Now that season 4 of TLC's Who Do You Think You Are? is over, you might be wondering, "I missed an episode! And I forgot to DVR it. Is there some other way to watch a missed episode?"
Yes, there is. In fact, there are 4 ways to watch a missed episode of Who Do You Think You Are?:
While I've been sick for little over a week [and for much of that in bed], I've watched quite a bit of TV. And you might think that the last thing I want to do is watch more TV this Friday night [even if it is about genealogy], but you couldn't be more wrong.
While it's going to be hard to beat Rita's episode last week [Seriously. It was THAT good.], I can't wait to watch Edie Falco's episode. She's got the 'Brown' surname in her tree, and I have it as well. Twice. One dates back to Fairfield, Fairfield, CT during the American Revolution and the other dates back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I'm not holding my breath hoping to find a match cuz, hello? It might as well be Smith or Davis, which I have a Davis in my tree who had the audacity to marry a Mr. Smith, but I digress.
It'll be interesting to me how many Browns they can shake out of Edie's tree.
So, yeah. I'll be watching. And tweeting through it. [That's a warning to those not watching the show in the Eastern or Central time zone.] No Spreecast because I have a cough that's really nasty. [Stupid bronchitis and asthma.]
Below is the "An Unknown Mr. Brown" clip from Edie's upcoming episode which airs tomorrow night on NBC [7pm Central].
I have this FANTASTIC idea. Wouldn't it be cool if we had our own genealogy cable T.V. channel? We could name it the Saving Crap and Finding Stories Cable TV Channel, or SCFS channel. Think about it. We have Who Do You Think You Are? [WDYTYA?] on Friday nights on NBC and starting this Sunday evening the PBS show Finding Your Roots will begin its season. If we had our own cable TV channel, we could rerun these shows a la USA cable channel or a la ion cable channel. Then? We could rerun the other countries' WDYTYA? TV shows.
And we could throw in Find My Past's BBC show where they take an historical moment, research it, and find 3 living descendants to tell them of their connection to the historical moment. [And we SO need the American version to this show. STAT.] We could call it something like, I dunno, You're Connected to History!
We could then throw in some forensic-related shows. I can just see it now. Who Shares Your DNA? [I dunno. Who?!?] I can see people getting their DNA tested for genealogy purposes and finding others they are related to. Some weeks, it'd be kinda scary. Do you really wanna meet them? ;)
And then throw in the I'm Not a Celebrity but I Wanna Know My Family History and Be On TV! TV show, which [and I know you're going to find this hard to believe] I totally just made up, but, darn, it sounds good, doesn't it? I bet we'd have NO problem finding people for this show.
Ooh. And what about the House Secrets TV show? I totally made that one up too, but can't you just hear the announcer saying, *in low bellowing voice* "Your house has secrets. It's time you found them out..."? Houses have histories too, and, boy, wouldn't it be fascinating to watch a house historian give us the lowdown on someone's house?
Late nights on the SCFS cable channel? One hour infomercials featuring gadgets researchers could use. Can't you just imagine your insomniac self [Don't lie. You were up doing genealogy.] watching the Flip-Pal infomercial? Yeah.
Then, of course, we could have Made-for-TV shows based on popular memoirs. I bet Melissa Gilbert and Genie Francis would be all over these shows in a skinny minute. And we could rerun them during the holidays a la Lifetime Channel.
Here's a personal favorite: Don't Throw Out That Inherited Crap! TV show. An Ephemera Rescuer saves family ephemera heirlooms from a certain fate worse than death by finding the stories behind all that crap families inherit and giving it meaning and thus, a new life.
Better yet? Bring the 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge to life on TV! Take a team of Ephemera Rescuers who comb antique stores and estate sales in search of identifiable ephemera, watch them research it a bit, tie it into history, and find descendants of those identified in the ephemera, and return it to them. Can you imagine the looks on the descendant's faces when we come a-knockin' with a part of their family history? And, of course, the overlying tension of the show comes from the ever tick-tock of the 48 hour countdown. Can you hear the announcer? *in low bellowing voice* "Can they do it? Can the Ephemera Rescuers put these people back into history where they belong with just...a postcard?" Yes! Yes, we can! [Oops! I totally just got wrapped up into this TV show concept. Heaven only knows why.] We could even have our own critics who chastise the show for not showing all the detailed research steps in each episode. ;)
*Big sigh* Oh, for the Saving Crap and Finding Stories Cable TV Channel to be a reality. But, alas! We have just our 2 TV shows to keep us company.
