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CuriousParker

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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I loved the Andy Samberg episode on 1.8.19. The adoption story was compelling(& pretty lucky). But you're Sicilian now, too!

Funny story about George RR Martin. I don't read his books but the back story of his grandma Grace was fun in a randy kind of way.

nice to have this show back.

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I'm really shocked that it didn't occur to Gates or Martin that his grandmother could have been raped.  

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I watch this show intensely, because it's the same kind of work, at the highest level (like WDYTYA) that I do on my own level.  I have uncovered some stories in my time..  But the Andy Samberg story was the first that actually made me cry -- I was so happy at the incredible science available, and his mother's being able to know her own story, at last.  That was amazing --  As they say in 'Hamilton', How lucky we are to be alive right now ..

(Side-bar:  Andy Samberg surprised me by being a lovely, calm, and well spoken fellow.)  

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I've always thought that Martin was Jewish; it is funny that he never knew it but has been dressing like Tevje from Fiddler on the Roof for years.

Edited by deirdra
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Andy's mom looks so much like her father! What fantastic work -- and some luck -- on the part of the show's researchers to identify Andy's grandfather! It helped that Philipsborn is an usual name, and that one of his great aunts was a well known singer, but documents like the oral history of the art school can't just have been sitting around.

I don't have any particular knowledge of or affinity for Samburg, but I was pleased for him and his mother to finally have answers and to be able to meet her "clean" relatives. Heh. As Andy said, "not knowing" also encompasses dark and unhappy possibilities. I hope Marjorie got to meet some of her mother's side of the family as well. Interesting that she never married or had other children that they could find.

As for Martin, just because his grandmother had a child by a man who wasn't her husband doesn't preclude her husband from also having cheated. Gates' comment that "He wasn't the cheater, she was!" isn't really supported by the known facts. Minor quibble, though.

Both Samburg and Martin were engaged, open, and grateful, which is nice to see and not always the case.

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This seemed like an odd pairing of subjects, but the way it turned out?

Andy thought he was just Jewish, but finds out he's half Italian!

George thinks he's part Italian, but finds out he's actually part Jewish!

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While I think George's legal paternal grandfather likely had no idea of the extramarital coupling on the part of the paternal grandmother (or else I think he'd have found the grounds to END his union to her after he'd started his other family), I wonder if it's possible that George's father may have had some feeling that his legal father wasn't his bio one and THAT's why he may have said little about him and had virtually nothing to do with him. Could George's father's sisters have been by their legal father and, to keep any scandal from tainting THEM, he kept quiet about their brother's paternity?  So many questions. Yes, I agree it's possible that George's father may have been conceived via rape from the unknown Ashkenazic man but not necessarily as unconventional consensual couplings (even with one participant being married) are not unknown.   

 

    What amazing reveals for Mr. Samberg and his mother re her actual heritage! Dr. Gates sure hit one out of the ballpark here! I wonder if his maternal grandmother ever married even if she had no other known offspring (and whether any of her family may have known about the future Mrs. Samberg).  

 GREAT SHOW!

Edited by Blergh · Reason: legality
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Well you gotta love the surprises that DNA yields, I did Ancestry last year and found a half brother I had no idea existed, apparently my mother had a war time romance and the result was the brother.  Pity that the "forensic" ancestry researcher could find nothing else out about Martin's grandmother's lover.

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My takeaway on both stories was "so near and yet so far." It was great that Andy was able to learn the identity of both his mother's birth parents, but they will forever be frustrated not knowing the actual circumstances of her conception. I think there is a tendency to romanticize this but the truth is that her birth father may have been a total jerk who hit the road as soon as he found out he got a girl pregnant and didn't want anything to do with it. Or was he shipped out to sea without ever finding out? Maybe she never even told him. And there doesn't seem to be anyone alive who can fill in the blanks. 

Same is true for George RR Martin. He seemed very protective of the memory of his paternal grandmother to the point of not really wanting to know anything about his grandfather. Was there cheating and who knew what? Again - there doesn't seem to be anyone alive at this point to shed any light on this. 

It's all very tantalizing. On the one hand you have more information but on the other hand it just raises more questions.

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On 1/9/2019 at 2:24 PM, iMonrey said:

I think there is a tendency to romanticize this but the truth is that her birth father may have been a total jerk who hit the road as soon as he found out he got a girl pregnant and didn't want anything to do with it. Or was he shipped out to sea without ever finding out? Maybe she never even told him.

