1. cf. “Pedro Zamora’s Real World of Counterpublicity: Performing an Ethics of the Self” (Muñoz 1999). [return to text]

2. In a 2014 interview with Buzzfeed, Cox explains how she refused to fight with a fellow contestant as she ‘didn’t want to give television the satisfaction of seeing two black women going at it’ (Jones 2016). In “A double-take on reality television: Laverne Cox’s political and pedagogical gestural humor”, Nicole Morse further explicates Cox’s intervention on I Want to Work for Diddy through the lens of gestural humor (Morse 2016).

3. The premiere of The Real World in 1992 marked the first emergence of the docu-soap as it is known today. Although PBS’s An American Family had moulded cinema vérité footage into a soap opera-style story arc in 1973, MTV’s incorporation of video diary interviews among fly-on-the-wall footage quickly became the standard for the genre.

5. ‘Gary Carter (2013) calls Grey Gardens an early example of reality TV because it gives the viewer a ‘clear sense that they are performing for the camera in a way that makes you feel really queasy.’ This queasy feeling would become a feature of audience engagement with the genre.’ (Hill, 2015, 58)

6. In an interview on Bethenny Frankel’s talk show bethenny, Cavallari revealed that her on-screen relationship with Jenner was entirely fabricated, and that a confrontation with his supposed ex-girlfriend was staged (bethenny 2016). Subsequently, the MTV special The Hills: That Was Then, This is Now detailed the editing and production process in a series of interviews with star Lauren Conrad and members of the crew (“The Hills: That Was Then, This is Now”, 2016).

7. The “About” page from OWN’s YouTube channel reflects the personal brand cultivated by Winfrey through her many years on daytime TV: ‘OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand—and the magnetism of the channel. […]OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities’ (“OWN” 2016).

8. ‘On the second day of filming, I tried to quit the show. I had a lengthy conversation with the show-runner saying, “I just can’t do this. I want to go home.”  There is footage of this somewhere.’ (Boylan 2016b) [return to p. 2]

9. For example, in the season 2 finale Boylan tells Jenner that ‘Republicans—your people—they don’t like us’ when discussing the overturned the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) (“Houston, We Have a Problem” 2016).

Works cited

bethenny. 2016. Kristin Cavallari on “The Hills”: Dating Brody Jenner and Fight with Jade Were Faked. Accessed May 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx9TgWHQAas.

Bissinger, Buzz. 2015. “Caitlyn Jenner: The Full Story.” Vanity Fair, July.

Bornstein, Kate. 2016, March 23. https://twitter.com/katebornstein/status/712432597742313473.

Boylan, Jennifer. 2015. “Jenny Boylan on Caitlyn Jenner: The Big Dress Theory.” August 14.

———. 2016a, March 11. https://twitter.com/jennyboylan/status/708360325926678528.

———. 2016b. “Caitlyn Jenner, Ted Cruz, and the Flavor of Tarantulas.” April 4. http://www.jenniferboylan.net/2016/03/04/caitlyn-jenner-ted

———. 2016c. Personal correspondence, July 13.

“Bruce Jenner: The Interview.” 2015. ABC News. ABC.

Gamson, Joshua. 1998. Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Glock, Allison. 2016. “The Conversation with Transgender Icons Jennifer Finney Boylan and Kate Bornstein.” espnW. Accessed April 21.

Hill, Annette. 2007. Restyling Factual TV: Audiences and News, Documentary and Reality Genres. London ; New York: Routledge.

———. 2014. Reality TV. Key Ideas in Media and Cultural Studies. London: Routledge.

“Houston, We Have a Problem.” 2016. I Am Cait. E! Entertainment Television.
Jones, Saeed. 2016. “Laverne Cox Is The Woman We’ve Been Waiting For.” BuzzFeed. Accessed May 3.

Mamber, Stephen. 1974. Cinema Verite in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Morse, Nicole. 2016. “A Double-Take on Reality Television: Laverne Cox’s Political and Pedagogical Gestural Humor.” Feminist Media Studies, April, 1–13.

Muñoz, José Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Cultural Studies of the Americas, v. 2. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nichols, Bill. 2010. Introduction to Documentary (2nd edition). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.  

“OWN.” 2016. YouTube. Accessed May 3.

Richards, Jen. 2016, March 14. https://twitter.com/smartassjen/status/709463084784439296.

Smith, Mariah. 2016. “Keeping Up With the Kontinuity Errors: Yup, Kendall Was Furious at Caitlyn Over the VS Fashion Show.” Jezebel. February 16.

The Hills: That Was Then, This is Now. 2016. MTV.

“Watch the First Promo for Caitlyn Jenner’s New Docu-Series on E!” 2015. E!
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“Woman of the Year?” 2016. I Am Cait. E! Entertainment Television.