This Friday night at 7pm CST, Helen Hunt will be the celebrity spotlighted on NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Will it be the Hunt kinfolk they pursue? Were they hunters? Anyone care to guess how many folks will chastise Helen and the show for doing a tombstone rubbing? Here's a sneak peek of Helen's episode:
Finding Your Roots
And then this Sunday is the season premiere of Finding Your Roots on PBS with Henry Louis Gates Jr. He'll be spotlighting 2 celebrities' family histories ~ Harry Connick Jr. [I think I might just faint. Love him.] and Branford Marsalis! Harry has a pirate in his family. And? So do I! [Not that that matters.] Here's a season preview of the show:
So. Provided you didn't just faint from seeing Harry Connick Jr. in the above preview [Um, like me.], do you have any ideas for TV shows? And most importantly, have you named them? Lemme know in comments below.
Texas Hill Country
Because this week's Who Do You Think Are? is a rerun of the Martin Sheen episode [the first episode of the season], there will be no Spreecast tonight. Plus? My kids are on Spring Break, and we are in the Texas Hill Country where, btw, many German Immigrants settled when they came to Texas. Lots of historical stuff and German food. I'm right at home. [You didn't think I'd pick a place to vacation with no historical stuff, did you?] The Wifi is "spotty" and I don't think the Spreecast would have worked well.
Anywho, if you missed the first episode with Martin Sheen, then I highly recommend watching it. Excellent episode.
Tonight is Jerome Bettis on Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC at 7pm CST. Come join us on my Spreecast as we watch it together and talk during commercials or chat in the chat room. Be on video if you want. We start at 6:45pm CST and end promptly at 8pm. This way we don't tweet our thoughts/spoilers for the other time zones.
Here's the preview for tonight's show:
Area near where my 2nd Grt Grandfather's farm was on Galveston Island, TX.
Many of us have done it. Many more will. And last week on Who Do You Think Are? Reba did it. And in the upcoming episode this Friday, Jerome Bettis will do it.
What am I talking about? Walking where our ancestors walked trying to put ourselves in their shoes to see and feel the world of the past. It's a moving experience to try to get closer to our ancestors. And? It makes for good storytelling whether we're writing about our family history in a blog or whether we're watching someone on TV go through the experience.
Below are 2 episodes from Who Do You Think You Are?. The first is a deleted scene from Reba's episode where she tours a replica of the ship her 6th great grandfather sailed on as a 9yo indentured servant in 1698. In her episode, Reba exhibits characteristics of a natural family history detective. She's always asking questions, especially, "Why?" And in this scene it's no different. Also? Her emotional response to the tour is palpable. Take a look at the scene, "Standing on the Deck of the Past":
If unable to watch the video here, here's a link to the video on NBC:
Something tells me that Reba will continue her family history searching. How can I tell? I can see it in her eyes. She's been bit by the genealogy bug. She won't have a choice. Like us.
And? The next video is a scene from this next Friday night's episode with Jerome Bettis! And in this scene, you can tell how moved Jerome is by walking on the land where his ancestors had lived. Take a look at the scene, "Walking in the Footsteps of the Past":
If unable to watch the video here, here's a link to the video on NBC:
And whether you stand on a deck or walk in the footsteps, it's a moving and humbling experience to try to get closer to your ancestors. I've done both. I've walked a deck of a ship that one of my husband's great uncles served on in World War II. I've also walked the land on Galveston Island that was once farm land owned by a Prussian immigrant who also was my great grandfather, John Marschall. Both times I was extremely moved, and you know what? I did feel closer to both of them as well as to their pasts. I felt like I understood their stories a lot better. So, if you get the chance, do it.
And? This Friday night I will be hosting another Spreecast on my channel where we watch Who Do You Think Are? together. We start 15 minutes before the show starts [6:45pm CST on NBC] and we discuss the show at commercials. So please join us. It's very casual. You don't have to be on camera although I wholeheartedly welcome you to do so if you want. And if you don't want to be on video, there's a chat room where we continue the discussion. We end promptly at 8pm CST for those who want to join Geneabloggers Blog Talk Radio.
It's time to do some more genealogy celebrating. Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieres Sunday, 25 Mar 2012 on PBS at 7pm CST. I love this show just as much as I do NBC's WDYTYA?. There will be 20 celebrities featured with 2 being shown in each episode. The list of celebrities includes:
And? I like that it's presented differently than Who Do You Think You Are? [WDYTYA?]. Professor Gates presents the celebrity's story to them, and I like that format. Now, before everyone gets all upset about the fact that less research is shown in this show which was a complaint of Gates' last genealogy-related show Faces of America, let me explain myself [further than what I already have inprevious posts]. After watching these shows many people never go on to perform their own family history research for a multitude of reasons. And from my conversations in real life with non-genealogy people, a common reply that I get from them after answering their question of what I do is, "I never thought about doing that. That would make a great gift."
