26 August 2013

Ordinary People

The complaints about Who Do You Think You Are? not using "ordinary people" are becoming as annoying as playing cello on Pachelbel's Canon for a wedding with a dozen bridesmaids. (If you don't get that there's an explanation in the video at the end of this post.)
After the jump I take on the whiners.

ⓑⓐⓡⓚⓘⓝⓖ  ⓤⓟ  ⓣⓗⓔ  ⓦⓡⓞⓝⓖ  ⓣⓡⓔⓔ

While there have been a few episodes where the history only pertains to the featured celebrity, Kim Cattrall's and Christina Applegate's come to mind, the stories are still universal. For others that go further back into history, how are they not the stories of ordinary people? Is Zooey Deschanel the only descendant of Sarah Pownall? Is Tim McGraw the only living Chrisman or Hite? What about Ashley Judd? Surely William Brewster's other lines did not die out.
WDYTYA? takes us on a journey about "ordinary" people using celebrities as our guides. If you aren't interested in taking the trip then I'm not sure you were all that interested in genealogy or history to begin with.
Celebrities are also used as bait to lure others into this obsessive hobby. With more people researching more records are likely to become digitized. Is anyone against that?
If you're not watching on principle, a.k.a celebrities shouldn't get their family tree done for free, make sure you also find out what companies contribute to swag bags at awards shows so you can boycott all of them. And don't watch movies or television. Don't go to concerts or professional sporting events. Don't buy DVDs or recorded music. You wouldn't want to contribute to the whole idea of celebrity.
Here in the U.S. the show only lasted three years before NBC (stupidly) cancelled it and that was with celebrities. Yes, there are successful reality shows with "ordinary" people but how many have a different cast every week? How many don't involve either humiliating people or playing minds games and stabbing people in the back?
If you really wanted to see the genealogy of ordinary people featured on a television show you would search out the shows that are already out there rather than taking time to announce on Facebook that you're willing to, oh so selflessly, offer up your family tree for a show. If WDYTYA? decided to change the format of their show, which has been successful on the BBC for almost a decade, I predict the whining would suddenly change to, "Why did they get picked? My family is more interesting." Or, "I could have gotten around their brick wall. They should help me with mine."
Your complaint is unoriginal and old. If anyone was serious about it they would do more than post on the show's Facebook wall. The entire premise of the show is based on celebrity and history. If you don't like it, don't watch. If you want a different show, do something about it. Petition a network or producers. Create something yourself and put it on YouTube. Do something besides comment on Facebook posts. Most of you just come off as selfish and self-centered.
Okay, my rant is over. I'll leave you with a musical rant on a piece made popular, coincidentally, by the movie "Ordinary People."

Interview with WDYTYA? producer Allie Orton (starts about 31 minutes in)
Interview with WDYTYA? producer Lisa Kudrow

PREVIOUS POST: Dressing Up a Profile
NEXT POST: Swan Song


  1. Brilliant!! And this is so true: "If you aren't interested in taking the trip then I'm not sure you were all that interested in genealogy or history to begin with."

  2. Hello from a Chrisman/Hite descendant who loved that episode. I fully agree though that they all have some universality (lol is that a word) and I enjoy most of them alot.

    1. Universalness? Nope, universality sounds better and it doesn't get the spell check line so I guess it is a word ;-) Thanks Sue!

  3. Agreed. During Cindy Crawford's episode, I wrote down a few things pertaining to the Great Migration being that many of my relatives came over at the same time, so that was helpful. The whole Charlemagne part... well, not so much.

  4. I agree, although some people are unable to travel to places where their ancestors came from because not enough money or they're unable to travel, there's many reasons but would be something if they were to do even just one episode of a regular person doing their family history, but they won't people would be complaining about it, but celebrities are regular people too but they're just very well known that's really the only difference.

  5. Wow! 2013, where I shared it on today’s whines-I thought this was new. Nope, as of 4/28/18 the next season has been announced to begin next month and they’re still whining five years later.