I too thought it was really inappropriate the Mr. Gates assumed George RR Martin's grandmother had an affair when it could have been a rape and the stigma of a rape, especially one that resulted in pregnancy, was a lot greater back then (though it still exists today) especially in light of how relieved Andy Samberg was that his mother apparently hadn't been conceived in rape. It did cross my mind that it could of been a date rape situation but his grandfather keeping the one photograph of himself and Andy's grandmother out on a date made me think not - that this was a relationship where they cared for each other but was impossible for some reason but maybe I'm romanticizing here. It was astonishing how much Andy looks like his grandfather. The one photo of the grandfather in the water he could have been Andy's twin.

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"If not for [X]" is always the case on this show, but I'm still thinking about Samberg's story because the events were so recent ... if his grandmother hadn't given her daughter up for adoption, he wouldn't have been born.

Edited by 2727
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On January 9, 2019 at 10:28 AM, sempervivum said:

This seemed like an odd pairing of subjects, but the way it turned out?

Andy thought he was just Jewish, but finds out he's half Italian!

George thinks he's part Italian, but finds out he's actually part Jewish!

Yes, there was poetry in the symmetry of the reveals. Also the science behind the revelations was better explained (IMO) than in the past episodes.

 

On January 8, 2019 at 10:38 PM, SophiaD said:

I'm really shocked that it didn't occur to Gates or Martin that his grandmother could have been raped.  

There was a line about not "yet" knowing more about his ancestor, which I thought might mean there was some hope of uncovering more, or maybe someone wanted something they did find kept quiet. Regardless, why suggest that he was a rapist without any evidence? He could just as likely have been the milkman. 

ETA: By "milkman," I mean it as the common 20th century euphemism for any extramarital male lover with whom a housewife or a "spinster" might have had a relationship. However, on second thought, looking back on this euphemism with post-#MeToo eyes, I suppose some of those "milkmen" (or butchers or bakers or candlestick makers, or Fuller Brush salesmen or preachers etc.) could also have been rapists.

 

Also on the subject of speculating about the relationships of the now-dead grandparents: I would have not been surprised by a reveal that both Andy's grandma gave up her child, and George's grandma kept her relations with his bio-dad secret, because of the taboo against interfaith liaisons. 

Edited by shapeshifter
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Wow. The Samberg/Martin episode was a hell of good one. It's not often this show has actual surprises big enough to matter, but this episode had a few of them.

I also thought it was a pretty grounded episode too, since it was about recent, not distant, family.   It didn't get into the heavy speculation and cherry picking which happens when this show, or even worse Who Do You Think You Are, goes back hundreds of years.

On 1/9/2019 at 11:28 AM, sempervivum said:

This seemed like an odd pairing of subjects, but the way it turned out?

Andy thought he was just Jewish, but finds out he's half Italian!

George thinks he's part Italian, but finds out he's actually part Jewish!

Yes, that was going through my mind as soon as they got to the genetics stuff. Their stores are fun-house mirror reversals of each other in a number of ways.

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On 1/8/2019 at 11:38 PM, SophiaD said:

I'm really shocked that it didn't occur to Gates or Martin that his grandmother could have been raped.  

Yeah it was a bit of an oversight.

Then again, such an explanation has more than just the dark side that a rape occurs. It also has the additional dark side that if that happened then either her husband was a total shit who left her after she'd been raped, because she conceived, OR. at best, if she somehow forced him out from shame that she then proceeded to use him as a scapegoat.  So either way the story goes from dark to even darker.

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17 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

There was a line about not "yet" knowing more about his ancestor, which I thought might mean there was some hope of uncovering more

With any of the research, especially DNA, there is the chance that something might turn up tomorrow.

If the grandmother was raped, she might have developed depression or other unusual behavior.  At that time, it would not be unusual for the husband to leave her or (if he had the money) commit her to an institution.  Many women were diagnosed as insane for what would now be called postpartum depression.

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1 hour ago, Driad said:

If the grandmother was raped, she might have developed depression or other unusual behavior.  At that time, it would not be unusual for the husband to leave her or (if he had the money) commit her to an institution.  Many women were diagnosed as insane for what would now be called postpartum depression.

