Credit: Hulu

Just when Kourtney Kardashian thought she was out, they pulled her back in. After 20 seasons of the E! hit Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2007-2021), Disney+ gave the first family of reality TV an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Since their 10-month hiatus, the Kar-Jenners have returned to the small screen healthier and wealthier than before in The Kardashians (2022). With drone footage and self-aware winks to the camera, Hulu’s streaming reboot is slicker than the initial cable show.

As the series begins, the family glows with renewed energy and revamped story lines. Kim Kardashian is re-dealing with the sex tape she made 15 years ago; camera-shy supermodel Kendall Jenner has KOVID; and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner is carrying a son who will become the baby formerly known as Wolf once he’s born.

Although Kylie’s partner rapper Travis Scott doesn’t appear on the first episode, Travis Barker makes his official entry into the franchise. Observant viewers will recall his cameos as the friendly neighbor on the original series. But now, the Blink-182 musician is Kourtney’s “boyfriend,” a position that will graduate to fiancé as the season goes on.

The undying passion of “Kravis” echoes the whirlwind romance Khloé Kardashian and two-time N.B.A. champ Lamar Odom had back in 2009. At the time, a seemingly envious Kim had just broken up with footballer Reggie Bush and was determined to possess a love that rivaled her sister’s. Accordingly, Kim met basketball player Kris Humphries in New York. Then married and divorced him soon after.

Now, replace Khloé for Kourtney, Bush for Ye (aka Kanye West), and Humphries for Pete Davidson. After sharing a scripted smooch while hosting Saturday Night Live in New York, Kim began dating the comedian. Upcoming episodes will tell if history repeats itself.

The same can be said of Khloé’s relationship with baby daddy Tristan Thompson. When not playing for the Chicago Bulls (or playing around), he supposedly wants to get back with her. That’s Khloé’s narrative anyway. If it’s actually true (not to be confused with their daughter of the same name), she should steer clear of the repeat cheater.

For all of their forgiveness and fortitude, the Kardashian women need to stop dealing with dead-end men. Take Scott Disick . . . please. After 15 years of high-pitched whining, his exit is long overdue. Like Kris Jenner, who has secured a considerate companion in Corey Gamble, Kourtney has finally found a happy ending minus her ex.

Viewers can root for equally-pleasing outcomes for the other sisters. Indeed, audience engagement is the secret to the Kar-Jenner success. Despite their reputation of “being famous for being famous,” the Kardashians are a popular phenomenon because they’re relatable.

Granted, their fans aren’t super rich with superstar spouses (and Kim’s superhero clothes). But they probably adhere to Kris’s work ethic or Kourt’s more lax lifestyle. Some may connect with Kim and Kylie’s psoriasis, Khloé’s migraines, and Kendall’s anxiety. While most vicariously enjoy the celebratory spreads, and embrace the ways in which the siblings strive to improve their lives.

After all, The Godfather (1972) didn’t become a classic because it’s a gangster movie. It’s beloved because it centers around food, family, and the American dream. “I believe in America. America has made my fortune,” says Amerigo Bonasera in the film. Certainly those lines apply to the Kardashians. In fact, it’s easy to imagine matriarch Kris delivering the Vito Corleone quote, “You can do anything, but never go against the family.”

Janet Arvia

Ms. Arvia is a Rebellious columnist and movie critic; entertainment ghostwriter; award-winning artist; and grant-winning filmmaker.