Last night’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians aired part one of a very special episode called “About Bruce”. They of course focused on Bruce Jenner’s transition and how it affected his children with Kris Jenner. There was a lot of drama and tears during KUWTK, with almost everyone except Kim having a hard time with their dad’s transition and grieving the loss of the man who raised them. Khloe took Bruce’s transition the hardest, as we’ve heard before, and Kim was really accepting and somewhat analytical about it, I was impressed with her. Kris seemed in denial and in mourning and I came away feeling sorry for her.
For his part Bruce seemed on board with opening up to his family to some extent, but he left out key details . He came across as somewhat sneaky, and that seemed to be the result of having to hide this all his life. He only told Kim he was planning to fully transition after she questioned him about it. He told Kim, not his other daughters, that he was doing the Diane Sawyer interview and left it up to Kim to break the news to her sisters.
It was hard for Bruce to reconcile the fact that his family still needed some hand holding and clarity when it came to his transition. He thought that by telling them once they would get it, I think, and they had several stages to go through still. It was an interesting look into how a family might process someone’s gender transition, but with the Kardashians there’s always the issue of how genuine it was. The emotions did seem real, I’ll give them that. Here’s a recap and hopefully I hit the major points of the episode:
His children knew he cross dressed but kept his secret for him
Kendall admitted finding makeup of Bruce’s as a child and not wanting to tell anyone because she was afraid he was having an affair. Kim, Kourtney and Khloe had seen Bruce dressed as a woman but never told anyone, even their mother.
Khloe is mad Bruce waited so long to tell them
Khloe asked Bruce if he was “planning on not being Bruce anytime soon.” She was really upset, saying that he had children. He got defensive, and explained that he had already talked to his kids. Khloe told the camera later that she knew that Bruce was a cross dresser but that “we were never told that he would fully transition and become a woman.” Kendall came over to Bruce’s house with Khloe and they were both crying. Khloe told Bruce that she didn’t think it was fair that he didn’t tell them “how close this is in the near future.”
In cutaway segments all the kids and Kris gushed about what a great dad Bruce was and is.
Kendall explained that Bruce told all the kids “separately and alone” about four months prior to the special’s taping that he was transitioning.
Kim is analytical and accepting
Bruce later told Kim when she visited him that Khloe and Kendall “ganged up on me.” Bruce explained that “I’ve had secrets all my life, it’s tough not to have secrets.” He showed Kim his pedicure and explained that he did it himself. He also claimed to be very good at makeup. I have my doubts about that, but we’ll see.
Bruce tells Kim that he’s going to “fully become a woman”
Kim wanted to know if Bruce was going to “fully become a woman” and he said “yeah. I see myself in the future that way.” She told him that he had to tell the rest of the family. He admitted already having made the appointment, to have gender reassignment surgery presumably. (Update: Bruce told Kim in part 2 that he did not have an appointment for gender reassignment.) At that point Kim didn’t even know about the Diane Sawyer interview and Bruce had to explain it to her. She took it very well.
Kris is having a hard time
Kris said that Bruce didn’t really tell her that he was transitioning. She wanted to support him but she didn’t “know how to handle this. This is my life, I committed to this life, and I think that he just checked out.” She knew he had tendencies but said “that wasn’t even a discussion… I have these memories of this life and sometimes I feel like it didn’t even exist.” Kim was trying to balance feeling sorry for her mom and being supportive of Bruce and she came across very well and measured. Kim later cried to Kendall and Kylie about everything her mom had been through.
Bruce explained to the camera that he is cool with Kris at this point and that “the love and support from Kris has been overwhelming.”
Khloe is mad at Bruce for not telling them he is planning a full transition
Later, they had a family meeting with all the girls. Khloe called Bruce to task for not telling her and Kendall when they were over his house that he was planning to fully transition. Kim was the peacemaker while Khloe yelled at Bruce for lying to her. He said “I’m not lying Khloe, I didn’t tell you.
“I didn’t lie… I just never told you anything. It’s not an easy subject to talk to you about.”
To the camera later, Bruce explained that he had isolated himself all his life and that he was used to keeping secrets.
Bruce admits to nose job and is planning multiple facial surgeries
Kourtney wanted to know if Bruce had a date for his gender transition and he said “you do it in stages.” He’d just had a nose job and was planning to have his forehead done and his jaw shaved. Khloe wrote on her phone “he’s been planning this for a year probably” and she passed the message around.
Bruce explained to his daughters that “doing [this] publicly is extraordinarily hard.” On camera later he said “maybe this is my greatest calling in life… be honest… and maybe in that honesty I can help other people.”
Bruce told the girls that he goes out dressed as she. They were really interested in whether he had wigs and what his casual style was like. He said that he liked jeans and a top and that he’d worn wigs in the past but that “the worst days of my life were days when I had to get my hair cut.”
“There is no right way to do this”
Bruce got choked up and cried which caused several of his daughters to cry. He said that “the greatest thing in my life I’ve ever done is raise my children… I’m just so proud of all of you… I got to deal with myself. The last thing in the world I would want to do is hurt any of you. Maybe if I’m not honest it’s because I’m afraid to talk to you about this subject because I know it hurts. I understand that. Am I doing it right Khloe? You can never do this right. There is no right way to do this.”
[Recap from KUWTK, aired 5-17-15]
Overall I think KUWTK handled this extremely well. While Khloe seemed harsh at times, her reaction made sense in that Bruce kept hiding details of his transition. At times I found myself thinking that Bruce was being callous toward his family, but they also outlined his reasoning well. This is a guy who has hid a key part of himself his entire life. He’s so used to keeping secrets that it’s hard for him to know what honesty means. His family loves and wants to understand him, but they need time to work through it and they need all the information first. This was informative for me and I can’t help but think that it was groundbreaking. Yes it’s the Kardashians and they know how to get publicity and storylines. This was an important one.
photos from E! and via OK!