You see, a huge segment of the populace isn't opposed to family history. They've just never thought about it. It's never been brought to their attention. And it's a shame we don't do this in schools enough. Remember in school when you were learning about the American Revolution and how you had to memorize all those dates and battles? Wouldn't it have been more meaningful and satisfying if you knew how you and your family fit into that historical event? And educators should take note. But I digress...
Anywho, a fraction of this segment of the populace that will not go on to research their family history themselves after watching a genealogy TV program, will go on to pay someone else to do it. They will pay a professional to do the research, and they will get a report detailing the information that the professional was able to find about their family history, much like the celebrities in Professor Gates' show. Therefore, the complaint that his show is unrealistic because it doesn't show the waiting, the brick walls, and all the difficulties of researching is not entirely accurate because for many it is exactly what they will experience [minus the getting to sit down with Professor Gates, of course, being videotaped, and being on TV. However, no one is stopping a professional genealogist from doing something similar. There are many free online video platforms out there and I'm sure there are some clients out there who'd love to be videotaped. Not all, but some. And you're welcome for the idea.]
Therefore, genealogists ~ hobbyists to professionals [especially professionals] ~ should embrace genealogy on TV in all its forms. The way it's presented may not be your reality, but it's someone's reality. It may not be your story, but it's someone's story. [And professionals, you might get some clients from it.]
For more information about the show, please visit the Finding Your Roots site. It's a well-designed site that's full of information. However, it's not so busy or full that it's overwhelming to a beginner, which makes it a nice link to send to those less-enthused about family history as you.
And just to get you more excited, here's a preview of this season's series [Harry is in this clip. *sigh*]:
In case you are unable to view the video on my site, here's a link to it on PBS' site:
Okay. The #WDYTYA Commentary Spreecast last Friday night went pretty well, I think. Especially for my Windows 7 crashing earlier in the afternoon, for me cleaning off Umber, reinstalling Win7, and everything being hunkydory 45 minutes before the Spreecast. There were a few technical difficulties. However, I think that will get better with each show.
It's archived on my Spreecast Channel, but I don't think it'd be very interesting to watch since we only talked 15 minutes before WDYTYA started and during the commercials. Also? We need some more people willing to go on video. I'm not the most entertaining sort. Plus, I think it'd be nice to have someone else's commentary. [And? Sometimes I felt like I was talking to myself. It's like I needed an 'Ed McMahon' on the couch. *snort*] We had a few who wanted to get on video, but there were some technical difficulties. Therefore, I found instructions on how to join a Spreecast, their FAQs page, as well as a how-to video for those who plan to join us for the WDYTYA Commentary Spreecast during this next Friday night's episode with Reba. We'll be starting at 6:45pm CST, which gives us plenty of time to get set up and start gabbing.
Speaking of Reba, I'm SO excited about her episode this Friday, 7pm CST on NBC. I've read her autobiography and I'm a big fan of hers. I think it'll be interesting to see what stories she finds in her tree. I love when she says [in her Oklahoma accent], "I don't think I'll be able to rest until I know, 'Why?'"
I couldn't agree with you more, Reba. [In my Texas accent, of course.] Here's a preview of her episode:
If unable to watch the video on this site, here is a link to watch it on NBC's site:
I've not hidden my feelings when it comes to NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? I absolutely love it. As a researcher I think it's a wonderful tool being used to reach out to the non-genealogy world and exposing them to family history research. And that is why I really don't like what critics of the show are saying. For one, they're never happy. In the first 2 seasons critics were SO concerned about the show showing too much story and not enough research. They wanted the celebrity to do some of the work, not the expert. And now? In the 3rd season, the celebrities are shown doing the work in the clips, and critics are crying out that they don't want to see the celebrities do the work. They're happy that more of the technical aspects are being shown instead of just the story.
And this is just 2 of the complaints of the critics, and I don't think the criticisms from the different seasons are coming from the same people. [At least I hope not. However, I've not been taking names.] One thing I do know is that they're coming from the online genealogy world. I realize that genealogists revel in the technical aspects of researching. After all, that's part of why we do what we do. However, WDYTYA? is not a show for researchers.
WDYTYA? is a show for researchers-to-be and for those who will never be researchers. Putting the Ancestry.com, NBC, and business aspects aside [and don't kid yourself, it's a business], it's a national, if not world, platform that exposes people to the idea of family history. And we, as researchers, can use it as a tool within our own families and communities to get people interested, but please don't think this show is for us and our detailed technical genealogical minds.
And what does the general public like to see? They like drama, scandal, and celebrities. In story form. My proof? Well for one [and I CANNOT believe I'm about to mention this celebrity family on my blog], the Keeping Up with the Kardashians. More proof? Ice Loves Coco, The Apprentice [celebrity version] and Kendra.
And let's not forget shows like Dancing with the Stars where there are mini dramas popping up with every episode.
