Not everybody is a Kardashian historian. We’re here to help.
For those who have never really kept up with the Kardashians but are interested in all things Caitlyn Jenner, we’ve compiled a helpful primer containing everything you need to know going into the premiere of I Am Cait, arguably the most thoughtful, honest, and sensitive production to come from the E! network.
Set to debut Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, I Am Cait follows Caitlyn’s reintroduction to the world following her Vanity Fair cover reveal, which itself took place less than two months after she came out as transgender to Diane Sawyer and nearly 17 million American viewers on 20/20.
The eight-part docuseries follows not just Caitlyn’s personal journey to self-acceptance, but explores the issues befalling all trans people in a world that doesn’t always understand.
EW caught an early screening of the premiere in New York City and the below contains not just background information on the people you’ll meet but teases of what to expect from them when the docuseries launches.
I Am Cait really kicks off with a bang. The rapper — maybe you’ve heard of him — makes a brief appearance alongside wife Kim Kardashian, as the two meet Caitlyn in person for the first time. Perhaps you don’t need to know all about West himself, but we thought this might be a good time to remind you that Jenner has praised Kanye’s open-mindedness in the past. In her 20/20 interview, she revealed that Kim was particularly accepting of her transition thanks to West’s influence. “He says to Kim, ‘Look, I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am. I can have the most beautiful daughter in the world, and I have that,'” Caitlyn, 65, said of the rapper. “‘But I’m nothing if I can’t be me. If I can’t be true to myself, it doesn’t mean anything.'”
In I Am Cait, we see West tell Caitlyn: “I think this is one of the strongest things that have happened in our existence as human beings, that are so controlled by perception. You couldn’t have been up against more.” He also extolls the virtue of shoelace-less sneakers. West is great — he’s so gravely misunderstood by so many.
Kim Kardashian West
Again, you are more than likely aware of Kim’s name. Perhaps overly so. But Caitlyn’s stepdaughter with Kris Jenner makes her own appearance in the docuseries, expressing support while remaining focused on the things that matter: Caitlyn’s Twitter account. (That’s a joke: Kim is a self-aware treasure.)
While looking through Caitlyn’s closet, Kim spies a dress owned by Kris in a different color, and begins hatching a Parent Trap-style outfit showdown between Caitlyn and Kris. Can you imagine anything that would make Kris’ head explode more? Kim also talks about her pregnancy — something she revealed to the world one day prior to Caitlyn’s coming-out.
Esther is Caitlyn’s mother. As we saw in Caitlyn’s 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Esther is supportive of Caitlyn and trying her best to adjust, but she is experiencing some pronoun confusion now that Caitlyn has fully transitioned. Though she uses male pronouns more often than female, it’s obvious that it doesn’t come from a malicious place, and Caitlyn doesn’t appear to mind.
“I love Bruce,” she says. “That’ll never change. It’s going to take some getting used to. But I want to do what he [sic] wants.”
Caitlyn’s youngest daughter with Kris met Caitlyn for the first time time over FaceTime when Kylie was a bit “loopy” following a dentist appointment. But the premiere of I Am Cait has them meeting in person, as well. Kylie, 17, worried that it might be a bit “uncomfortable,” but the greeting seemingly went off without a hitch. When Esther gives Kylie a photo of herself from when she was 17 years old — and married — Kylie jokes, “Like me!” (Kylie is currently dating 25-year-old rapper Tyga. Caitlyn did not love her joke.)
In the premiere, Kylie outfits her father with dark green hair extensions partly as a bonding activity and partly because she has her own line of hair extensions.
Pam is Caitlyn’s older sister. As she revealed in the 20/20 interview, she was one of the first to learn that Caitlyn was transgender. Pam “never told a soul for 30 years,” she said in the interview, and thought that because Caitlyn had never brought it up again that perhaps she had “gotten over it,” later realizing, “You don’t get over this.”
Kyler Prescott was a trans teen who died by suicide on May 18 at just 14 years old. Caitlyn’s docuseries is not just about herself — the Olympian is intent on using her platform to better the lives of trans people everywhere. In I Am Cait, Caitlyn visits Kyler’s family to pay her respects and is forced to switch cars multiple times on the way to San Diego in order to dodge the paparazzi, as she didn’t want to publicize her visit. During the trip, Caitlyn reveals that the paparazzi were so dogged because the going rate for photographs of her was $250,000.
Kyler’s parents were supportive of his transition, and even helped him legally change his name. He died before he could see his new birth certificate. His story shows that the support of one’s own family is not always enough and that Caitlyn’s advocacy for the respect of trans people could make a huge difference in preventing needless loss of life.
Candis and Caitlyn have become increasingly good friends since Caitlyn’s coming-out. One of the first trans actresses to play a trans character, Candis had a recurring role in the 2007 ABC series Dirty Sexy Money. She makes an appearance in the premiere of I Am Cait, but it likely won’t be the last time we see her in the docuseries; in a preview for the rest of the season, we see that Caitlyn’s time spent in New York City during Pride was documented by E! cameras — Candis and Caitlyn hung out during that time, along with a number of other trans activists.
Khloé doesn’t necessarily make an appearance in the premiere, though her name is invoked by Kim in the supertease for the rest of the season. She wasn’t happy with how she was portrayed in the Vanity Fair profile, and Kim tells Caitlyn: “You don’t have to bash us on the way to the top.”
Kourtney is also mentioned briefly at the top of the premiere as someone who was very supportive of Caitlyn when she came out.
Though Rob — Caitlyn’s youngest stepchild with Kris — has been absent from the public eye for some time now and has not appeared in any of the specials documenting Caitlyn’s transition, he did make an appearance of sorts in I Am Cait via a phone call, telling Caitlyn that her Vanity Fair spread was beautiful.