TV Review: ‘I Am Cait’

I Am Cait TV Review Bravo
Courtesy of E!

From the Diane Sawyer interview to the ESPYs award speech, Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender coming out has been a deftly orchestrated public-relations marvel. Still, there was room for skepticism as to whether that would carry over into her new E! show, “I Am Cait,” given the network and Jenner’s association with the Kardashians, who have turned sharing every aspect of their lives into a slick cottage industry. That tension is very much on display in the premiere, which obviously seeks a more elevated plane – keenly aware of Jenner’s platform to educate and assist vulnerable youths – while clinging to familiar reality-TV conventions.

Clearly, the series was produced with artier intentions in mind than what we have come to associate with the Kardashians, who have elevated the “famous for being famous” career path to new and lucrative heights. Much of this difference can be seen in the way “I Am Cait” is shot, including an inordinate number of close-ups on Jenner’s hands.

The episode opens with Jenner in bed, fretting about what the show can accomplish and its potential to do good, citing high murder and suicide rates involving the transgender community. “We don’t want people dying,” she says.

“I Am Cait” then segues to a meeting between Caitlyn and her mother, Esther, and Caitlyn’s two sisters. Jenner’s mom admits that the situation is something of an adjustment for her, but quickly gets to the place that the son she beamed about when he won an Olympic gold medal is no different now, certainly not in the way she feels about her child. “He’s still Bruce,” she says tearfully, getting the pronouns wrong, but the sentiment right.

It is, undoubtedly, the strongest part of the hour, one that goes a long way toward explaining the steady progress the LGBT community has achieved in terms of public sentiment. Even among an older generation, a lot of ingrained prejudices tend to melt away faster when it’s your kid.

The exchange is certainly emotional, despite a slightly awkward interlude in which Jenner invites an expert on transgender issues to answer some of the family’s questions. Another moving moment finds Caitlyn ducking the paparazzi to meet with the family of a transgender youth who had committed suicide, with Jenner discussing her own suicidal thoughts during the direct-to-camera interviews.

Still, if this series is supposed to represent “Caitlyn’s journey,” as E! has consistently described it, that’s mucked up to a degree by bringing her famous daughters and stepdaughters into the mix, including a visit from Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. While Jenner’s interactions with her extended family are clearly part of the narrative, there’s a pandering quality to shoehorning the couple and daughter Kylie into the premiere, as if E! and the producers needed a security blanket to make sure they catered to that audience too.

As the first monologue illustrates, even amid a wave of transgender-related programming, including TLC’s “I Am Jazz” and ABC Family’s “Becoming Us,” Jenner brings the weight of considerable, if oversized, expectations to the project. Just by openly discussing her life, Jenner has already shed light on the issue, lessening the pressure on this series.

For E!, moreover, the show is likely to be a clear winner – not just because of all the praise that has been heaped on Jenner, but practically speaking, as a pillar to hoist up its summer lineup. It’s no accident the program is being used to launch another new series, “Stewarts & Hamiltons,” professing to showcase “true Hollywood royalty” — said royalty being the progeny of singer Rod Stewart and actor George Hamilton, a group nobody should confuse with the British monarchy.

In terms of those sleepless nights, Jenner should really rest easy: just in the drumbeat leading up to “I Am Cait,” she has made a significant contribution to enhancing understanding of the transgender community. Yet given the wider goals she has espoused, the more the series keeps the spotlight trained squarely on its namesake – and away, even at the periphery, from keeping up with the Kardashians – the better.

TV Review: 'I Am Cait'

(Series; E! Sun. July 26, 8 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Bunim/Murray Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Caitlyn Jenner, Gil Goldschein, Jeff Jenkins, Farnaz Farjam, Andrea Metz; supervising producer, Delphine Lorin; supervising story producer, Karen Kennedy; camera, Andrei Cranach. 60 MIN.

Cast

Featuring: Caitlyn Jenner

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  1. Raymon says:

    Who makes a big deal about a possible murderer but the station sponsoring such a freak. Maybe he just thinks a Female prison would be better. Oh wait the Football Crowd employees Murders and Rapist that should be shunned by society shows how low they have are scum of the Earth

  2. Tommi Trudeau says:

    This show needs a MAJOR OVERHAUL! How about featuring some transgender people who are notable for something other than JUST BEING TRANSGENDER?!! How about featuring brilliant transgender artists, musicians, authors, actors, and comedians? Why can’t Cait have a funny friend for God’s sake?? Please give us something to break this monotony!!

