This is the season opening episode of the series, Finding Your Roots, hosted by Professor Louis Henry Gates, Jr. If you haven't seen the show, it's sort of like the NBC series, Who Do You Think You Are?, though done on a more scholarly level. But I don't mean to suggest it's at all pedantic because it's not, and actually quite fun and interesting. With his staff of researchers, Gates tracks down the family trees of whoever his guests are that week, and also uses DNA as part of the study. Where the show is more "scholarly" is that, in discovering the ancestors, the show puts them in somewhat more historical perspective. And it's all done in a library with photos and documents, along the lines of a Ken Burns documentary, rather than the guest traveling around the world, as is the case of the NBC show.
The two guests they put together for this particular episode are a couple of gentleman whose lives overlapped for a humorous reason, Larry David and the man he famously impersonate on Saturday Night Live, Bernie Sanders. The show thought it would be a fun juxtaposition. And it is.
The episode if full of some utterly fascinating revelations, and it's interesting to see Larry David -- who is usually cynical about most things, including his own life -- continually be flabbergasted and interested in it all. And the taciturn Bernie Sanders gets boggled a few times, and does a particularly good job putting a lot of the discoveries into perspective.
I can't embed the show, but you can watch it online at the PBS website by clicking here.
The show (which airs on PBS Tuesdays) runs about 52 minutes. It's all well-done, often very funny, and at times angrily heart-wrenching when dealing with parts of Eastern Europe during WWII -- and as I said, full of surprises, but if you don't want to watch the whole thing, you can jump to around the 15-minute mark and skip the individual backgrounds of David and Sanders. And even if you don't want to watch all of the remaining 37 minutes, at least jump to 48:30 and watch the last four minutes. It's the finale. And...trust me.