The Bruce Jenner interview with Diana Sawyer on ABC marked the coming out as a transgender woman of the Olympic great and reality TV star. Watch the full video and check out a roundup of what the TV critics are saying in their reviews and check out video below.
The interview was as much hyped as its content kept under wraps. In an era in which it’s nearly impossible to avoid leaks, the public and the media were left to speculate over what might transpire in those two hours of television. It was largely assumed that 65-year-old Bruce Jenner would confirm that he is transitioning to female. It was a matter of wondering if he might appear on camera as a woman, if he might reveal his new name, and, not least, whether he would be using the pronoun “he” or she.”
Jenner spent as the reluctant participant on ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians,’ and yet before that he had spent more than a generation as a public figure in his own right, ever since becoming the USA’s Olympic gold medalist in track and field’s most grueling event, the decathlon. It’s no wonder there was immense curiosity over his presumed coming out as transgender.
While there could have been sensationalism, the subject and the coming out were sensitively handled. Critics have largely given the program favorable reviews, and GLAAD has commended the network for the broadcast.
As social media weighed in making Bruce Jenner a trending topic, so do the TV critics. Here’s a roundup of what some have had to say.
“…. In advance, everything about “Bruce Jenner – The Interview” screamed smarm, from ABC’s steady promotional drumbeat to the sweeps-timed airdate to the inordinately large two-hour primetime window, the sort of time ABC News hasn’t devoted to Iraq or ISIS. Yet Jenner’s honesty (and certainly preparation) along with additional elements the program incorporated made extremely good use of the forum, shedding considerable light on an issue about which much of the public is no doubt still ill-informed. ABC has clearly tilted toward soft news across its platforms, but this was a genuine human-interest story presented in a sensitive and serious manner. …” — Variety
“…. Sawyer gets points scoring the interview, creating “appointment television” a rare thing in an age when most people watch shows on their own time thanks to DVRs and video on demand.
“But there was a huge cheesy element to the entire program that almost couldn’t be helped because of the way Jenner has emerged in the last few years as a reality show star on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” — a series featuring Kim Kardashian and the rest of family who have become famous simply for being famous….” — — New York Daily News
“…. In the 1970s, Bruce Jenner was a symbol of American masculinity as an Olympic champion. Nearly 40 years later, in an extraordinary television interview, Jenner told the world that he identifies as a woman and has felt gender confusion since he was a little boy growing up in the New York suburbs.
“Jenner let his hair down — literally loosening a ponytail and letting his hair flow past his shoulders — in a symbolic moment at the start of his two-hour interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer that was televised Friday. “Yes, for all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”… – Chicago Tribune
“….Sometimes TV can surprise you. ABC’s Bruce Jenner: The Interview could have been a gaudy, exploitative affair, but instead it was reserved, eloquent and educational. After months of speculation, Bruce Jenner confirmed that he is transitioning. “Yes for all intents and purposes, I am a woman, “ he told Diane Sawyer. …” – Hollywood Reporter
“…Given the reality show culture from which Bruce Jenner has derived all his recent fame, there were reasons to suspect Bruce Jenner: The Interview would be a crass enterprise, some mutual exploitation for ratings and money on the part of both Jenner and ABC. Instead, the two-hour special was tremendously moving, and for a lot of America, revelatory and educational. …” – Yahoo TV
It’s clear already, the interview is an iconic moment in television history. As our culture and society move towards accepting and embracing transgender people this may indeed be a watershed moment. If you missed the Bruce Jenner Diane Sawyer interview, you can watch the full video replay below.