  3. robthom says:

    Interestingly he kind of resembles Janice Dickinson in the title pic.
    He could pass for an older ex-supermodel who’s done questionable things to her face.

  4. Shelly says:

    Exceedingly dull, scripted, slow. Give me a silly housewife or an amusing flipper anytime. Dress how you want, just weird and boring to watch.

  5. shabazz says:

    Jenner was a better-looking man than a woman; I don’t think such a thing as “transgender” exists; I think its a “fetish” that people are all too willing to play into ! If the shrinks knew what they were doing, they could make things right for these folks ! Why give a man who wants to be a woman female hormones? Why not give him MALE hormones to help his masculinity! It’s all a lot of screwed-up B.S.

  6. Coley says:

    Watching #IamCait. #inspiration #courage #iconic

    • Mooncrazed says:

      Shabazz, I agree & I have said the same thing. There are mental health issues coupled with physical /medical issues that should be addressed & I say give ppl like Bruce Jenner MALE hormones not female hormones.
      The answer is not hormone injections of the opposite sex, breast implants, feminine facial surgery, electrolysis for hair removal, lip augmentation, make up, hair extensions, larynx shaving, voice training, or genital mutilation. And that doesn’t even cover everything else they must do to “become a woman” It’s beyond extreme, it should not be legal and there should not be a physician on this planet that would be willing to do such things to a human being.
      Come on ppl, instead of “celebrating” this freak show look at it for what it is. It’s medical/psychological problems that should be dealt with.

  7. Do whatever floats your boat. Do whatever makes you happy as long as it isn’t hurting someone else. But damn…I wish people would stop calling this guy “She”. HE is NOT a SHE…no matter hot many dresses it buys, how big thee fake tits get, or if he buys a fancy new vagina..HE’s a DUDE!

    What I ind especially grating is that HE is being called a SHE by people who usually espouse that they live life logically. You can’t sit here and say..”Well..I believe in science, and facts” then call this guy a Unicorn….which is exactly what you’re doing.

  8. mar says:

    When you’d rather come out of the closet than clean it…..life will not get better. May last a while. But will end badly. Heart goes out to you.

  9. Sandra says:

    Ya, won’t be watching. I have had more than enough of this non-event.

  10. lipstick says:

    Bruce’s mom is right – he is still Bruce. Can’t change the male DNA by putting lipstick on a pig.

  11. Etien De Lamothe Cassel says:

    Have you seen the size of her hands? They’re like steam shovels. She could hand dig the foundations for a transgender retirement community.

  12. RichgetRicher says:

    Bruce was driving too close with a heavy weight he is responsible in some form

  13. fake says:

    Bruce has been a cross dresser for Years…Now, he/she is a transvestite..

  14. Nic says:

    The whole reason that this show is so important is because it’s going to reach people who are Kardashian fans, people who wouldn’t normally watch a show like this.

    Would it be a better piece of art if it avoided Kimye? Maybe.

    Would it reach as many people? Hell no.

    Caitlyn needs to continue keeping up with the Kardashians, because doing so will allow her access to their much wider audience and fan base. If even one more person tunes in to see Kylie and is positively affected by the material, it’s a huge win.

    • Bill B. says:

      From what I read here, I agree that Jenner should stay away from the Kardashians on her show as they are ridiculous & embarrassing human beings (though perhaps not as ridiculous as the people who pay attention to them), though I don’t really care as I’m not watching any of them. I was a big fan of Bruce Jenner back in his heyday. Good luck with it all, but keep away from the crazies!

    • I disagree. Does anyone truly take The Kardashians seriously? I really don’t think that are as liked as they would like you to believe. I’ve seen advertisements for I Am Cait, where I can’t help but feel that the show has cheapened her journey – not only providing unnecessary views of her large hands, but other disingenuous shots of her in moments of vanity. Personally, I hope she’s happy and it was refreshing to see the supporting response of Bruce when he spoke to Diane Sawyer. I’d have liked to see Diane, or at least a reputable news channel (not The E Channel) air the docu-drama. Frankly, I feel that if Caitlyn does not separate herself from The Kardashians and the media circus they promote, folks may not take her as seriously as they otherwise would.