I considered this, but George said repeatedly that his grandmother was "kind." I took that to mean that she was not self-centered, as one generally is when depressed.

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6 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

I considered this, but George said repeatedly that his grandmother was "kind." I took that to mean that she was not self-centered, as one generally is when depressed.

She might have been depressed because of her situation (whatever it was) and got over it, at least well enough to kind to George.  I guess the bottom line is that we don't know.

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I agree with everyone that this was a wonderful episode. I've never been a big Andy Samberg fan, but he was so genuinely thrilled for his mother, and also so confounded to find out he was actually a quarter Italian/Sicilian, that I couldn't help beaming along with him.

I was also having suspicions about rape, but there's really no evidence either way. No point in bringing it up without it ... that would be fairly gratuitous.

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21 minutes ago, carrps said:

I was also having suspicions about rape, but there's really no evidence either way. No point in bringing it up without it ... that would be fairly gratuitous.

Plus, it would "tarnish" an otherwise uplifting episode--at least Andy Samberg's portion. George R. R. Martin's would have been pretty sad if not for his glass-half-full attitude.

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19 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Plus, it would "tarnish" an otherwise uplifting episode--at least Andy Samberg's portion. George R. R. Martin's would have been pretty sad if not for his glass-half-full attitude.

I agree.  Also, Martin was relieved to find out that who he thought was his grandfather was not and I get that.  I'm sure my Dad would LOVE to find out that his father was not actually his father (no chance, though.  He looks just like his dad and, sadly, my dad was the product of marital rape and, due to the circumstances around that, there his no question of his paternity).  I think that introducing the speculation of rape, and that is all that it would be as there was no evidence for or against it, would put a shadow over an otherwise positive development in Martin's family history.

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On 1/10/2019 at 2:55 PM, 2727 said:

"If not for [X]" is always the case on this show, but I'm still thinking about Samberg's story because the events were so recent ... if his grandmother hadn't given her daughter for adoption, he wouldn't have been born.

What also struck me is that if his grandmother's family hadn't been able to leave Germany in 1938, there's a very good chance his mom would not have been born at all. The whole thing is remarkable. 

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Thanks so much, Driad.  That wonderful article fills in so much.

I know the purpose of the show was to discover Andy's mother's family, but I wish they had mentioned, however briefly, her adoptive family, plus their reaction to the discoveries about her biological family.  Apparently, she was happy with her adoptive family.   (Amd, according to WIkipedia, through his adoptive grandfather, Samberg is a third-cousin of Senator Tammy Baldwin.)
 

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I must be getting sentimental in my old age, but I far prefer to believe that Ellen and Salvatore had a genuine romance. They look so happy in the photo. They had a lot in common--art, politics. And the photo itself, carefully preserved by Salvatore, for all those years. I can't help but feel he always remembered their time together fondly. Maybe it was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle romances, that burns bright and fast, maybe they were really in love but could not surmount the religious differences, maybe they just had a short, enjoyable interlude and parted friends. Who knows? I was just delighted that Andy and his mother found answers that made them happy. Loved the scenes of the families meeting. And yes on the resemblance! Andy looks remarkably like Salvatore, amazing.

George R. R. Martin's story was darker, for sure. I confess I never thought that his grandmother could have been raped, though. My mind just didn't go there, though it is very plausible. I just thought she'd had a fling with someone she knew, since her husband was stepping out. Someone who would never be acceptable to her family even after Louis hit the road. And of course she couldn't get divorced anyway. It would have to have been really secret! Where would she have met this mystery man? How would she have slipped out to meet him? Its intriguing!

Loved this episode.

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1 hour ago, Pepper Mostly said:

And the photo itself, carefully preserved by Salvatore, for all those years. I can't help but feel he always remembered their time together fondly.

I like to think so, too. The article from the local Berkeley paper linked above said that Ellen also had the same photo in her belongings, so she also cared enough to save it. (Salvatore had other children with two different women, so something of a player there.)

It was also a huge coincidence that Marjorie was adopted in New York but ended up living as an adult in the Berkeley area where her parents had met and where her Italian relatives still live.

