Trends in TV are nothing new, but the subject matter that execs latch on to can often be refreshing. Case in point: taking its cue from Amazon’s critical darling Transparent, ABC Family is moving straight ahead with its own transgender parent show, the docu-series My Transparent Life. By doing this, I think they also put a moratorium on “transparent” in titles of projects about actual trans parents.
At the heart of My Transparent Life is Ben, a teenager who is going through some thangs when he discovers his parents will soon be going through a divorce, and that his dad is on his way to becoming a woman. With Ben as the anchor, the series will explore his relationships with family and friends during this emotional period, and viewers will get to watch the patriarch Charlie make the transition to Carly.
So yeah, it’s basically Transparent if Jeffrey Tambor’s character had become Maura when his kids were younger. As this is an ABC Family project, the message is acceptance and understanding, rather than controversy. Not that Transparent was controversial, exactly, but there were a lot of unwholesome things happening that probably won’t be making the leap to cable.
My Transparent Life received a straight-to-series order from the network, though the number of episodes is unknown. It’s coming from Ryan Seacrest Productions, the company behind such thought-provoking series as Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Mixology. Seacrest and his squad will be producing along with Paul Barrosse, most famous for Little People, Big World and a bunch of TV Land specials. Your mileage may vary on the series I’ve just mentioned.
So there’s at least a chance that this thing could tip over into the weirdo reality TV stratosphere, but hopefully they keep things grounded and far from exploitation. Here’s the soothing way Seacrest put it in the press release.
At RSP, we love family stories, and we couldn’t be more excited that ABC Family is helping us share this heartwarming story of how an ordinary teenager grapples with a challenging and unexpected family situation. We feel audiences will find Ben’s story relatable on a number of different levels, because at the end of the day, family is family unconditionally.”
Orange is the New Black has made big waves in the trans community in recent years for actress Laverne Cox’s performance as the criminally stylish Sophia, which earned her the first Emmy nomination for a transgender performer. And Transparent, which earned some Golden Globe nominations earlier today, features acclaimed actress Alexandra Billings as Maura’s friend Davina. Will there be a life of fame for Carly when all is said and done?
There was no date given for when ABC Family would be moving forward with My Transparent Life, but considering it’s a real-life story, one has to assume everything is already filmed. Right? Anyway, expect to find it at some point in 2015.