TV Recap: I Am Cait, Series Premiere

Written By David Oliver

I Am Cait Logo

I Am Cait Series Premiere Plot Summary:

We are introduced to the world of Caitlyn Jenner post-transition, as she embarks on a journey of reacquainting with those closest to her and becoming involved in the greater transgender community.

The buzz around Caitlyn Jenner’s new E! series has had quite the build-up. From her Diane Sawyer interview, Vanity Fair cover story and ESPYs award speech, Jenner has dominated the talk of pop culture, the transgender community and the world.

But would this I Am Cait series, as she states at the start of it, “get it right?”

Caitlyn Jenner Photo
Photo Credit: James White/E! Entertainment

Jenner lets the cameras into her world, but it’s a different world than that of the silly antics of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Well, minus Kim calling her to talk about Twitter, and a few other moments.

It’s unapologetic, and as real as reality TV can get. Her mother Esther even says, “He’s still Bruce,” which isn’t the correct pronoun or name, on a visit to her home with Jenner’s sisters Pam and Lisa. It doesn’t shy away from the reality of even those closest to her coming to grips with the change — Esther, in particular.

It certainly doesn’t shy away from bringing up the drama, including when Esther brings up the Bible. I’d be curious to know how many viewers watching are grappling with these same concerns.

It lets itself be trivial, like Jenner understanding the need for a sports bra while playing tennis and Kylie bringing her hair extensions, to name a few.

Photo Credit: James White/E! Entertainment
Photo Credit: James White/E! Entertainment

The episode takes a dark pivot — appropriately so — when bringing up transgender suicide, though Kanye and Kim later make a more casual appearance.

With Esther toward the end of the episode accepting Jenner and being a proud mother, perhaps other mothers around the world can take a lesson. Again, though: this is reality TV, and it likely takes way longer than 45 minutes for something of this magnitude to settle in.

In the most pivotal part of the episode, Jenner pays a visit to the family of a transgender teen who committed suicide. These honest conversations are where the show really has an opportunity to make an impact.

“Seek help. You just have to get through that day,” Jenner later says. And she’s right.

A preview of the scenes going forward don’t look completely pretty, and it’s good to see that. This isn’t a subject to make light of by any means. While Jenner may have the advantage of the spotlight, there are countless people suffering for being different at the lowest of lows and extremes unimaginable that don’t have such an opportunity.

My true judgment of the show will come whether it can remain on course and focus on helping the transgender community and keeping people educated vs. harping on Jenner’s individual day-to-day life. Obviously, that will be a part of the show and is still intriguing, but this conversation goes far beyond her.

However, this is E! — if this show can be more “culture” than “pop,” I’ll be impressed.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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