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In agreement about this being a great episode!  Never considered that George R.R. Martin's grandmother could have been raped.  Maybe she did have a fling with "the milkman" or another possibility is the child could have been adopted and nobody talked about THAT.  Back in those days, many adoptions could be very informal - a girl from the neighborhood got "in trouble", or somebody's relative or family member had a baby they couldn't keep (especially during the Depression) and the child was adopted into the family and nobody talked about the child being adopted, so even the child didn't know.   That is a happier possibility than a rape and just as likely (if not more so).  And as an aside, some friends of mine just found out via DNA testing that their grandfather (who I don't think they ever knew) wasn't really their grandfather.  Apparently their grandmother (who was considerably younger than her husband) had a fling with a soldier passing through during World War 1 and their father was a product of that.  My one friend was always very proud of her grandfather's heritage and the family dated back to the Mayflower and blah, blah, blah, and she's kind of sheepish now that isn't the case.    That's one reason why I always rolled my eyes at people bragging about their heritage because lots of people have father's who aren't who they think and sometimes, mothers as well.   This whole DNA thing is totally fascinating!

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I was wondering if Felicity Huffman ever had a DNA test done to verify which man was actually her bio father.   Taking her mother's word for it as a child is one thing, but as an adult, I think she'd want proof.   It would be easy to see if she was or wasn't a full sibling to her brothers and sisters.

I didn't find either story to be all that compelling, unlike last week's installment.

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3 hours ago, Suzysite said:

I was wondering if Felicity Huffman ever had a DNA test done to verify which man was actually her bio father.   Taking her mother's word for it as a child is one thing, but as an adult, I think she'd want proof.   It would be easy to see if she was or wasn't a full sibling to her brothers and sisters.

I didn't find either story to be all that compelling, unlike last week's installment.

THANK YOU. I was wondering the same thing -- I'm assuming they did, or they would have pulled it out as a surprise at some point in the episode, but unless there's some compelling reason Felicity's mom KNEW-knew that it was her lover and not her husband (e.g. Huffman being away at the necessary time), it seemed like taking a lot for granted. 

And I also found it kind of a snooze after last week, which I found really disappointing both b/c I think they're both such tremendous actors, and the set up of them both not knowing much about their fathers had potential. 

My favorite moment was Felicity reenacting her mom telling her, in the bath, smoking, calling her "Flicka." (I also wanted some background about her mother -- FH was born in 1962, and her dads were born in 1910 and 1912... so was she a double "oops" baby [oops, I thought we were done and oops, I was having an affair] or was her mother quite a bit younger than both men?). 

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I thought it interesting how Miss Huffman had unswerving loyalty to her legal father (whose surname she's kept even after marriage) yet admitted mixed feelings toward her evident bio father. However; she never really addressed how she viewed her mother after the initial 'tub revelation'.  Her  now-deceased mother Grace was born in 1921 so that would have made her over 40 when she bore Miss Huffman. I have to wonder WHY Mrs. Huffman chose that particular time to reveal this. Did she believe that being already naked somehow gave her an opening to . . .unbosom herself to her daughter?  It's interesting that both her evident bio father and evident bio paternal grandmother each lost their same gendered parent at early ages- yet I wonder if the evident paternal grandmother ever remarried or had any other children or just raised her only child the rest of her life in her stepmother's family's home. 

It was  interesting how Michael K. Williams found out that his direct paternal line not only stayed in a small area of South Carolina from the early 1800's (if not earlier) onward but had the determination to buck the odds and BUY their very own land so close to where so many generations had been enslaved rather than scatter to the winds. I suppose they had a strong affinity for that area despite (because?) of what they'd endured  and great that they've managed to KEEP that land in the family from the 1870s onward. Too bad that the history of their determination didn't seem to get passed down to Mr. Williams or possibly even his own father.

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Agree this was rather boring- I kept waiting for some surprise, but there wasn't one. The subjects were also kind of obscure (to me) and low key personalities. I think they didn't bother with DNA because they both came up basically all African for MW and all European for FH.

I was puzzled at how inarticulate Michael was; I know Dr. G said he was 'shy', but he couldn't seem to come up with any words. You'd think an actor would have picked up some favorite phrases from past scripts! OTOH, I'm tired of Gates' constant probing of 'how does this make you feel?' My assumption is they'll tell you if they feel something. I did love Michael wearing his dad's very vintage sport coat.

