TV Review: ‘Becoming Us’ Hits A Major Point In Our Culture


Tonight marks the premiere of ABC Family’s unscripted series, Becoming Us, which follows a teenager who is dealing with the revelation that his father is transgendered.

Produced by Ryan Seacrest, Becoming Us is mainly the story of Ben, who is presented as a typical sixteen year old boy. He’s a bit scattered, lives with his mother after his parents’ divorce, and is into his art and his girlfriend, Danielle. However, after the announcement that his father, Charlie (now Carly), is planning to become a woman, Ben’s teenage world is thrown for a loop. We ee the effects of this revelation as Ben has grade troubles or struggles to maintain his schedule.

My worry when I learned about this program was that it might feel explotative, but after viewing the premiere, I was relieved to discover this wasn’t the case. In juxtaposition to Ben’s frazzled teenage life, Carly gives us candid moments that are both striking and humble. My only gripe about Becoming Us is when the show comes off as overly produced and manipulative. Many situations feel contrived by the producers intent on inciting moments of drama. Often Ben’s narration sounds less like his true voice and more like a script, especially when set to bland music.

Becoming Us hits at a major point in our culture, where transgendered issues are coming more and more into our awareness. Alongside the news of Caitlyn Jenner, Becoming Us is a glimpse into a family dealing with this issue as best they can. Despite the small gripes, Becoming Us is obviously aiming for delivering sensitivity…if only it could drop the typical reality show games.

Review by Joe Thompson

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