ABC’s Bruce Jenner – The Interview was one of the most fascinating pieces of broadcast journalism I’ve seen in quite some time.
This interview was so important for many reasons. It opened up a national dialogue. It helped explain a sensitive topic. It challenged people to be more open-minded.
Out of all that was said, there is one comment that stuck with me. Diane Sawyer asked Bruce if he regretted doing Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She said, “And all that time …”
Bruce’s response was to raise his hand. “I had the story. We had done 425 episodes, I think, over almost eight years, and the entire run I kept thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god, this whole thing.’ The one real, true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about it.”
To me, that comment says so much.
There is an illusion of access to modern celebrities, thanks to social media, paparazzi photos, even TMZ. We feel like we genuinely *know* these people because we see them all the time. But … how much do we really see?
Sure, I see celebrities I follow on social media pop up in my newsfeed, and I could tweet them anything at any time. But that doesn’t mean I know everything about them – or even have the right to. What I see is minute portion of their day and their personality – not a full picture.
There is a point where that illusion of access goes to far. One of the saddest moments of the ABC special to me was when Bruce cancelled a medical procedure because paparazzi found about it and were waiting for him. Even for celebrities who are as (arguably) overexposed as the Jenner/Kardashian family, there is no reason that should happen.
Reality TV might invite viewers into a celebrity’s home, but that doesn’t mean we need to see the dirty laundry. I, for one, am glad that Bruce decided to tell his real, true story.