2016 has been a wild, wild ride for us all. And we would be remiss if we weren't to acknowledge that there's been a lot of shit that we didn't fuck with this year. So welcome to Complex Pop's annual Week of Disappointment where each day this week, one staffer will talk about their greatest disappointment of 2016.
I had high hopes for Rob & Chyna when the now infamous "Are-You-Still-Texting-Bitches-Yes-Or-No" trailer dropped in August. For those who don’t keep up with the Kardashians, the E! reality show promised to follow Kris Jenner’s only son, Rob Kardashian, and Blac Chyna, video vixen and scammer extraordinaire, through the birth of their child. Even though nothing ever happens on Keeping Up with the Kardashians or any of its spin-off shows, I thought Rob & Chyna was going to be different. Yes, Rob Kardashian has the personality of an empty bookshelf, but starting a family with your youngest sister’s boyfriend’s ex-fiancee and your baby’s mother practically demands drama. My excitement for the show only grew when I somehow stumbled upon Blac Chyna’s mom—aka Tokyo Toni’s—Instagram account. That woman’s timeline is more entertaining than all 12 seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians combined, so I was completely ready to be blessed with another fabulous matriarch of Kris Jenner's caliber.
But sadly, instead of being the mind-numbing, silly show that 2016 so desperately needed, Rob & Chyna ended up being deeply frustrating at its best and very dark at its worst.
What made me psyched about this show—mostly, how Chyna screamed “AREYOUTEXTINGBITCHESYESORNO” outside of a car window with more rage than I had ever seen on any Kardashian show—ended up being its downfall. In the rare times this couple was actually communicating with each other, they were having incoherent screaming matches that made it painful to watch, especially given Chyna’s pregnancy and Rob’s looming mental issues. Moments that were probably meant to be funny, like when Chyna had a meltdown because there was no jelly in the house, ended up being kinda sad. Can somebody get this pregnant lady the jelly she rightfully deserves?!
And Chyna’s most dramatic antics weren’t enough to mask Rob’s noncommitment to having a reality TV show (and maybe their relationship in general). Before the show premiered, he made it clear he never wanted to really be in front of the cameras, and oh shit does it show. Rob just isn’t a good enough actor to pull off the scripted parts that Bunim-Murray cooked up for him. In one episode, E! wanted viewers to believe that Scott Disick broke into Rob’s house and set up hidden cameras, meant to check in on Rob’s well-being—because that’s a reasonable way to show someone you care! More painful than the stupidity of the plot though (Scott Disick, you have three children! Find something better to do!) was watching Rob pretend to “discover” the cameras and act upset about it. Rob is as invested in the show as he is his online sock-slinging business.
Much worse than his bad acting, Rob’s untreated depression and anxiety issues made this show uncomfortably real. On the season finale, Kris Jenner encouraged Rob to see a therapist. Rob, however, said he wasn’t “into that whole situation” and then added, “I personally don’t agree with that whole thing.” No one should be forced into therapy, but a Kardashian declaring that he doesn’t “agree” with therapy furthers the stigma around mental health, as if the benefits of proper treatment are up for debate. And the fact that Rob was unwilling to work through his issues when he knows they are straining his relationship with Chyna added another bleak element. In one episode, Chyna, who was desperate to smooth over her rocky relationship with Rob’s family, dragged him to Khloe Kardashian’s birthday party because she saw it as an opportunity for them to bond. Rob just sulked in the corner though, and offered stellar insight like, "Everyone is swarming Chyna and I, and it's all love, I get it, it's all great, but it's just exactly what I did not want.” God forbid your family gives attention to your pregnant fiancée!
The show, at times, did have a couple glimmering moments, usually involving Tokyo Toni. Blac Chyna’s mom was the only one who told Rob he needed to be there for his pregnant fiancee, and she did it with iconic statements like, “If you not acting accordingly, I’mma handle you.” And the episode in which Chyna’s whole entire family visited the strip club Chyna used to work at just to reminisce about the good times and make it rain will always have a place in my heart. But in the end, the entire series can be summarized by this little factoid: To tease one episode, E! released a sneak peek of ChyRo in a heated argument about French fries. French fries! Hours of footage and this petty argument about a side dish was the best thing this show had to offer that week. RIP, Rob & Chyna—we won’t miss you.