Okay, first off, I think Caitlyn Jenner is an important transgender figure. She has the distinction of being the highest-profile person to ever reveal her true self. It all has a great ring to it, but somehow, her “journey” documented on ‘I Am Cait’ fell short and I don’t think it was totally her fault.
Here’s what should have happened. Jenner does the interview with Diane Sawyer and then, she should have gracefully stepped away from the spotlight. However in Hollywood at the E! network, where Jenner already has a built-in relationship, it just wasn’t going to happen. The idea to forge ahead with an eight-part “docu-series” was already set into motion most definitely before the big interview. Supposedly, other known transgender women, such as Candis Cayne, Jenny Finney Boylan, Chandi (love her!), etc. were “cast” to be Jenner’s gal pals. Now, I won’t deny that one or maybe all of these women were willing to reach out to Caitlyn off-camera, but E! wouldn’t have it that way. I hate to think they all saw dollar signs instead of their integrity to the community. This is why there should have been a some time away for everyone involved instead of riding rough shot into production.
My biggest problem with ‘I Am Cait’ was that all of the situations were treated as these rushed/forced benchmarks that had to be checked off and edited into a one-hour episode every week. For example, in the very first episode, Jenner goes to speak to the family of a transgender boy who committed suicide, which is still an unfortunate route those who seek acceptance and then they are rejected take. I’m not sure that should have been a first episode venture. If I were producing, which is such a loose term in reality TV, I would have maybe tackled that subject say, in the back half of episodes, maybe even in the last one. And it wouldn’t be an E! show without Kardashians popping in and out. Did they have the right to be a little miffed about Jenner’s Vanity Fair article? of course. I generally don’t hold the girls or their mother (we’ll get to her later) in high regard, but they did their segments on the show, and they were good/fair, no harm no foul considering what network they aired it on.
Now if you watched Jenner’s interview with Sawyer, she said she was Republican, which then we saw an episode where she was invited to the Abbey, the biggest gay bar in West Hollywood, for a night out with Candis and men were gyrating and such. She was uncomfortable, probably not completely on the basis of her traditional thinking, but because it was televised. Oh, don’t get me started on “The Dating Game” episode. Geez! You’re telling me in the time frame this was all filmed the producers actually expected Caitlyn to go full-on into the dating world? Please. What was even more unnerving in the episode is where Jenner was speaking with Boylan and said something to the effect of she wanted to be respected by a man to feel more like a woman. I shake my head. I think Jenner pulling back yet willing to discuss the subject would have been better served if the she had taken a year off, especially when Ellen grilled her on gay marriage. Will her views change in a year? Maybe, maybe not. I have reservations on whether or not Jenner should be a transgender spokesperson; again, take more than few months and a reality show crash course to educate yourself.
Finally, Jenner’s “big confrontation” with her ex Kris was okay. I think the issues discussed were pretty serious, but there they were, all for the world to see. And that’s what Kris wanted, I don’t think her reasons for agreeing to meet Caitlyn on-camera were anything but cordial, yet I sensed she wanted to take a tiny bit of the spotlight away. I’ve found the Kardashian camp’s reaction to Caitlyn very interesting. They’ve been supportive, considering the speedy timeline this has all taken to unfold. I hope they continue to play nice. I truly loved the show, because it was entertaining and it was interesting to see Jenner exploring her new self. I just wish the more serious content could’ve been extended and not edited.
Here’s is Jenner’s latest blog post about the show and her experiences so far; it’s a good read, “What I’ve Learned”. I’m eager to see what the year left and the years ahead bring.