Pop Rocks: The Appeal of the Kardashians Finally Makes Sense

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America, you have serious problems:

It was business--big business--as usual for Kourtney & Kim Take New York and The Walking Dead.

Here's what the shows' Sunday-night TV ratings performances meant:

For Kourtney & Kim, the reality-show's season premiere, which scored a series-best 3.2 million viewers for an opener, showed audiences were still married to the reality clan, even if Kim Kardashian was divorcing Kris Humphries.

The Kardashians' TV shows are inexplicably popular. Despite the heinousness of pretty much everyone involved, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami and the aforementioned NYC installment all draw viewers by the millions, in spite of the fact I've yet to find a single human being who admits to watching them.

I call it the "Billy Ray Cyrus Effect."

Then again, viewed through the prism of a certain 1980s John Carpenter movie, the whole thing is perfectly understandable.

If you've never seen They Live, and it's entirely possible you haven't, it was released in 1988 and is widely regarded as one of the last halfway decent movies Carpenter ever directed (the other being 1995's In the Mouth of Madness). The plot follows a fellow named "Nada," who discovers aliens have taken places in the upper echelons of human society in order to convert Earth into a world ripe for colonization.

The Kardashians, on the other hand, have evidently set their sights lower. Even if we take into account the family's saturation on basic cable and supermarket newsstands, that still leaves a healthy amount of unexploited ad space. Few billboards (outside of California or Florida), nothing on radio, and the best they could do on Dancing with the Stars was brother Rob, perhaps the least significant of the bunch. And that's saying something.

And whatever planet the Kardashians came from, they obviously have no interest in relocating here. Judging by the way they manage to exploit every meaningless event in their lives for cash, perhaps their civilization requires human currency, although that doesn't make a lot of sense. There are easier things to burn, and the fact it's "human" currency would seem to render its utility to an intergalactic society minimal.

But maybe it's more esoteric than that. Maybe instead of trying to acquire material wealth, the Kardashians require the actual energy generated by human attention. Our knowledge of the workings of the universe is incredibly limited, after all, and amidst the existence of such things as black holes and neutrinos, the possibility that some parasitic race of aliens has infiltrated mankind in order to exploit our baser impulses is that much more plausible.

I suspect the Olsen twins and Duggars are different species of the same breed. Time to funnel that Mars rover money into something useful, like galactic firebombing.

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