Review – “I am Cait” by Pam
Let me start by saying how much I dislike reality TV. Over the years I have watched partial episodes of Survivor, DWTS, American Idol, and embarrassed to admit – Keeping up with the Kardashians. When I heard that Caitlyn Jenner was doing a reality series based on her first few months of living full time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Similarly, I had mixed emotions about her very public approach to transition.
Last night, I took a chance and watched the first episode. What I saw was more documentary than reality series with incredible production values. If you only looked at how it was scripted, edited, storyline, it was a very polished production.
There is the beautiful Malibu clifts home with majestic ocean views (whales and all). There is also the stylist friend who picks out her outfit for the day and her hair makeup person. She could have lost many of us at that point, but instead Cait seemed humble and grounded about her blessings.
However, even more impressive, was the deft handling of real life issues that most in our community face. The struggle with self-doubts; acceptance by family, friends, and strangers; money issues; and even the much higher rates of suicides / murders that affect our community. If you don’t know these statistics, they are horrific.
Two candid scenes early set the tone for the first episode. A 4 am bed haired Caitlyn worrying “I hope I get it right” followed a little later by “I have a voice and so many in the trans community don’t”.
I good portion of the night was focused on Cait first time meeting her mother Ester and her sisters. As is turned out, she had confided in her sister Pam 35 years ago we learned. Watching this reminded me of a truth about transition “there is always someone who is the hardest to tell”. For Cait, it was her mother. You can see that at times that Ester is struggling, having a hard time giving up the son she thought she knew. Ester expressed raw emotions. You can’t be transgender and not relate. I cried.
There were many touching moments. I cried at least a dozen times.
Not all was roses. There were many awkward moments – Kylie face timing from the dentist office, the visit by Kanye and Kim, and Ester bringing up a biblical reference. You can see that full acceptance by her family, children and step children will be slow.
The last 15 minutes focused on the very sad story of Kyler, a young transgender teen who committed suicide. Unlike many, Kyler seemed to have the acceptance of family and friends, but was deeply affected by the acceptance of adult strangers. Kyler received a revised birth certificate a few days after his death. More tears from me.
Based on what I saw last night, kudos to Cait – 5 Stars. I recommend everyone watch. Sunday 8 EDT on E.