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Who Do You Think You Are?


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#1

Twilight Man

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Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 9:58 PM

Great, rub it in, why don't cha?

Not only are you rich and famous, but now you can prove that you're a descendant of Pocahontas???

That seems to be the premise of NBC's latest show (Please come back and watch our network!!!!).

Each week, a celebrity will have their lineage examined to reveal "surprising, inspiring and even tragic stories that often are linked to crucial events in American history."

Lisa Kudrow is executive producer, as well as one of the initial celebs that the show will examine.

Other celebs include Sarah Jessica Parker (premiere episode Friday March 5th) and Susan Sarandon.

How long do you think it will be before Carnie Wilson shows up on here?

Edited by Twilight Man, Feb 27, 2010 @ 10:04 PM.

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#2

suckmycouch

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Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 10:18 PM

...will lead celebrities on a journey of self-discovery as they unearth their family trees that reveal surprising...

Just what do the accomplishments and stories of one person alive at one time have to do with the self-discovery of another person alive at a different time who incidentally shares a tiny percentage of the historical person's genetic material?

Ugh, this is so stupid. Somebody who reproduced 200 years ago could have hundreds to thousands of descendants alive today, yet the descendant who becomes a celebrity has a special claim on the historical person's significance. Hey celebrities, if you want to discover how vapid and solipsistic you are just take a fucking poll.
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#3

Malibu65

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Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 10:33 PM

Wasn't this done on PBS?
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#4

dbljaygrl

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Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 10:33 PM

Now that NBC managed to get their man into the white house they realize that his support is taking off like rats off a burning ship. Some people would be surprised to know that approx. 10% of whites have some black ancestry that they don't know about. Most of Thomas Jefferson's progeny are of African blood. Is this how NBC will try to persuade us to take Obama back into our loving embrace? I betcha that this is the main thrust of this new show. NBC, could you be any more transparent?
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#5

suckmycouch

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Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 10:36 PM

Wasn't this done on PBS?

Yeah, hosted by that guy who was harassed by that beer-swilling honkey pig.
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#6

sereion

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Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 11:36 PM

*rolls eyes* NBC is seriously reaching here. I could less wheter or not Lady Gaga is a descendent of Marie Antoinette, JMHO--I'll pass on this one.
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#7

derekevans

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 2:31 PM

The original (British) series is actually really good, very moving and serious. They mostly featured legit respected actors with a genuine interest in their family history, and the celeb element was downplayed. It could be far too emotionally manipulative in the, 'here's an actor crying over hearing the details of their great grandmother dying in the Holocaust/grandfather dying in the potato famine" way though. I'm curious whether the American remake will be in the same style or whether it will be more celeb-y and self-aggrandizing.
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#8

thatsforsure

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 3:12 PM

I'm actually looking forward to this show. I would love to have the means to track my ancestry. I think it will be interesting to see where people's backgrounds took them.
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#9

PreviouslyOnTV

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 7:22 PM

The original version is very good. The commercials makes the show seem to be in exactly the same style as the original. It is not about the celebrity. I have watched many episodes of the British, Canadian and the Australian versions where I had no idea who the celebrity was. The person is irrelevant, the stories are not.

What makes this show amazing are the stories they find. It is a trip through history with a personal point of view.
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#10

Demian

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 9:34 PM

I'm curious whether the American remake will be in the same style or whether it will be more celeb-y and self-aggrandizing.

If the first episode was anything to go by, the American remake is definitely the latter. The montage at the end made me barf.

#11

zoey1996

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 9:44 PM

I really liked this show. A little digging can turn up some interesting stories. Wish they could be a bit more in depth - why did the obit say the father died in 1849 on the journey, and not later? Though that may be a mystery forever. I agree, the montage/music video thing was cheesy, and I hope it doesn't become a regular part of the show. I have never seen the original - how have I missed it? But it's a good premise IMHO. I just wish I had someone to do the digging on my ancestry.
And may I say a word about the Colonial Williamsburg ad? I just happened to catch it, fits well with the show I think.
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#12

Arynm

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 9:50 PM

I loved this show! I had watched the BBC version and was as entranced by it as I was with this one. I have tried to trace my families geneology, and have had some luck, but nothing like SJP did! I guess if I had the big guns I could get more done. I think most people have this much history in their past if they could find it, so I think it worked well. This could be anyones history and thats why I liked it so much. I am in for the entire run and tears will be shed.
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#13

ReillysRevenge

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 10:24 PM

Okay, got a little annoyed with SJP's over-emoting in the first episode. She can't believe that one of her ancestors died of an illness in the CA gold rush! Or that another ancestor was accused of witchcraft in Salem! Well, sister, you have 1024 8th great-grandparents. One of them was bound to have had an interesting life.

Couldn't they have started with a smarter, better-educated celeb? Why launch the series with a melodramatic ninny?

