Who Do You Think You Are?

Common Sense Media says

Celebs' genealogical journeys are inspiring and educational.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series celebrates the interconnectedness of the human race, drawing surprising links between the participants and their families’ ties to important times throughout history. Each family story ties into some aspect of world or American history, so the show puts a human face on the triumphs and tragedies that make up modern-day history lessons.

Positive role models

In some cases, unexpected discoveries change how the stars view their ancestors and themselves, and all are touched by a new sense of respect for the role their distant family members played in their lives today.

Violence

No active violence, but many of the stories touch on violence as it relates to particular times in history, including the Holocaust, American slavery, and the Salem witch trials. In these cases, stories, pictures, and drawings give viewers a sense of how violent acts like hangings and beatings were executed.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

No cursing, but multiple uses of “Oh my God” as exclamations in each episode.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fascinating series celebrates family ties, the indominatable human spirit, and the inherent similarities within the human race. In other words, it’s a great choice for families of tweens and teens and might just inspire you and yours to embark on your own genealogical journey into your family’s past. The show’s content is mostly worry-free for all ages, but younger kids lack the historical foundation to understand discussions about troubled periods like the Holocaust and slavery. If they take an interest, though, the series is an excellent starting ground for exploration of topics like history, sociology, and religion.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? shadows seven American celebrities as they explore their genealogical roots and search for answers to questions that have long gone unanswered in their families. Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, and Spike Lee are among the participants who embark on life-changing journeys into the past, working with historical and genealogical experts to uncover clues to the lives of their ancestors. The stars travel the world to visit the places where their relatives lived, hoping to gain a better understanding of who they were, and ultimately where they themselves come from.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

These fascinating stories take the stars -- and viewers -- on an emotional journey through momentous times in history, putting a very human face on the ambiguous players in events like the Civil War, the Holocaust, and slavery. At the same time, the emergence of the stars’ unlikely ties to important historical times inspire the concept of a deep interconnectedness within human race. After watching the show, viewers may be drawn to learn more about their own family’s heritage, which makes for an excellent project the entire family can share.

If a flaw is to be found, it would be in the show’s oversimplification of the sleuthing process itself. The celebrities have the benefit of working with some of the industry’s best experts, who (despite what it appears) have had time to unearth documents and other evidence before they even meet with the stars. While it’s true that the Internet has opened access to historical documents to regular people like never before, average citizens will find it takes quite a bit longer than it appears on the show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how technology affects our access to information. What forms of communication do we have at our disposal that keep us in touch with current events? What are the benefits of being so “connected”? Are there any drawbacks to it? How does this access to information act as an equalizer for people from all walks of life?

  • Tweens: Are you interested in genealogy? What questions about your ancestors would you like to have answered? Do you think knowing more about your past would change how you feel about yourself? Why or why not?

  • Parents and tweens can talk about history. How have historical events shaped the world we live in today? What events would you say have had the most impact on your life? How do you think generations to come will view current times? What are the biggest challenges we face today?

TV details

Cast:Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon
Networks:NBC, TLC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Who Do You Think You Are? was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byMashenka July 20, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great show

I think this show is fine for any age. I say 8 and up because younger children would probably not find it very interesting.
Teen, 14 years old Written bybkid February 14, 2011
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
While there are very educational stories, there is the "son of a b--ch" phrase in the second season theme.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old March 27, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Fun!

It's a very good show that everyone should watch
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models

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