ABC Family's Becoming Us: Will You Continue on Ben and Carly's Journey?

Becoming Us Series Premiere

Like a scene out of Lizzie McGuire‘s first season, the premiere of ABC Family’s Becoming Us features an awkward moment in which a character fumbles her way through the still-unfamiliar world of bra-shopping. Only the character in question isn’t some naïve, boy-crazy tween; she’s a middle-aged transgender woman named Carly.

The Ryan Seacrest-produced reality series, which premiered Monday, explores the relationship between Carly and her son Ben, a teenage photographer with a lot on his mind. We also meet Ben’s mom Suzy, to whom Carly — formerly known as Charlie — was married for 16 years, and Sutton, Ben’s newly engaged sister. (In an interesting twist, Ben’s girlfriend Danielle also has a father who’s transitioning.)

Despite a few scattered moments of levity — like when Ben’s friend remarks that Carly’s “pretty hot,” or when Ben recalls noticing that his dad was growing “like, real boobs” — the first hour of Becoming Us is downright heavy. In a particularly heartbreaking moment, Carly admits, “I wish I could have been a better husband,” followed by Danielle’s father saying that he “wouldn’t wish a gender conflict on anybody,” calling it a “nightmare.” (For the record, Danielle’s father is sticking with a male pronoun for now.)

But the real emotional whammy comes when Carly reveals her plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery: “My boy parts are going to become my girl parts,” Carly explains, to which Ben replies that he’s “even more pissed” now because, in his mind, “It’s kind of official my dad is gone.”

It’s in those real moments that Becoming Us exhibits its true value. It’s not merely a PSA explaining why everyone should love and accept transgender people in a post-Caitlyn Jenner world; it’s an honest look at a real family dealing with monumental change.

And the process isn’t always pretty.

Did you enjoy the first episode of Becoming Us? Will you return next Monday? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Scott says:

    ABC must have a weird definition of what is considered a Family show. The dad shouldn’t be celebrated for having a mental illness

    • KN says:

      Then… Turn the channel. You don’t have to watch. I will.

    • Jana says:

      You seem to be the one with a mental illness…called transphobia.

      • Whatever says:

        I don’t understand why a man who feels he’s a woman is not regarded as having a mental illness. People don’t have to agree with you, it doesn’t mean they’re full of hatred.

        Even if they are, practice what you preach and try not to be hateful back.

        • KK says:

          I don’t understand why that man would be considered to HAVE a mental illness. The psychiatric community doesn’t recognize it as one and well, they are the experts. Just because people don’t believe the same things you do, it doesn’t automatically suggest a mental illness. You telling them that they do? That is hateful.

        • Jana says:

          Embracing and practicing acceptance/tolerance in no way necessitates tolerating intolerance. Try again.

    • dancmh says:

      I haven’t seen it and nothing on ABC Family interests me. But the existence of a show I wasn’t going to watch doesn’t bother me. Maybe the show exists just to demonstrate there are different types of families. Show me a family without issues and conflicts and I’ll show you a family where someone is Duggaring someone else.

    • christine says:

      It isn’t a mental illness, moron.

  2. Sparks says:

    I think I’m gonna pass. If I wanted to watch a transwoman get treated like crap by her family I’d watch transparent, because at least that show frames the narrative around her and her struggle.

  3. he didnt have no rights to become a woman he should love the way god make him its just sad cause know the boy under alot of presure and pain because of his father its realy hard and sad

    • amysue4772 says:

      Thank you for once again proving that it is impossible to be a bigot, and have passed 3rd grade.

      • Me says:

        There was an interesting article in the NYT about how the transgender movement is setting the women’s lib movement back because it forces society to see that men and women are in fact different. The article further states that a man can never be a women because no matter what sugery they get and what hormones they take they will never have the life experiences that make up who a women is. It also takes away from what is considered a women. An example is a pro choice group not being able to call abortion a women’s health issue because it discriminates against transgender individuals who identify as a women. I too, think that a show like this isn’t needed on a channel that is primarily a family network. So am I a bigot and a racist and whatever other debate shutting down word you would like to call me, because I think that this transgender movement doesn’t need to be made mainstream?

    • Yeahman says:

      I agree with you. The man is already a father. Why put your kids through this ordeal. The man should be happy as he already is and be there for his kids AS A FATHER!

  4. Yeahman says:

    Why is this okay? This kind of crap destroys families.

    • dancmh says:

      If your family is so easily destroyed then maybe you should give up your cable for your kids sake. Mine can withstand a tv show they can turn the channel on.

    • Jana says:

      Dealing with a transgender family member’s coming out and transition is incredibly difficult, even for the most open-minded of people. But the only families it destroys are those with members who don’t love each other unconditionally.

  5. Emily says:

    I really wanted to like this show, but it fell short for me. The structure of the show made it seem like a fake “Hill-esque” reality show. Many of the scenes felt forced / faked (the daughter who lives in NYC just happens to come home, Daniel and Carly meeting for the first time to go bra shopping after “never meeting” before even though their kids have been dating for a year, Ben going over to the apartment for “the talk”). The text messages were also strange. I don’t know. I’m sure that I will give it another go. I love the concept of the show, but I’m not thrilled with the execution.

  6. DB says:

    I boycott anything Ryan Seacrest is involved with, and have since I learned he is a producer of that Kartrashian show.

  7. Joru95 says:


  8. Julia says:

    Apparently all of the education and support that the Caitlyn Jenner story created over the last month is gone based on this comments board. So disappointing that the usual intelligent commenters are proving that transphobia is active here on

    • Jana says:

      Indeed. Very disappointing that so many transphobic bigots are showing up here on a site that is usually quite queer friendly.

  9. Bob Backus says:

    Ignored it, he can do whatever he wants too, I just think the entire subject is boring, as is “reality” tv. Can anyone really convince me that this isn’t scripted in one form or another? Wish them well, but don’t care to watch it.

  10. arial2 says:

    Great show! An important issue addressed well with none of the Kardashian drama.

  11. Jessie says:

    I just find Carly to be a very selfish person. No regards for his sons feelings! No matter what, he is a DAD NOT A MOM!!! How dare he take away from his son!