That said, I'm thrilled that they're doing an American version of this show. I've been tracing my genealogy for years (one of my ancestors was in the Alaska gold rush! Oh my God!) and I love the way family history connects you to world history.

Now, where can I see episodes of the British version? Pray tell!
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#14

Demian

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 10:32 PM

...why did the obit say the father died in 1849 on the journey, and not later?

That's typical of how dates and details get altered over time like a big game of family history telephone. I've got a lot of examples in my own family's history, but I think they'd be a massive bore to you.

Edited by Demian, Mar 5, 2010 @ 10:33 PM.


#15

bluelantern

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 10:46 PM

I quite liked it. I agree that SJP was a little over the top in her reactions to some of the reveals, and that the end montage was TERRIBLE. (Why not show us talking to her mother? I actually wanted to see that, and see her mom's reaction, instead of some lame music-video treatment of what we'd just spent the past hour watching.) But I also thought it was very moving in parts, and absolutely fascinating. How interesting that so much of these old records are now digitized, and that in some cases the original documents still exist? That is very cool to me.

And I never felt for a minute that this was celeb self-aggrandizing. I thought SJP was legitimately intrigued and invested in discovering her heritage. It was never about her; it was about her family, and all of the amazing incidents they were involved in. She said at the beginning of the episode that she didn't expect to find much -- she joked she'd be happy to discover that one of her ancestors scrubbed the Mayflower after it returned to England. Instead she found out that one of her great-grandfathers was one of the thousands claimed by the Gold Rush, and that one of her great-grandmothers was an accused in the Salem Witch Trials, and that miraculously, she lived. I thought she made a very good point that, had her ancestor been tried a few weeks earlier, it's possible that her entire family line could have been broken right there. That's a powerful message.

This show was about someone discovering that she was way more connected to America and its history than she ever thought possible. I don't think it mattered if the person in question was a celebrity or not (the celebrity, however, is undoubtedly what sold the show for NBC). I suspect any one of us would have had the same reactions she was, and many of us probably have similar stories in our families if we dig back far enough. I know nothing about my mother's side of the family past her grandparents. And very little about my father's after his.

I will totally watch the rest of the episodes this season. I hope they do more of them. This is the kind of reality show I could get behind, and I hope it prompts people to look into their own family backgrounds (as I'm sure is the point of the whole enterprise).
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#16

ReillysRevenge

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 10:57 PM

Oh, Sarah Jessica Parker had twin daughters, via surrogate, in June 09. They were named Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge. So this show did have a pretty strong impact on her. (I wonder if the girls are genetically related to SJP?)

After researching my family history, I named my pet desert tortoise after my 3rd great-grandfather. And people think genealogy is a waste of time. Nope, not if you need names for children or reptiles.
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#17

MeInTheMiddle

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 10:59 PM

I liked it! It did make me a little sad, though, that my tree branches are so broken. I really can't trace back much. :-(

SJP must have done this before her twins were born, as one of them has the middle name Hodge, obviously a name she was not familiar with before talking to her mom about her heritage. I think the Salem Witch Trial story was amazing and something that would be really cool to tell the kids and grandkids. And I understand that she felt more "connected" to being an American...her relatives LIVED history. How cool is that?

ETA: Reilly, yes, the kids are biologically SJP and Matthew Broderick's kids.

Edited by MeInTheMiddle, Mar 5, 2010 @ 11:01 PM.

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#18

reapermadness

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 11:12 PM

I remember when a Canadian version of this program aired a couple of years ago. I quite enjoyed both versions. It's always interesting to see where one's family history goes.

Okay, got a little annoyed with SJP's over-emoting in the first episode.


Complete agreement! I'm glad that she was enjoying the whole process, but they could have told her that one of her 4th great grandmothers was professional butter churner and she would have gotten all emotional.

Well, sister, you have 1024 8th great-grandparents.


Actually, that's the number of direct ancestors that one has if you go back 10 generations or about 220-250 years. Just think, if one of those people didn't exist for some reason, you wouldn't be here!

I don't think many people really realize how interrelated we are as humans. But I guess that's because we generally don't look beyond our great-grandparents. There are likely hundreds of people who could trace their family back to SJP's Salem witch trial relative (can't remember her name). Which of course means that SJP could have lots of "cousins" coming out of the woodwork in the near future!

Looking forward to next week's episode.
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#19

Shant

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Posted Mar 5, 2010 @ 11:20 PM

Wasn't Elwell also a name in her tree as well?

I watched the Canadian version of this, and what sells it is that every celebrity who gets involved is intrigued by the idea of tracing their roots and has questions they want to find answers to.
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#20

hjmugillecuty

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 2:12 AM

Wasn't Elwell also a name in her tree as well?


That was her witch.

I actually have Salem witches on both sides of my family tree. The one on my dad's side was hanged. You could see her name at the memorial when SJP was there. The ones on my mom's were only accused.

