On Sunday, Caitlyn Jenner's eight-episode docuseries "I Am Cait" will premiere. Despite the star's roots with E!, and the Kardashian-Jenner family's many shows on the network, the show can't and shouldn't be brushed off like every other reality show you've seen.
The first episode was screened on Tuesday for press in New York and, despite the series' name, it's not just about Caitlyn Jenner.
The opener, which shows a makeup-free Jenner sitting in bed speaking to the camera about how she doesn't want people "dying or being murdered over this" (this meaning being transgender), establishes the entire reason Jenner is doing the series.
The show is an opportunity for Jenner to tell her story, but it's also a chance for members of the transgender community to tell their stories. Because of her wealth and celebrity status, Jenner is in a very different position than most people seeking to transition. It's something she's fully cognizant of and addresses in the first episode, much like in her speech at the ESPYs after accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. She's taken it upon herself to become a spokesperson for the community and, from the get-go, we see how much Jenner is committed to giving back.
The premiere shows Jenner taking a trip to San Diego to visit with the mother of Kyler Prescott, a transgender teen who died by suicide in May. Later, Jenner attends a memorial ceremony for Prescott and speaks with the teen's friends about depression and suicide. This isn't a show that skirts around the issues, and Jenner is clearly passionate about doing something to reduce the staggering suicide rates of transgender individuals.
But as much as the show is about Jenner's outreach, it's also about her transition. It's important to remember that Jenner only came out as transgender this past April in an interview with Diane Sawyer, and introduced herself as Caitlyn in a Vanity Fair cover story on June 1 -- not that long ago. Interestingly, Jenner's own family only met her as Caitlyn mere weeks before the rest of the world did.
The first episode details Jenner's 88-year-old mother meeting her as Caitlyn for the first time, as well as her 17-year-old daughter Kylie Jenner. (From Instagram photos, we know the taping took place on May 19).
Caitlyn and Kylie meet for the first time over FaceTime, after the teen has taken a trip to the dentist. Caitlyn is worried that introducing herself this way might scare her daughter, but Kylie responds, "You're not scaring me. You look pretty." It was a similar greeting when they meet in person: "Hi pretty!" Kylie simply says.
Meeting Caitlyn is more emotional for her mother, Esther, who tells her daughter, "It's not easy," as she tries to get used to her transition. Esther notes that while she may not completely understand, she's supportive, telling Caitlyn, "You have the same soul you were born with."
Other familiar faces on the show include Kim Kardashian and a uncharacteristically smiling Kanye West, who provides some unintentional comic relief. "I think this is one of the strongest things that has happened in our existence as human beings that are so controlled by perception," he says of Caitlyn's transition before having a conversation about sneakers with her sister Pam.
Meanwhile, Kim takes a look in Caitlyn's closet and discovers that her mother Kris Jenner owns one of the same dresses, and they both delight in the idea that they could stage an opportunity for a "Who Wore It Best" moment to occur. Maybe Jenner is a bit of a Kardashian after all.
With seven more episodes to come, audiences should be excited to get to know Cait.
"I Am Cait" premieres Sunday, July 26 at 8 p.m. ET. on E!
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