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Thread: Who Do You Think You Are?

  1. #81
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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    I'm so happy to be able to bump this thread! The show returns on February 3rd (a week from today) for a much longer season! This time, we get TWELVE episodes. The first episode will be Martin Sheen. The rest of the celebrities this season are Marissa Tomei, Blair Underwood, Reba McEntire, Rob Lowe, Helen Hunt, Rita Wilson, Edie Falco, Rashida Jones, Jerome Bettis, Jason Sudeikis and Paula Deen.

    There's a season preview video on the official site: Who Do You Think You Are - NBC Site

    SO excited for the new season!
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    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    Me too. I loved this show. It was such a nice surprise.

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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    I think it must have gotten good ratings for them to add twice as many episodes this season. The first two seasons were just much too short, imo. I wanted MORE! I'm sure it's not an inexpensive show to produce, what with paying historians (not that they make a bunch of money!), flying all over the world, etc. Plus, it's not a quick show to produce. They've got to be doing many of them at the same time.

    I'm thrilled the show is back. It always re-energizes me to do more of my own family history research!

    I heard that Henry Louis Gates is doing another of his series on PBS, but I haven't been able to find anything about when it will air. I think I must have heard him mention it in an interview, but I don't remember any of the particulars.

    I just went to look up this show and found that they've done adaptations from the UK version in ten other countries too, including Russia, Ireland, Sweden, Canada and South Africa. Very cool! They've done 8 seasons in the UK! I'd love to see so many of those episodes!

    ETA: I found the JK Rowling episode on YouTube. Watching it now!
    Last edited by Critical; 01-29-2012 at 06:09 PM.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  4. #84
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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    What I find interesting about the show is that it doesn't even matter who the celebrity is. To me, the enjoyment always comes from how compelling the stories of that person's ancestors, most of whom aren't necessarily famous at all, are. Sometimes I've especially liked episodes that dealt with people I didn't really know much about at all.

    I also like that they generally don't sugarcoat anything. If someone's grandfather ran off and had an entirely second family, they say so. Although when they discovered Susan Sarandon's grandma (or great-grandma, I forget which) had married and given birth by the time she was thirteen and that her husband was the nineteen year old next door neighbor, I do think they rather danced around the obvious there. A nineteen year old having sex with a thirteen year old is statutory rape, at the very least, no matter how you look at it. But it did help to explain why the young woman in question ran off, changed her name, and had a whole second life away from her first marriage and children. She was just so young at the time of her first marriage that she probably couldn't take it, divorce wasn't really an option for her at the time, and she may have felt she had no other choice. If I remember correctly, she was still a teenager when she left.

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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tilden View Post
    What I find interesting about the show is that it doesn't even matter who the celebrity is. To me, the enjoyment always comes from how compelling the stories of that person's ancestors, most of whom aren't necessarily famous at all, are. Sometimes I've especially liked episodes that dealt with people I didn't really know much about at all.
    That's the thing I like about it too. Using celebs just makes it more interesting because, in many cases, we feel like we know them already. It makes it easier to jump right in. Also, I think because the people they use are used to being in front of the camera, they're just more relaxed and comfortable.

    I've watched three episodes of the UK series on YouTube and WOW! I watched JK Rowling, Stephen Fry (who I adore) and Graham Norton. The first two, and Stephen Fry's in particular, were very emotional. I won't give too much away in case any of you want to watch, but I will say that one branch of his family is Jewish and lived in and near Vienna in the 1940's. You can guess where that lead. I think that Stephen's episode is probably my favorite of ANY of the ones I've seen. I really am a huge fan, but I thought what he found and the insights he had AND the way he interacted with everyone, from his family to total strangers, were all just such good TV. I wished his episode was longer! Yeah, I'm a total fangirl.

    One thing I've been impressed with, especially with Stephen Fry and Jo Rowling is that, unlike their American counterparts (for the most part. Of course, I'm generalizing), they are multi-lingual. Both of them went to countries that didn't speak English and they got along fine because they spoke French or German or both.

    Anyway, for fans of the show, I HIGHLY recommend exploring YouTube for the UK episodes. I haven't looked for any Canadian ones, but I bet they're on YouTube as well. This is the list of the UK episodes from Wikipedia: Who Do You Think You Are? (British TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia There are similar pages for the other countries as well. Kim Catrall is listed in the British version. I wonder if they recycled her episode for the American version.

    I found it interesting, in reading more about the show, that the producers often start with more celebrities, but discard the ones whose stories aren't interesting OR if they just can't find anything. OUCH! It's one thing if nothing can be found, but to have what IS found be boring, well, that's rough.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    I don't know that I'd necessarily be offended by being told my family history was "boring," considering that what makes for dramatic television might be difficult to take personally. I mean, I'm content knowing that neither of my grandfathers abandoned their families. Of course, I'm also okay knowing both my grandmothers were pregnant when they got married too, but that's about as scandalous as it gets.

    Sometimes I do worry about the families of the celebrities and whether they really want whatever the experts find out, some of which might be painful or unhappy, played out on national television, but I assume the celebrities check with everyone before they agree to sign on too.

    By the way, has the American version ever done an Asian-American celebrity or a Latino/Latina one? I can't remember them ever going to the far east or Mexico/South America.

