Interested in Caitlyn Jenner‘s oh-so-public reveal as the woman she was always meant to be, but can’t stomach another Kardashian TV takeover? The good news is you don’t have to. When the eight-episode, hour-long series I Am Cait premieres this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, not only will it be another ratings smash, but the series will show a whole new and completely serious side to TV’s most popular reality family.
And yup, that includes Kanye West. Here’s why.
This isn’t another Kardashian Klan Koup
Yes, Kim, Kanye and more make appearances as they “meet” Cait for the first time. But rather than argue over silly things like dumb fights, body fat and dresses, the meet-and-greets are about coming to terms with this family change and accepting Cait for who she is.
“I think this is one of the strongest things that has happened in our existence as human beings that are so controlled by perception,” declares Kanye, who has never been close to Jenner, at one point in the premiere. “Because you couldn’t have been up against more. Like, your daughter’s a supermodel, you’re a celebrity, you have every type of thing. And it was still like, ‘F— everybody, this is who I am.'”
The light-hearted moments are really, really needed
OK, so there is some of that hair-and-dress banter, but it’s more about the daughters connecting with their new family member. Plus, it leads to some unintentional funny moments, like when Kim goes through Cait’s new designer closet (most of which has been sent to her free-of-charge by some of the industry’s biggest names), and discovers that Cait and Kris now own the same Tom Ford dress. The pair conspire to pull off a secret “Who wore it best?” sometime down the road.
It’s dramatic, not melodramatic
There are tears (oh, there are tears), but not because it’s someone’s time of the month or some dude was flirting with some girl and misrepresenting himself, a la traditional reality TV. In the opening episode, Cait gets ready to meet her family — mother Esther and sisters Lisa and Pam, for the first time. On the car ride over, Pam explains to cameras how Bruce confided in her about this more than 30 years ago, but she thought he would get over it and discouraged him from going public with it.
It’s not really about Cait
Sure, she’s the anchor of the series, but this also just as much about how such a transformation affects family and friends. Esther’s clear pain and the struggle to accept her new daughter (made obvious by the camera constantly panning to her wringing hands) is emotional. And it’s made even more intense when a group worker stops by the house for a family session to answer any questions about pronouns, nature vs. nurture and that always lighthearted topic, religion.
Everyone will learn something
Who knew a television series could be a guilty pleasure and a learning tool? Viewers will get a glimpse into Cait’s new daily life (which now includes having to swap cars three times just to avoid a paparazzi shot reportedly worth $250,000), but we’ll also see what life is like for those who don’t have a support system as strong as Cait’s.
We all love making fun of rich celebs every once in a while because they do ridiculous things. But as we soon learn, this show is about so much more than that.
Caitlyn is there for the right reasons
“All eyes are on you now, you cannot disappoint,” Kim tells Caitlyn in the show’s first few minutes. It’s a representation that the leading lady takes very, very seriously. She claims she’s not an expert in transgender issues, but tells cameras instead, “I am an expert in my story.”
That’s the story Cait shares here, but along the way she tries to learn others’ stories to help end the feelings of shame and isolation, plus the social stigma that goes along with feeling as though you don’t belong in the body you were born into.
“I hope to create understanding so that the next person doesn’t have to be like me,” Cait says.
We think she’s certainly blazing the trail.