By the time we arrived in New Orleans, the I Am Cait crew had been through a lot together: We’d ridden mechanical bulls in Tulsa, faced protesters in Chicago, flown in a helicopter across the Grand Canyon and floated down the Mississippi in a steamboat with Scott Disick. We’d fought with each other, then felt bad about the fighting, and slowly, tentatively, gingerly, began to learn how to talk to each other with love and respect, even when we disagreed. Quite frankly, by New Orleans we thought we’d seen it all.
Then Kris Jenner showed up.
There are a lot of amazing things about this episode, but the Kris and Caitlyn Jenner conversations are what I remember most. They’re clearly still deeply connected to each other—but there’s plenty of hurt and anger and uncertainty still kicking around their hearts. I hoped that Kris and Caitlyn might find a little bit of what the rest of us had found on the bus trip—this new way of bridging the distances of disagreement and loss through love and respect.
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They clearly have a long way to go still, and where they’ll wind up in the future is anybody’s guess. The road from ex-husband and ex-wife to a pair of girlfriends—sisters, even—is not easy. But I think they’ll do it. Speaking as someone who’s been married to my own wife for 27 years now—12 as husband and wife, 15 as wife and wife—I know it can be done, if the love is there.
There are a couple other moments I loved in this episode, and they’re both moments where I got, briefly, to bust out of my usual role. For one, there’s the “I Am Jenny”-cam moments, first with Caitlyn (which turned surprisingly serious) and later with Ella Giselle, that I think are charming. Ella’s obsession with chocolate milk is something I glad we got to capture. It’s really adorable. (Another one, in which Candis Cayne shows me how to tie a towel turban, is featured in the online “deleted scenes” for the series, and is worth checking out.)
Also in this episode there is the night Professor Boylan glams it up and winds up on stage with Chandi Moore cavorting and celebrating in the club. I think people think I’m the “scold” of the show sometimes, that I’m the one who’s so hell-bent on “keeping it real” that I don’t get to have any fun. And so in this episode, I said to the hair and makeup people, “Pull out the stops.” I bought an amazing dress from a shop in the French Quarter and arrived at dinner shimmering and shining. I think Candis and Chandi in particular were a little stunned when I came down for dinner all dolled up. I remember walking into the room, thinking, “This’ll show’em!”
At the end of this night, I remember Candis saying, “Wow, J.B., you worked it tonight!” I said to her, tell you what, “Next season, you be the college professor, and I’ll be the showgirl.” It was really fun.
We learned a lot in New Orleans, all of us, but it was especially cool to see Cait and Kris together. I liked hanging out with Kris. She was very welcoming to me, interested in what I thought, interested in how we all thought Cait was coming along on her journey. I remember saying to her the quote that formed the very first “epigraph” in the first show of this season: “As it turns out, we’re all still learning to be men, or women, all of us still learning to become ourselves.”
This is true of people who aren’t trans, too, I think. It’s all of us.
Next week: more New Orleans, then back to Los Angeles, and then, finally, on to Houston, to face some of our harshest enemies and critics face to face, in hopes of opening their hearts. See you then!