There’s a brand new docusoap with huge numbers and it doesn’t have Housewives or Love and or several Ks in its name. It’s called #KimExposedTaylorParty and it has an A-list cast that Bravo can only dream of. Yup, I’m talking about the Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat war going on between Taylor Swift and her Squad, on one hand, and seemingly every other celeb, on the other. It’s a feud currently spanning multiple continents with skirmishes on a variety of fronts.
This is nothing less than a reality docusoap playing out on social media (and surrogate sites like People, Us Weekly and TMZ), and indicates that television as a medium for the genre might be borderline – if not entirely – irrelevant.
The current situation – something that Lainey at Laineygossip calls Gossip Christmas – comes in the midst of Swift’s relentlessly promoted new relationship with Tom Hiddleston, as well as a simmering beef with ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris and former pal Katy Perry. However, it Kim K’s revelation – first on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and then through Snapchat – that Swift had lied about Kanye West asking her permission to disparagingly reference her in his song Famous that sent things into overdrive.
The ensuing melee accomplished what had seemed impossible only days before, drawing the notoriously PR savvy Swift into addressing the matter on Istagram. #KimExposedTaylor, the twitter hashtag for the haters, is the first time that I have seen a multifaceted and ongoing narrative emerging with no clear end in sight – and it is delectable.
Confused? Well, much like a long reality TV docusoap, it helps if you have some backstory. If you don’t, well you’re in luck: magazines are currently writing recaps of this Swift feud, much as they would be any other show like Housewives or Love and Hip Hop.
Given the volume of participants, I think we can agree that this docusoap has an ensemble cast. Nonetheless, Taylor and Kim are, for the moment, driving the narrative. This week’s A Story revolves around Kim and Kanye’s assertion that Swift lied about giving Kanye permission to diss her in a song. Last week’s A Story concerned whether Swift’s relationship with Hiddleston – Tiddleston or Swoki as it has been christened – commenced before her breakup with Harris, as well as fallout from the Harris breakup.
The show also has free standing B and C stories: Khloe K posting an obscene picture of Chloe Moretz on Twitter had Swift Squad member Ruby Rose coming to Moretz’s defense on Twitter; and Camilla Belle, who shares ex Joe Jonas with Swift and was referenced in one of her songs as “an actress” who’s better known “for the things she does on a mattress,” gave us a one beat C Story by tweeting “No need for revenge. Just sit back & wait.”
Finally, much like a reality TV show, we are inclined to question the truth of what we’re seeing. Ever since Swift tapped The Sun to photograph her and Hiddleston snuggling on a beach the gossipverse has questioned whether Tiddelston is a fabrication. Now, with all the big names onboard, commenters are questioning whether this whole thing simply a concoction of various PR firms. And yet… again much as with reality … who cares when you’ve got names this big being as messy as Teresa Giudice??!!
So, how will this all end? Like a reality TV show, we can make some guesses: with a confessional album from Taylor and/or Kris (Kim’s mom, manager, and as Michael K calls her, Satan’s Homegirl) negotiating a peace treaty (one she has already begun to hint at).
Then there’s the idea floated in TMZ, Team Swift’s recent go-to for leaks, that Swift is considering filing a criminal complaint against Kim and Kanye for taping her without consent. As Lainey says there’s only upside for Kim K with that storyline as well.
She has a reality tv show. They could dedicate an entire f-cking season to the lawsuit on that show. Or, even better, they could spin off a brand new show…
That’s a real life beef, feeding into a reality show, feeding back out into real life and, potentially, feeding back into a TV show (if anyone’s keeping track). However, and this is key, television is only one of a variety of platforms and, as most of the players don’t have reality TV shows, not even the most important one.
For the past few years, as competing platforms of storytelling have arisen, we’ve witnessed the death of television. However, the alternate platforms to date have been web-streaming services and, to a lesser degree, Youtube. What this sprawling Swift/West/Kardashian narrative indicates, however, is that Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are equally viable as alternatives to TV for storytelling.
TV content is framework for the real purpose of the medium – advertising. However, if there are no viewers, it’s pointless for brands to drop their dollars there. They would be better served – and already are – being integrated into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Whether the current melodrama playing out between A List celebs is real, not real, or half-and-half, what it illustrates quite clearly is: folks in the reality TV producing business might need to consider a career change. Or, alternately, we may need to figure out how to tell our stories through social media. Yikes.