But? The general public doesn't just love stories involving celebrities. They like the everyday Joe [or Jane] who is suddenly propelled in front of the camera sharing their story full of drama and scandal. Of course eventually some of them become celebrities because of their story and some even achieve cult status. And here's some of the shows on the lovely reality TV shows list:
And let's take a look at one of them as an example ~ American Chopper. Now, Senior and Paulie entertained me for years. Their bike shop reminded me of my Dad's truck and trailer mechanic's shop and paint & body shop. [And Senior reminded me of my Dad. Sort of.] Surprisingly, I know my way around a mechanic's shop and the aspects of running one. I'm also quite familiar with the technical terminology. However, when I watched the show, I didn't sit there and critique every minute detail of the show [and I could have]. Why? Because it was about the ongoing drama between Senior and his son Paulie who practically never agreed on anything. I'm sure bike chop shops around the country watched the show because of their passion for building bikes, and I'm very sure they had criticisms with certain details of the show. But guess what? The show wasn't for them and in a way it wasn't for me either. It was for those voyeurs out there [and the voyeur in me] who wanted to escape our own drama for a while and watch someone else's drama for a while. That's right. Escape our story and watch someone else's story. [For me, it was refreshing to see someone else working for their difficult father-boss.]
And? In the process, we *all* learned something about building a bike whether we wanted to or not because they dovetailed the technical into the story. Not all of it, mind you, just enough to move the story along. And I cannot and will never build a motorcycle. I can promise you that.
And we need to remember that when it comes to the show WDYTYA?. Yes, we need to watch and support it, but let's stop criticizing every detail of the show and embrace the fact that they're trying to tell a story [and the fact that our passion ~genealogy~ is being spotlighted on prime time TV.]. Stop quibbling over gloves or no gloves, too much story and not enough technical, let the celebrities do the work or don't let them do the work.
How about we just let them tell the story? The name of the show is Who Do You Think You Are?, right? Well, I'm not a tree nor a leaf with lines between me and my family members. I don't walk around with my vitals listed on my body. I'm a person with a family. And guess what? My family and I have a story to tell.
Remember: It's not for us. It's for them.
And here's a clip of a deleted scene [That's right. Not shown in last Friday night's episode.] where the research is dovetailed into the story perfectly. Well, both stories ~ Blair Underwood's story of finding his family and his own family's story. It's short, but very moving and revealing.
If unable to watch the video here, here's the link to it on NBC's site:
I absolutely cannot wait for this Friday night's episode of WDYTYA? with Blair Underwood. I missed WDYTYA? last Friday night. I really don't think it's such a good idea to start a series, run 2 episodes, and then have a "break" for an awards show. But? I guess you can't really do anything about scheduling. I just think you'd want to train your viewers, so to speak.
Nevertheless, I'm thrilled it's back this Friday night at 7pm CST on NBC. However, I won't be tweeting throughout the show. Too many people on the West Coast complain about it. And even though Twitter is as much mine as it is theirs, I'm just not gonna tweet throughout the show. [However, I'll be scheduling some tweets about the show to go post during the show for the benefit of my non-genealogist Twitter friends.
However, I'll be hosting a Spreecast on my Spreecast Channel. What is Spreecast? It's a social video platform, where I can produce and host a broadcast, of sorts. I can have up to 4 people on screen at a time, and as many people as I want chatting in the chat room as possible. That's right. We'll have a chat room.
So. It'll be like we're watching it together in person, but not.
Why not do a Hangout on Google+?
Spreecast is different than a Hangout in that this is a broadcast on my Spreecast Channel that will be archived on Spreecast. It also has some other capabilities to the broadcast. For example, I could have a second person be a producer [or several someones] and help me with who is on the screen so that I can run the show. This would be very helpful if I were interviewing someone, which I may want to do down the line among other things. Plus, if people don't want to be on camera, they can still participate through the chat room. I'll be keeping up with the chat room while we watch and comment on the show. [And I hope you realize how much I don't want to be on camera, but I'm doing it because I like the idea of the video medium. And that desire is bigger than my hate of me on camera.]
So. Who's in on this little venture of mine? We'll start at 15 minutes before the show [6:45pm CST] and end promptly at 8pm when Geneabloggers goes live on Blog Talk Radio. It's gonna be casual. Nothing formal. Just a bunch of genealogists gabbing about NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?
URL for the Spreecast: http://www.spreecast.com/events/genealogyshowcommentarygoesonair
Info about Joining a Spreecast: http://help.spreecast.com/
Spreecast FAQs: http://help.spreecast.com/faq
And you can RSVP below in the bottom right hand corner of the box below. If you want.
So, See ya' Friday night at 6:45pm CST!
And here's the preview to Blair Underwood's episode that will air this Friday night on NBC:
And if you're unable to watch the video here, here's the direct link to the video: