Caitlyn Jenner's cameo appearance in the third episode of Transparent Season 3 - in which dental patient Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) has a nitrous-induced hallucination of the former Olympian playing Wheel of Fortune -was originally conceived as something much different.
"Our original fantasy was a Family Feud game between the Kardashians and the Pfeffermans," Transparent creator Jill Soloway tells TVGuide.com. "Can you imagine? Season 4."
Producers always knew that they wanted the appearance to come in a dream/nightmare sequence, but quickly recognized that their initial thought was probably a bit ambitious, according to Soloway. "Reality set in and we realized that, if Kris [Jenner] can't manage to get all of the Kardashians in one place for a family holiday, how do I expect to do it?" she said. "I have seen the Aspen episodes [of Keeping Up with the Kardashians]. I understand how hard it is to get everybody to show up. Even with private planes. They just don't do what they're told, those Kardashians. So, reality set in and we were like, OK."
Soloway & Co. were still set on having Caitlyn make a cameo and decided to stick with the Family Feud idea, but then considered having the other "family" be made up of people from Ali's past - including her ex best friend/lover Syd (Carrie Brownstein). That idea fell through, though Season 1's Dale (Ian Harvie) But they soon landed on a different game show.
Colleen Smith, the visual artist who created the animation in Ali's dream sequence. "We really wanted the dream sequence to inhabit this idea of intersectionality, and this concept of this whole season being a little bit like a Seder," Soloway explains. "So we started doing some research about the story of Elijah ... and the story of Elijah's wheel, and realized that in this idea of what god looks like and the goddess, that the image of a circle that was like a spinning wheel actually had a lot more resonance in terms of trying to represent spirituality. ... Wheel of Fortune seemed perfect."
If you look closely, all the numbers on the wheel are multiples of 18 and 36, both of which are considered spiritual numbers in Judaism. They also continually pop up throughout the season as little Easter (er, Passover?) eggs.
"We're doing all these weird Jewish numerology things, where we have the number 18 and 36 appear throughout the season," Soloway says. "There's this idea of the 36 righteous people Sarah and Ali encounter in Episode 5, where Rabbi Raquel talks about Lamed Vavniks, and talks about that there are 36 people who will come together and save the world. So, yeah. This idea of the messiah and numbers, Wheel of Fortune seemed perfect."
Soloway describes Jenner as a "fantastic" addition to the season. "We love Caitlyn," she says. "She was great."
See what the stars of Transparent have to say about Jenner's cameo in the video above.
Transparent Season 3 is available now on Amazon.