The new E! docu-series I Am Cait just had its Sunday night premiere. The series is centered on Caitlyn Jenner, as she tries to find her “new normal” after her public gender transition into a woman.
The show begins with Caitlyn waking up at 4:30 am, as she can’t sleep knowing her Vanity Fair cover will be debuting that day. Soon after, Caitlyn and her “glam squad” watch different news channels as they cover Caitlyn’s VF cover debut.
She expresses how excited she is to be finally living her true identity and being able to make a difference in the world at the same time.
In addition, after the cover goes public, she receives a call from several of her family members, including Rob Kardashian. Rob has notably been absent from the public eye for the past few years, reportedly due to his weight gain and bouts of depression and anxiety. However, he still made a vocal appearance on I am Cait, giving her a call to congratulate her on the big reveal and to tell her that she “looks amazing.”
Kim also reached out to Caitlyn right away, calling her to congratulate her but also to grill her about her new Twitter account. Kim tells Caitlyn that the head of Twitter said that Caitlyn will break Obama’s twitter record, as she already gained 750k followers on the social media site in just 2 hours.
Between these moments, the show definitely sets itself up to be more of a documentary than what we’ve seen in Jenner’s previous reality show stint on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Caitlyn uses her one-on-one camera time to talk about the more serious issues that are happening within the trans-community. She talks about the elevated suicide and murder rates that trans-people face relative to the general public.
The show also contrasts Caitlyn’s new look, as she dons flowing dresses and high heels with throwback images of Jenner when she competed in the Olympics. It is clear she has come a long way to become who she really is.
It is also revealed that Caitlyn’s stylist, Rhonda, has known about her desire to transition for quite a few years now. She has been a big support and comfort to Caitlyn, as she tries to face her family and friends with the changes she is making.
The first episode is mainly a glimpse into Caitlyn meeting much of her family for the first time – this includes her mother, Esther and her two sisters, Pam and Lisa.
On the car ride over to meet Cait, Esther expresses her hate for the tabloids and all the lies they spread, which she feels made this whole change even more confusing for her. Cait’s sister, Pam talks about how 30 years ago, Bruce had told her that he felt he was destined to be a woman, but Pam thought it was just a phase, especially with his established family life.
When they finally meet, the family is seemingly open and happy to see Caitlyn, who towers over them. Esther is smiling, but says she would have never guessed Caitlyn’s struggles because Bruce hid them so well.
While Cait’s sisters and mother are over, she gets an unexpected Facetime from daughter, Kylie Jenner. At this point, Kylie hasn’t seen Caitlyn in person, but nevertheless Caitlyn (although hesitantly) answers and talks with Kylie, as she is just waking up from a dental procedure. However, Caitlyn is reassured everything will be okay when Kylie tells her she looks “pretty” and she loves her.
Everything is going smoothly until Esther sits down with Robin, who is an expert on family’s experiences when family member’s transition that Caitlyn invited to come over to help explain the process to her loved ones. Here, there is a bit of friction when Esther asks about a certain bible verse that talks about not dressing as the other sex. However, the cameras cut away before there is any clear resolution to this conflict in Esther’s beliefs and her reality. Although later in the episode, it seems that Esther is determined to accept Caitlyn and says that she has never been more proud of her.
The episode ends with Caitlyn visiting a family whose transgender son, Kyler Prescott, recently committed suicide. His mother explains that Kyler was completely accepted among his family and friends. In addition, he never faced any serious events of bullying among peers – however, he did feel that the adults in society didn’t accept him for who he was.
Eventually, Kim and Kanye come over to see Caitlyn. Here, Caitlyn expresses her gratitude for Kanye and his “open mind,” as he has helped Kim accept what Caitlyn has been going through.
During their visit, Kanye of course has to have his moment of wisdom, where he tells the family that this is one of the “strongest things that [has] happened in our existence as human beings.” Bold statement, but if it came out of Kanye’s mouth it must be true.
The first episode of I Am Cait was definitely a slow start. The show presumably wanted to set up the background story (for the few people in the world who aren’t caught up with Caitlyn’s journey), but in doing so it did cover a lot of what was said in the Diane Sawyer interview and the All About Bruce two part special earlier in the year.
However, it was no doubt captivating to see how much Caitlyn has changed now that she isn’t chained down by lies. She is ready to not only be an activist for the transgender community, but also embrace the vibrant person she really is.
The previews for the upcoming season definitely promise some interesting moments, including Caitlyn being invited to a slumber party, being asked on a date, and sitting down with Kim who confronts her about “bringing down” the Kardashian family during her public transition.
Although many of the cast-members are the same, this show is worlds away from Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The more documentary, serious set-up of the show so far definitely reflects Caitlyn’s personality and her determination to make a change in the world.