I was left wondering 1) how did the researchers figure out that 'William and Elizabeth (slaves)' were owned by somebody with a completely different last name and 2) HOW Michael's family went from slavery to owning 100 acres in 15 years? How could there not be any public records showing who the Williams' bought the land from or some idea of where they could have gotten that much money? I also noticed that the evil slaveowner whose tombstone they showed was only 26 when he died; not that it absolves him, but most likely he inherited the slaves. 

Also puzzled why the Irish connection was completely ignored in favor of the 1608 Connecticut ancestor, I didn't think that was exactly thrilling. Of course, maybe the Irish history was just as dull.

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I know this is a genealogy show, but I would think that Felicity's real question is about her biological father -- his life, his relationship with her mother -- and not his family back to pre-Revolutionary War ancestors.  And, how did his children react to the knowledge that they had a half-sister?  If so, did they know years ago or is this new information to them?  Andy Samberg's (previously unknown) relatives had a lot to add to the story, so I assume that Huffman's did not want to get involved if they did know about the affair at some point.  For that matter, what do her Huffman siblings know about this man, who was a family friend?

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15 hours ago, Suzysite said:

I was wondering if Felicity Huffman ever had a DNA test done to verify which man was actually her bio father.   Taking her mother's word for it as a child is one thing, but as an adult, I think she'd want proof.   It would be easy to see if she was or wasn't a full sibling to her brothers and sisters.

I guess she looked like him? I hope they did do some DNA testing off-camera, because I doubt her mom would admit it if there was a third possibility.

 

10 hours ago, sempervivum said:

 2) HOW Michael's family went from slavery to owning 100 acres in 15 years? How could there not be any public records showing who the Williams' bought the land from or some idea of where they could have gotten that much money? I also noticed that the evil slaveowner whose tombstone they showed was only 26 when he died; not that it absolves him, but most likely he inherited the slaves.

Yes. Too many unknowns. At least couldn't they determine whether the land owned by Michael K. Williams' freed slave ancestors had been owned by the slave owner? I guess not. Or maybe they did just determine it wasn't, and, in  cutting for time, left it out. Likewise with the 26-year-old slave owner: No further information.

And again, no mention of DNA testing—which could have eliminated the possibility of rape by slave owners if there was no Caucasoid DNA, but the presence of non-African DNA wouldn't necessarily prove rape—so I'm guessing that if there was DNA testing that there was some white DNA, but with no way to determine at what generation it entered the family gene pool and/or no remaining descendants of the slave owner to test, again, just not enough time to explain something that ultimately was an informational dead end.

Edited by shapeshifter
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I'm sure DNA testing is part of the research right from the beginning.  I thought they would mention it at some point but nothing of interest must have been discovered.

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3 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

I guess she looked like him? I hope they did do some DNA testing off-camera, because I doubt her mom would admit it if there was a third possibility.

 

Yes. Too many unknowns. At least couldn't they determine whether the land owned by Michael K. Williams' freed slave ancestors had been owned by the slave owner? I guess not. Or maybe they did just determine it wasn't, and, in  cutting for time, left it out. Likewise with the 26-year-old slave owner: No further information.

And again, no mention of DNA testing—which could have eliminated the possibility of rape by slave owners if there was no Caucasoid DNA, but the presence of non-African DNA wouldn't necessarily prove rape—so I'm guessing that if there was DNA testing that there was some white DNA, but with no way to determine at what generation it entered the family gene pool and/or no remaining descendants of the slave owner to test, again, just not enough time to explain something that ultimately was an informational dead end.

I presume everybody on the show has gotten a DNA test unless they refused (somebody did in an earlier season) but that their DNA didn't add to the story.  I wouldn't be surprised though, at all, if towards the end of the season somebody turns out to be cousins with Michael or Felicity because those things do come up in other episodes.   

 

Having some caucasion DNA wouldn't prove much at all without a lot more testing as you'd have to know if it was his mother's side or his father's side. And you'd have no idea where it came in unless you tested descendants of the presumed slave owner and had a match.  Also nearly all black people who have been here for generations have some European DNA.   The only statistics I found in a very, very quick search was from a Gates article published on The Root which had each company claiming the average African American tested betweeen 20 and 30 percent European.   And that 35 percent of the African American guests whose y DNA they had tested for show had a European ancestor.  More than 1/3 of African American male guests male line tested directly back to Europe.   https://www.theroot.com/exactly-how-black-is-black-america-1790895185

 

That said there was a lot of surname switching in that spot and I was very curious how they'd traced it.  I'm sure they did the work and they were able to back it up but I would have liked to have seen it.    

