The docuseries also often references her desire to escape the shadow of her superstar brother, her willful father and her famous last name. "It has opened a great deal of doors for me... having that name," she says at one point. "[But] I wanted my own identity."
As a native of Gary, Indiana, I loved how the docuseries began with Janet and Randy visiting the tiny, two-bedroom home there that she, her parents and her eight siblings lived in during the 1960s. (It was, in fact, just a few blocks north of my grandmother's house.) But it was also odd to see her experience Gary mostly from behind the window of an automobile, surveying a crumbling, economically depressed area that is now a shadow of the bustling city it was when she lived there.
The third episode promises to deliver her perspective on the child molestation accusations made against her brother, now-deceased pop icon Michael Jackson.
And there will be lots of interest in hearing her side of the infamous 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction," where her breast was exposed briefly at the end of her halftime performance by guest Justin Timberlake. Fans have long held she was unfairly damaged by the incident—paying a heavier price than Timberlake, perhaps due to the ire of then-CBS CEO Les Moonves.
A docuseries like this one would be a good venue to find out exactly what happened from her perspective. What was planned for the halftime show, did it go wrong, did she feel Moonves was gunning for her afterward and did she feel abandoned by Timberlake?
I wasn't able to see the final episode, so I don't know if those questions were answered or how. But given what I have seen of Janet Jackson., I'm not confident we'll get the kind of in-depth examination that usually makes for a great docuseries.
Like the moment when Jimmy Jam presses Janet to deliver a better performance in the studio, this documentary needed an outside voice strong enough to push her to go deeper—revealing more than we can read in a Wikipedia entry or see in gossip columns.
Over the years, you get the sense that the Jackson family has devoted a lot of energy to downplaying, avoiding and publicly ignoring the dramas which have swirled around them for decades. It's a defense mechanism which makes sense on a human level, especially given how much attention, commentary and coverage the superstar family has drawn since the 1970s.