They eat sour cream based snacks, just like us! Until the next post, where she wears a Gucci pant suit and remind you that you will never amass as much wealth as this 9 year old girl.

As directors and cameramen, the girls’ TikToks have characters and locations, but never storylines or conflicts. The cinematic universes @pandkourt and @kimandnorth often intersect. Both skilfully integrate product connections that the family is proud of. Penelope calls Kylie lip kits, Kim Kardashian fragrances, and her mother’s bizarre lifestyle site poosh.com. North presents the best SKIMS connection in the world.

Penelope isn’t the first of Kourtney’s children to try to become famous on the internet. Her older brother, 10-year-old Mason, was forced to delete his Instagram after sharing family secrets live. North appears to be following in her cousin’s footsteps. She recently broke the rules and went live herself for an impromptu house tour that ended with bursting into a bedroom and proclaiming, “Mom, I’m live!” It is harmless and even human to see a terrified Kim lying completely horizontally in bed, on her phone, like the rest of us plebeians. The world seemed to be getting a kick from North’s disobedience; breathless headlines from Page Six caught on almost immediately. Of course, kids should be supervised online, and an 8-year-old with seven times more TikTok followers than the New York Knicks requires some strict safety rules. But when it comes to these prominent heirs, it’s also a reminder: there are limits to the actual authenticity of children.

If children are our future, then TikTok is our retirement home. Instead of bloated reality TV episodes, TikToks tumble in quick clips that are as easy to eat as the instant popcorn Penelope filmed himself making a microwave at the 11th of November. (Can you imagine Kourtney buying Pop Secret? Can you even imagine her using a microwave?) Since TikTok is relatively new, fast and lives in your phone, it’s easy to get the videos as more real than a network confuse -produced reality show.

But the Kardashian-Jenner-Disick clan is mostly strategic; Grandma Kris Jenner has been keeping a close watch on the rise of girls on the Internet. Could that innocent fame be a distraction from something darker? In November, Kylie posted a forgotten Instagram story by the Astroworld tragedy where you can actually see ambulances trying to drive through the crowd. Khloe’s custody battle with Tristan Thompson is getting uglier. Kim’s rebound with Pete Davidson may be less bleak, but the public has declared it a creepy PR relationship.

Who better to lead the latest pivot than two little girls? Penelope does s’mores on the beach. north dances with her mom. It’s the perfect window into the family’s life, free from the luggage of the OG siblings and still E! Headlines like “Penelope Disick and North West Team Up For An Adorable TikTok Video”.

In a TikTok released on November 17th, Penelope switches shots with a snapshot of her manicured nails. Snap: a view of the sea. Snap: the sunset from a jet window. One comment that won the most votes was, “She just called me poor.” With her careful guidance, Penelope’s jet setting looks effortless and glamorous. She understands her role in the hierarchy of wealth and content. But the video also has a hollowness. If you can summon a private jet with the snap of your fingers, does that really mean anything? But she was born into this life. At the age of 9 she already sees how she can use the access to her life to even more fame. After all, it’s in their bloodline.

It is impossible to actually judge authenticity on the internet. Even the most sincere contributions seek some form of influence, attention, or affirmation. Reinforce this with the kids’ hereditary fame and the millions of followers they get with the simplest of posts. Maybe in another decade we’ll get a scientific study of how 14.4 million views when changing outfits can shape a child’s developing brain.

In many ways, TikTok feels like reality TV has evolved naturally. It pretends to be spontaneous, but the short clips offer more options than ever before. It’s all sound and color, the impressionistic lines of a luxurious life. Who better to unlock this new level of celebrity content than the kids whose births were KUWTK plot points less than a decade ago. Of course, today’s TikTok is tomorrow’s Snapchat. Platforms change, content changes, and somehow the Kardashian family is evolving in parallel. Penelope and North have officially entered the game.

The Kardashians built their brand on the illusion of full access to their lives, but by 2021 everyone will know that “reality TV” is anything but that. Giving the kids the TikTok spotlight feels like a nifty stab of relevance. Since birth, these girls have appeared on red carpets and in tabloid headlines. You can see her in the background of the show, her entire short life is a master class of modern celebrity. Of course, they kill it on TikTok. Viral fame is their birthright. And that’s just the beginning – we’re waiting to see what even younger Kardashians like Reign and Stormi ultimately come up with.

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