I missed the first half of the show but did enjoy what I saw. I actually teach a family history class once a week so I encouraged people to watch. The internet has done tons for family history.
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#21

ShelleySue

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 8:06 AM

I wonder how much research is done before it is determined which branch(es) to follow. SJP grew up only hearing about the German side of her mother's family. Then her mother pulled that picture out of her grandmother Hodge. Do you think that we saw that because it had the most interesting outcome (i.e. Salem witch connection)? I wonder if they (the people actually doing the research) also traced the German side but they were "just farmers" or something else without the sensationalism of a Salem witch. Someone had to be pulling the strings to determine where SJP would be going next.

I can't wait for Lisa Kudrow's episode. Like her I'm Jewish. I've wanted to do geneological research but have been overwhelmed at the thought of having to go back in a few generations to Eastern Europe. The strength of this show, at least to me, is that the celebrities seem to come from different backgrounds/ethnicities. We can all relate in one way or another (or will be able to if the show is renewed and even more backgrounds/ethnicities are explored).
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#22

ratbastard

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 8:48 AM

I enjoyed the show and thought SJP was a good first subject. She may be a bit over the top with her emotions but at least can express herself. I don't think it's a matter of self aggrandizement - I think a lot of people would be very interested to know where they came from and who their people were.

I enjoyed the series on PBS (Faces of America) very much and would recommend it. They focused on a group of celebs from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and presented really interesting and sometimes surprising information. The segment highlighting the genetic research they did was especially interesting.
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#23

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 12:30 PM

I liked the show for the most part....it appealed to the History major in me. But SJP at the end really grated. Her going on and on about how she felt so much more American and she didn't really feel like a real American before, but now all of a sudden she's legit - kind of goes against the whole "American dream" idea and implies immigrants (who weren't original colonists) are less "American." Also, it would have been nice to see her share the family history with her brother and kind of bring it full circle, since he's in Wicked now.
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#24

celticann

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 1:04 PM

Total, and very poorly done, rip-off of Henry Louis Gates' Faces of America on PBS. Does NBC have no shame?
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#25

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 2:08 PM

But SJP at the end really grated. Her going on and on about how she felt so much more American and she didn't really feel like a real American before, but now all of a sudden she's legit - kind of goes against the whole "American dream" idea and implies immigrants (who weren't original colonists) are less "American."


I had the same reaction to that. Very objectionable.
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#26

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 2:14 PM

Total, and very poorly done, rip-off of Henry Louis Gates' Faces of America on PBS. Does NBC have no shame?


NBC may be shameless but my understanding is that this is a paid-for remaking of a BBC series that has been running about six years. I think PBS may be the "borrowers" on this occasion.
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#27

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 2:20 PM

I don't think her reaction was objectionable at all, and I do sort of understand what she meant. It's difficult to connect to family members from the past when you know nothing about them other than they were anonymous farmers etc. When you find out they lived during events mentioned in history books, you can get a better feel for what their lives were all about. That to me, is exciting and I felt the same way when I found out about my own family history.
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#28

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 2:58 PM

While I agree that SJP kind of was a little over the top, it was pretty much what I expected from her. I hadn't realized that this show was a remake of a BBC series, so I checked out YT for other editions: Kim Cattrall had a pretty gripping one, as did Stephen Fry, and I also enjoyed David Tennant's. Def worth a look, if you're interested.
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#29

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 4:33 PM

Looks like Susan Sarandon already did the British version of the show in 2006. I wonder if they'll repeat this or do one of her family's other branches. If they do a new show of what she already knows, she'll just have to act as if it's all fresh news.

Born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York, the Hollywood star has been tracing her family tree for a BBC programme.

Sarah Jessica Parker also has Jewish roots (as does Matthew Broderick), it would have been interesting to see that branch. One of my distant cousin's husband just found out he has Jewish roots. His father recently told him that his father was Jewish and changed the name and religion when he came to America, like Madeline Albright and John Kerry.
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#30

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 5:06 PM

While I agree that SJP kind of was a little over the top, it was pretty much what I expected from her. I hadn't realized that this show was a remake of a BBC series, so I checked out YT for other editions: Kim Cattrall had a pretty gripping one, as did Stephen Fry, and I also enjoyed David Tennant's. Def worth a look, if you're interested.


You're right, I just saw the Kim Cattrall episode on YT and it was really good. I guess it took a different angle because it was less about tying ancestory to historical events, and more about just finding out about a missing grandfather. But I liked how Kim's episode wrapped up with us being able to see her mother and aunts react to what Kim found. Unlike SJP's where we see her basically tell her mom "You won't believe what I learned," cut to montage of everything we saw in the episode, and ending with her mom all "That's incredible" (or whatever was actually said). I really hope the other episodes have better endings.
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