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Was this episode filmed 2 years ago? Huffman was born in 1962 but she said she was 54. She would be 56 now, turning 57 this year.

I'm guessing the reason a DNA test wasn't necessary was because her bio father also knew he was her father. In other words, there wasn't a question about it in the minds of either of her biological parents. I'd still want one to be sure though. I thought she could have passed as the daughter of Mr. Huffman based on that one photo we saw.

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3 hours ago, iMonrey said:

Was this episode filmed 2 years ago? Huffman was born in 1962 but she said she was 54. She would be 56 now, turning 57 this year.

 

 

If I remember correctly, her episode was being filmed last year at the time that her husband's episode aired.  I think she made some sort of social media post about it in conjunction with Macy's episode.

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All I want to know is the the phone number of Ms Huffman's plastic surgeon (just kidding but she looks fantastic for a woman in her mid 50's.) At any rate, her bio dad was about 50 when she was conceived and with her mother being 41 when she was born she sure was a late in life product of an affair. BTW, did the bio father have another family, did they say?

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12 minutes ago, LiveenLetLive said:

 BTW, did the bio father have another family, did they say?

 

I wondered that too, but I don't think they mentioned it.  I can understand why they didn't. Let's say he did have another family and they weren't too happy about the fact that their dad had an affair with another woman that resulted in a child, no matter how famous that child ended up being.  While Huffman has the right (I think) to speak about her biological father, I don't think that extends to any family he may have had who are not comfortable with this.  

Also, it is a different situation from what we saw last week with Adam Samberg's mother.  She was the result of a relationship between two unmarried young people.  While her biological father did have another family, they came after his relationship with Samberg's grandmother.  They also seemed happy to find out they had a half-sister out there.  If they wanted to be a part of this show, which it seems they did, that is fantastic.  But I don't think half-relatives who aren't comfortable with it should be included in the show.  

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On 1/18/2019 at 4:20 PM, HazelEyes4325 said:

Let's say he did have another family and they weren't too happy about the fact that their dad had an affair with another woman that resulted in a ch

They stated that her bio father was a family friend who was married with children. 

I did not like how he kept wanting to embrace this family and feel a connection. I have my biases but I am with her she considers her family the man who raised her and she isn’t going to instantly connect with names she has never heard of before. I hated how he framed it as if acknowledging that these people she never met or knew meant embracing a dude who was never a dad. 

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2 hours ago, biakbiak said:

They stated that her bio father was a family friend who was married with children. 

I did not like how he kept wanting to embrace this family and feel a connection. I have my biases but I am with her she considers her family the man who raised her and she isn’t going to instantly connect with names she has never heard of before. I hated how he framed it as if acknowledging that these people she never met or knew meant embracing a dude who was never a dad. 

Did you mean Henry Louis Gates framed it that way? Usually he just raises such questions (which I guess does sort of frame it) but leaves it open for the subject to reply either one way or the other--and we did clearly see Felicity Huffman not embracing her bio-father. 
It's interesting to me in this context that the father who she does embrace as the one who raised her was divorced from her mother early on and that she did not live with him. Right?
Although the reveal to Felicity Huffman by the mom in the bathtub smoking the cigarette suggests that the mom never badmouthed the bio-dad, I have to wonder. Same with her "real" dad.

My oldest daughter tracked down her bio-father when the Internet took off when she was 21. I'm glad she has been able to bond with his parents, a cousin, and even him, but there have been at least some "misunderstandings" that have caused her to see me as an occasional villain in spite of my having made vain heroic attempts to bring him into her life until she was two, even though he left when I was just a few months pregnant.

So Felicity Huffman's rejection of her bio-father gives me pause. Maybe her mother insisted he not let her know. Was that in the show? I don't recall. The bathtub reveal could have been her mom's attempt to absolve herself of guilt for keeping the secret--Felicity Huffman did say her mom introduced the topic by saying something about maybe Felicity was suffering from not having this knowledge, which could imply that her mom felt bad for not telling her.

But it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Felicity Huffman's mom was advised by her own mother (the grandmother) to not tell Felicity Huffman--if the grandma even knew. It's not like the two men were very different looking. My ex-husband's mother suggested I tell my oldest daughter that her stepfather was her father, but she was already five then. Still, it was the norm.