    I wonder what they'd do if their research uncovered something really scandalous--like a relative who was a war criminal or something like that. It wouldn't be the celebrity's fault--you can't help who your relatives are--but the celebrity still might prefer not to make that public knowledge. Even having relatives who served on the Nazi side in WWII might make people uncomfortable, even though German men were drafted just like American ones were and had to serve whether they particularly wanted to or not. But it might be viewed very differently by the public if someone were just a twenty-year old foot soldier versus someone being a Gestapo officer too. Actually, by virtue of the draft, I had grandfathers on both sides of WWI, and then a father and uncles on both sides who were in the American armed forces in WWII, because my German relatives immigrated to America in 1920, and that's probably not that uncommon an occurrence either.

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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    I think if I was a celebrity and I'd been told my family history was boring, I might be offended. It's an ego thing. I do think everyone's story is interesting in some way, but it just might not make great television.

    I don't know, I get sort of excited when I find something slightly scandalous, like someone dying in a mistress's bed. Of course, that's because it makes for an interesting story and it's not ME that it happened to! ITA though on the Nazi example. For me, it's always a little celebration when I find another census record and there aren't slaves listed. I'm under no illusions that they were all free-thinking, anti-slavery progressives who didn't own slaves because they thought it was wrong. It probably just means is that my ancestors in the south were so dirt poor that they had to work their own land, but it still makes me happy.

    Right now, I'm watching Martin Freeman's episode on YouTube. Love him and I'm totally addicted to this show!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  8. #88
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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post
    I think if I was a celebrity and I'd been told my family history was boring, I might be offended. It's an ego thing. I do think everyone's story is interesting in some way, but it just might not make great television.

    I don't know, I get sort of excited when I find something slightly scandalous, like someone dying in a mistress's bed. Of course, that's because it makes for an interesting story and it's not ME that it happened to! ITA though on the Nazi example. For me, it's always a little celebration when I find another census record and there aren't slaves listed. I'm under no illusions that they were all free-thinking, anti-slavery progressives who didn't own slaves because they thought it was wrong. It probably just means is that my ancestors in the south were so dirt poor that they had to work their own land, but it still makes me happy.

    Right now, I'm watching Martin Freeman's episode on YouTube. Love him and I'm totally addicted to this show!

    That's one thing I don't have to worry about--all my relatives were well north of the Mason-Dixon line, and besides, the earliest of them arrived in the United States in 1881. I've got no antebellum or Civil War connections at all. Wouldn't surprise me terribly if a more distant German relative was in the German armed forces during WWII, however. I mean, odds are someone among my grandmother's or grandfather's family still in Germany was likely drafted, if nothing else, but if they were, it's not like I had anything to do with it. The war was long over by the time I was born. And the reason my German grandfather elected to move his family to America, where my grandmother already had some relatives living, was that after having been in WWI, he decided he didn't need to be sending any of his sons to serve the Kaiser (instead, one of them ended up serving Roosevelt/Truman, where his ability to speak excellent German and flat, Midwestern English ended up getting him duty working as his unit commander's translator).

    I can't remember...have any of the U.S. episodes turned up Confederate sympathizers? You'd think they'd almost have to have at this point. Wonder what they'd do if some poor celebrity ended up finding out a great-great-uncle was an early member of the Ku Klux Klan. I doubt anyone would want that family secret made public.

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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    I'm pretty lucky that most of my ancestors were in the North. Just one branch was in the south, in the birthplace of the KKK, actually, They left the same year as the KKK formed and wagon trained to Iowa. I like to imagine they left in protest of the KKK, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.

    The most recent immigrant in my family is around 1872, so I'm pretty lucky to be able to do lots of research in documents in this country. Those Polish ancestors though (the 1872 ones), they've given me fits for years. I may never find out any more about them. It drives me crazy!

    To respond to your question above, the US version definitely hasn't done a celeb with Asian or Latin American heritage. I'm not sure why. Maybe they've tried and it was hard to find the records In Faces of America on PBS, they did include Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria, as well as Kristy Yamaguchi, although that show was more about telling the store of how those people got to America, rather than what happened before. Skip Gates did do a show that for PBS called Black in Latin America, but I still haven't seen it. It's in my Netflix queue, but it hasn't been released yet.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  10. #90
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    Re: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post
    I'm pretty lucky that most of my ancestors were in the North. Just one branch was in the south, in the birthplace of the KKK, actually, They left the same year as the KKK formed and wagon trained to Iowa. I like to imagine they left in protest of the KKK, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.

    The most recent immigrant in my family is around 1872, so I'm pretty lucky to be able to do lots of research in documents in this country. Those Polish ancestors though (the 1872 ones), they've given me fits for years. I may never find out any more about them. It drives me crazy!

    To respond to your question above, the US version definitely hasn't done a celeb with Asian or Latin American heritage. I'm not sure why. Maybe they've tried and it was hard to find the records In Faces of America on PBS, they did include Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria, as well as Kristy Yamaguchi, although that show was more about telling the store of how those people got to America, rather than what happened before. Skip Gates did do a show that for PBS called Black in Latin America, but I still haven't seen it. It's in my Netflix queue, but it hasn't been released yet.
    I could maybe understand that some far Eastern countries may be expensive and time consuming to get to, but how hard would it be to get to, say, Mexico for filming? I just think it would be interesting to see stories of immigration from all over the world. Having just watched that celebrity chef thing on the Food Network, Lou Diamond Phillips would be a challenge for them. His ethnic background covers everything from Filipino to Cherokee.

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