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Socialite Kardashian is reality shows’ common denominator

Playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" — connecting the actor with other thespians by as few movies as possible — is so five years ago. Besides, it’s getting harder every day to remember movies Bacon has been in.

That’s why I’ve created "One Degree of Kim Kardashian."

The curvy socialite has become a tabloid staple, primarily for looking like she was assembled in Sir Mix-a-Lot’s garage. (Seriously, the world hasn’t seen that much booty since the first "Pirates of the Caribbean.")

But with "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" (10:30 p.m. Sundays, E!) — which follows nearly every member of her extended, blended family — Kardashian has become the most common denominator in celebrity reality shows, surpassing both questionable career decisions and Flavor Flav.

Need proof? She’s one degree away from:

• Friends Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie ("The Simple Life").

• Friend Brittny Gastineau ("Gastineau Girls" and "Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive").

• Friend Robin Antin ("The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll").

• Older sister Kourtney ("Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive").

• Stepbrother Brody Jenner ("The Princes of Malibu" and "The Hills").

• Stepfather Bruce Jenner ("Skating with Celebrities" and "I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!").

• and father Robert Kardashian, the late attorney (the biggest celebrity reality show of them all: the first O.J. Simpson trial).

Throw in guest spots on "The Simple Life" and "Sunset Tan" — and a starring role in the popular, umm, "independent film" Kardashian made with her then-boyfriend, singer Ray J — and her life’s a lot like Jim Carrey’s "The Truman Show," only with more girl-power affirmations. ("Your boobs look good," her younger sister, Khloe, tells her onscreen. "They don’t look so gigantic.")

I was sharing my theory with her, when the bombshell dropped one of her own: The Osbournes just moved in next door.

Technically, they moved next door to her parents’ Hidden Hills, Calif., home where most of the "Kardashians" action unfolds. But still.

I’m no scientist, but that sounds like something that should cause a rift in the space-time continuum and make the entire reality show universe collapse in on itself. But just in case it doesn’t, if somebody isn’t already developing "The Osbournes vs. The Kardashians" for MTV, E!, or, heck, even pay-per-view, then I call dibs.

While Kardashian and her friends seem to have reality shows the way others their age have MySpace pages, she wanted this series so she and her sisters could showcase their "true personalities."

"We’re not your typical Hollywood girls," she says, on the phone from New York. "They think we just are these socialites that shop all day and party at night. We really get up and work and have jobs, you know?"

It’s true. Her primary job is running Dash Boutique with Kourtney and Khloe and readying the sisters’ upcoming clothing line. But the "Kardashians" cameras also have caught her on the catwalk, posing for this month’s Playboy and, with her sisters, jetting to Mexico to model a line of swimsuits from spring-break-flashing mogul Joe Francis.

The last one led to the revelation that Kourtney performs bikini waxes on herself. It also was responsible for Kris Jenner, Kardashian’s mom and manager, uttering the classic line "Sometimes people have a negative connotation about ‘Girls Gone Wild.’ "

Other can’t-look-away moments have included 9-year-old Kylie swinging upside down on the stripper pole in her parents’ bedroom and making real cocktails and a mock "GGW" video with her 11-year-old sister, Kendall.

Then there was the probably-scripted-but-who-really-cares arrival of their too-young nanny, who smoked, raided the closets, walked around half-naked and was generally one step away from a bad Cinemax movie.

And I still haven’t fully recovered from the show’s trip to the vet’s office and the shot of the family Chihuahua’s naughty bits that zoomed in so close it made me wish I’d never gotten that 42-inch plasma.

Judge all you want, though, but nobody’s pretending "Kardashians" is going to win any Emmys. And if the writers’ strike drags on as long as both sides predict, you’re either going to have to broaden your TV universe or, God forbid, read a book.

Besides, Kardashian — who comes across as much more bubbly and relatable than on TV — likes the show’s unfiltered look at her family.

"We’re all a lot more normal than people would think," she says.

Normal, of course, being just a matter of degrees.

Christopher Lawrence’s Life on the Couch column appears on Mondays. E-mail him at clawrence@reviewjournal.com.

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