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2 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

Although the reveal to Felicity Huffman by the mom in the bathtub smoking the cigarette suggests that the mom never badmouthed the bio-dad, I have to wonder. Same with her "real" dad.

 

I believe they said that Huffman's mother and father had divorced by the time her mother told her that her father was not her bio dad.

Although, I have to say that Huffman's description of that scene painted a picture of her mother for me that probably isn't accurate or fair (but is definitely entertaining).  The whole lounging in the tub while smoking and sort of nonchalantly telling her youngest child that she was the result of an affair sounds all sorts of weirdly something--pretentious? mid-century dramatic? I don't even know how to explain it--to me.

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The 3 journalists were interesting but I do wish there were just 2 per episode. 

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33 minutes ago, rhys said:

The 3 journalists were interesting but I do wish there were just 2 per episode. 

So do I.  When there are three, I get more confused.  "But she said her father was ... no, that was the other one."

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13 hours ago, Driad said:

When there are three, I get more confused.  "But she said her father was ... no, that was the other one."

Yes, Christiane's maternal (English) roots and Ann Curry's were kind of similar; maybe I'm also confused, but didn't both of them have ancestors with the surname 'Hill'?

I have never heard of Lisa Ling; she's very, very pretty. And her grandma was awesome- what are the odds of a single woman with 2 tiny kids managing to escape the horror of China at that time?!

The DNA detective work to find Ann's paternal grandpa was awesome- almost makes me reconsider my decision to keep my genetic details out of Big Info.

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On ‎2019‎-‎01‎-‎20 at 10:03 AM, HazelEyes4325 said:

The whole lounging in the tub while smoking and sort of nonchalantly telling her youngest child that she was the result of an affair sounds all sorts of weirdly something--pretentious? mid-century dramatic? I don't even know how to explain it--to me.

I just assumed she was tipsy in the tub and possibly when Felicity was conceived too. Having a drink with your smoke while relaxing in the tub or with family friends is straight out of the mid-century mothers' handbook.

I missed the opening and didn't even recognize Felicity with her new face and teeth.  It wasn't until HLG called this generic-looking blonde "Felicity" a second time, ~15 minutes into the show, that I noticed the ropey thing by the side of her upper nose and realized it was Felicity H. Muffman. Her original eye shape, teeth and laugh lines, everything that made her look distinctly Felicity, are gone.

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17 hours ago, rhys said:

The 3 journalists were interesting but I do wish there were just 2 per episode. 

Me too.  Why should ethnic female journalists only get 33% of a show when most people get 50%?  I was getting confused too about the Curry, Wright, Hill etc. families.  I liked Lisa Ling's attitude - yeah my grandfather was a philanderer who owned a brothel.  What can you do about it? - nothing but avoid following in his footsteps.  Most people find something shady or never spoken about in their past that turns up in DNA or old newpapers that we can access today.  Things like blacksmiths practicing dentistry without a license in the late 1800s or their dog biting someone in the early 1900s made the newspaper. Or my new aunt who just found out at 78 that a married w/kids family friend was her bio-father; if her married mother were not a teetotaler, she might have found out earlier.

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4 hours ago, deirdra said:

I missed the opening and didn't even recognize Felicity with her new face and teeth.  It wasn't until HLG called this generic-looking blonde "Felicity" a second time, ~15 minutes into the show, that I noticed the ropey thing by the side of her upper nose and realized it was Felicity H. Muffman. Her original eye shape, teeth and laugh lines, everything that made her look distinctly Felicity, are gone.

INR? at first I thought, who in the hell is this? 

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I loved the story of Lisa Ling's ancestor, who initially couldn't pass a written exam to advance in government, later saving a town from flooding by the Yellow River using what was most expedient (e.g., old clothes from a resale store), and then gaining recognition and asking for his reward to be "help" in passing the test—not unlike when famous people in the U.S. get honorary degrees from colleges. I wondered if he was dyslexic, and if the same quirk in his way of interpreting what he saw was what gave him the insight to save the town—and also to take as his reward something of real value.

 

On January 22, 2019 at 10:08 PM, Driad said:

So do I. When there are three, I get more confused. "But she said her father was ... no, that was the other one."

I really appreciate that PBS posts the episodes for free. This one is here: https://www.pbs.org/video/reporting-on-the-reporters-tuqhvi/

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