      • Darrell Finn says:

        I find it weird that people feel free to besmirch the Kardashians as unserious, when they are far more serious than the people who comment on this thing, who seem vaguely piggish bigoted and dumb. Ciao!

  15. adele says:

    Am I the only person who misses Bruce Jenner?

    • gessiewtf says:

      It was obvious to me that she was “using her family” in order to incorporate some sort of family dynamic that wasn’t there. They hadn’t seen Kylie since she was a baby, and they said nice to meet you to Kim until Kaitlin jumped in and said, No, You’ve met her before. I find it sad that the youngest daughter is with a man who writes filthy lyrics about her and that the Jenners had to sign papers so that he wouldn’t catch a felony. I wish he cared about what was going on in his own family as he did about transgendered youth. I found the who wore it better idea to be a cruel and selfish idea with no sensitivity toward Kris Jenner who has to repeatedly hear that his whole life was a lie. I also found the show tiresome, boring, and repetitive. You would too, if you were being honest. It seems nobody can be honest about Caitlin Jenner these days. She is just not a very good person. She is very self-centered.

  16. Joyce Hobson says:

    I can’t bring myself to watch this played out storyline!!! I watched the Diane Sawyer interview that was sufficient for me …enough is enough. The fact is Cait has won. There is no fight anymore. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Gay marriages…but is Cait Gay? I have better & personal problems of my own. I’m over this. Looks like Cait will be Fine&Dandy

  17. Lisa says:

    Looking forward to the story arc about her manslaughter charges!

    • The Truth says:

      No manslaughter charges have been filed against Jenner or are likely to be filed. Jenner was not speeding, nor was the weight of the auto trailer towed by her SUV above the legal limit. Jenner passed a field sobriety test at the scene and submitted voluntarily to a blood test which proved negative for alcohol and drugs. Cellphone records which Jenner volunteered to authorities showed no activity at the time of the accident. Jenner also provided the black box from her Cadillac Escalade to police.

      The adult stepchildren of Kim Howe, the driver who died when Jenner rear-ended her Lexus into a head-on collision with a Hummer in the opposite lane, have filed a wrongful death suit against Jenner. Jenner’s attorneys have petitioned for dismissal of the suit due to lack of standing. Although Howe’s stepchildren claimed they suffered “enormous damages and losses,” they are financially independent adults (60 and 57 years old respectively) who do not rely on Howe, a wealthy philanthropist, for support. No ruling has been made as yet.

      Talent agent Jessica Steindorff, the driver of the black Prius Jenner rear-ended after Howe, has also filed a personal injury suit against Jenner, claiming unspecified physical injuries, lost wages, and damage to her vehicle, all amounting to in excess of $25,000. Steindorff said she was stopped in a line of cars backed up at a stop light when she was rear-ended, but surveillance video from an oncoming bus shows that her car was moving. The video is inconclusive regarding what triggered the accident, but there has been speculation that an unsafe lane change by Steindorff in front of Howe may have caused Howe to brake suddenly in front of Jenner. Police have sent the black box from Steindorff’s Prius to Toyota for analysis.

      At the time of the accident, Steindorff was driving with a suspended license after failing to appear in court pursuant to a 2013 speeding ticket. Her lawyer said she was unaware of the suspension. Steindorff’s license was previously suspended in 2012 when she failed to satisfy a judgment against her in a traffic incident.

      The fatally injured Howe was driving on a license that had expired in 2007.

      Police have not assigned fault to any of the drivers involved.

      While these suits are pending resolution, Jenner’s attorneys will probably counsel against addressing the accident or the suits in her television series.

      • It’s going before the Grand Jury soon and Bruce Jenner will be be charged for vehicular manslaughter. I watched the video dozens of times and it clearly showed he was negligent and not paying attention, didn’t brake to slow down and rammed into the back of woman’s car who was pushed out into traffic and killed by oncoming car.
        The trial will be ridiculous with Bruce Jenner (and who he was driving) dressed in drag.

      • Lisa says:

        Great comments “The Truth,” aka Alan Nierob and the rest of the PR machine Rogers & Cowan. And congratulations on engineering Caitlyn’s ESPY!

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