I Am Cait Finale: Caitlyn Jenner Faces Kris & Embraces Her New Name

The finale of I Am Cait ended with Caitlyn Jenner echoing a sentiment she's told viewers time and time again, "I want help the people in my community." And it's safe to say that despite the show's surprising and unfortunate decline in viewership over its eight-week run, she has already done so much to help. Not just by shedding light on the transgender community, but by using her reality show as a platform to educate, enlighten, and introduce viewers to the men and women who have paved the way for her. In that aspect, her show was like nothing we've seen when it comes to reality television.

Then again, she is still part of the E! brand and forever tied to the Kardashian enterprise and despite the good Caitlyn has done, she clearly still has a long way to go in her personal life. Her tense and somewhat jarring conversation with ex-wife Kris Jenner, if anything, did no favors for her. Even the most anti-Kris Jenner viewers were no doubt put off by Caitlyn's almost utter disregard for her feelings.

There's no doubt that the end of their union was rocky, and that Kris could have reached out, but she also had every right to feel upset by Caitlyn's comments in Vanity Fair. At one point, Caitlyn unfairly states that Kris is "overreacting" and claimed her tears were shed only for the sake of playing the martyr.

While both of these estranged partners understand that communication is key and both have emotional scars that have not yet healed, it felt like icky reality television fodder rather than something worthwhile and urgent like the rest of the show. It felt even more bizarre and detached when Kris asked Caitlyn to pose for a selfie after their emotional face-off. Is this part of their "new normal" or is this simply how the Kardashian universe operates: for all the cameras to see?

Caitlyn did understand that her family has a "sense of grief" with her transition and that they miss Bruce, but ultimately this show hasn't been about them. It's been about Caitlyn's journey and finding a new support system and ultimately, a new kind of family to be part of. Now, whether or not Caitlyn ultimately "forgets" about her family will be unlikely, but she'll simply have to find a way to have both meet in the middle.

For instance, the rest of the finale — titled "A New Beginning" — was dedicated to Caitlyn having a renaming ceremony with her new friends in the trans community. It was a beautiful and powerful thing, but as EW.com's Melissa Maerz pointed out on Twitter, "Why aren't Kris and the kids invited to Caitlyn's naming ceremony?." It's a really good point. Yes, Caitlyn had (most) of her children present for her ESPYs speech, but if she had her feelings hurt by not attending an important life event, like Kylie Jenner's graduation ceremony, wouldn't the feeling be the same for her children with this important life event?

I feel like I'm bashing Caitlyn Jenner here, and I don't mean to be. Look, I'll take an E! reality show that gives less airtime to the Kardashians and more airtime to the likes of Jenny Boylan or Drian Juarez or Reverend Allyson Robinson any day. It's actually kind of an incredible thing. It's even more incredible to watch an E! reality show that unflinchingly addresses faith, gender, sexuality and what it's like — as Robinson put it — to wear condemnation as "a badge of honor."

Caitlyn's renaming ceremony was ultimately a wonderful thing. She was surrounded by friends and supporters (including Boy George) who all expressed their great pride in Caitlyn and her journey thus far in finding her "authentic self." Caitlyn herself said proudly, through tears, that the trans community "is my place and this is where I belong." Hopefully the trans community continues to have a place in our popular culture well beyond I Am Cait, where we can have productive dialogue and education and most importantly, acceptance. If that is Caitlyn's biggest accomplishment,with this show, then she has definitely done a big part for her community already.
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