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Thread: Colonial House

  1. #1
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Colonial House

    I see from the American Idol thread that at least RavenRant and Piel are watching Colonial House. Anyone else?

    I think this is by far the best of the shows that this PBS series has done. The interesting conflict is between the people who want to relive, as much as possible, the actual experiences of American colonists in 1528, and those who want to observe from the outside but still maintain their identities as 21st century Americans.

    The first group is led by the Baptist preacher from Texas who was appointed Governor. To him, the experience is truly a religious pilgrimage.

    In the other camp are people like Mrs. Vorhees, who won't go to church and pray to a God that she doesn't believe in, won't cover her head to honor 16th century notions of modesty (and subservience) in women, etc.

    I am sort of on the preacher's side. If you didn't want to live like the Pilgrims, why sign up for the show? (OK, 6 hours worth of Church every Sunday might be cruel and unusual punishment.)

    On the other hand, I think they did a good job of bringing out the point that the people who came to the colonies in pursuit of "religious freedom" ended up imposing their own form of religious tyranny in the new world.

    Mathman

  2. #2
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    ok it is tempting to get into a religious/political debate on this I'll try not to..

    mom loves this show... I get so mad with some of the things they say in regards to the religion of back in the day it's like Pfft... obviously some that signed up had no idea of colonial history... maybe they thought they were signing up for Survivor

  3. #3
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    I watch Colonial House. In fact, I've watched all the PBS "house" programs. I liked Frontier House, the most. Edwardian House and Victorian House were filmed in England and those were fun, too.

    I like the Governor, too. I agree that if you didn't want to truly live as the people did, you should just stay home and watch it on the tube.

    On the previews for next week's show, didn't they say that the Governor was leaving? Does anyone know why? Maybe due to family problems. I had to laugh when the Governor called the other "settlers" children. That's how most of them act.

  4. #4
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    that's also a "Baptist Preacher Thing," "Beloved," "Friends," "Children," it's how they address their "flock"

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    I'm watching, Mathman!

    My degree (which I've never used) is in Sociology, so this show is simply fascinating to me. It's good to know my college education can be put to good use in front of the boob-tube.... Maybe I'll go for a graduate degree and get a big screen TV!

    JillLaQ, I think the governor's son was involved in the same tragic car accident that killed his daughter's fiance. I would imagine that plays into the decision to depart, but I'm not sure.

    I like the English guy who hit the trail to a nice cold beer and leftover potato chips in town!

  6. #6
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    I think the BBC did a program where the participants had to live as the Druids did (can't remember if it was Iron or Bronze age, but it was NOT the age for me! :\ )

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    I missed that one, bronxgirl, it sounds good! Maybe the PBS store has DVDs of it.

    I'm sure the Druidic livin' wasn't easy, but at least they didn't have to wear whalebone corsets. I couldn't have handled that!
    (She said from the comfort of her stretchy waist flannels...)

  8. #8
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    A little correction -- it's 1628, in 1528.

    I love this program. I immediately started sympathyzing with the lay preacher and his wife, rather than the governor and his family. However, it was clear that when the governor had to leave, the preacher with his democratic ideals couild not do the job nearly as well as the governor.

    I also want to complement PBS on not indulging in voyeurism. I appreciated that when the the "governor"'s daughter received the news about her fiance, they did not show her or her family, but just interviewed other "colonists".

    Here, however, is an exerpt from the laws that they are supposed to live by. I wonder how they would abide
    Idleness
    Every colonist shall take their due pains, and not loiter, or idly misspend the time appointed for work for the Company. The Governor shall not allow any of his Company to be negligent, and idle, or depart from his work.

    Punishments included: for the first offense, the head tied to the feet for an entire night; and whipping for the second offense.

    Threats to Masters
    Servants may not threaten their masters or steal from their masters, or resist the authority of their masters.

    Punished by whipping.

    Suspicious Behavior
    Unseemly, lustful, or other suspicious behaviors are against the law.

    Punishments included whipping, fines, and paper stating the offense pinned to the chest at public meetings, or the Governor determined the punishment.
    I bet Mr. Ashcroft would love a law against "suspicious behaviour"
    Last edited by Ptichka; 05-20-2004 at 04:03 PM.

  9. #9
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    I am loving this show, as I have the previous "House" shows. I feel so badly for the colonists who had such a hard life! Makes me appreciate all the more all I have now.

  10. #10
    Custom Title merrywidow's Avatar
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    I watch all the "House" shows on PBS, too, & each is fascinating as well as informative in its own way. "Frontier House" is my favorite, tho, most likely because I live in Montana & found the wealthy Ca. family so laughable. They couldn't have survived a winter in Mt. LOL! I enjoyed the British "Manor House" series & was very impressed with how well "the servants" coped even tho the Butler was frustrated with them.
    As to "Colonial House" I had ancestors who arrived in the 1630's
    & am even more impressed by their faith & belief in God than I was before watching this show. The women had to have such strength to follow where their husbands/men led without a voice in decisions. One of my ancestors, was an indentured servant who was able to buy his freedom 4 years after arriving in this country, married his former master's daughter & became quite well to do in the new country.

  11. #11
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    I'm really enjoying the series and can't wait until Monday! It is kind of funny watching the "colonists" trying to work out their 21st century issues in a 17th century format, particularly the Voorhees' and the lay minister's households. I guess the producers didn't clue them in that individualism hadn't made it too far as a popular concept in that day and age!
    I've spent time without power and running water, and I've spent time in 17th century clothing. Heck, I even know how to spin thread, but I don't think I'd last five minutes in 1628!
    Rave

  12. #12
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Merrywidow, that's cool about your ancestor -- and also that you have researched his life.

    I'm really enjoying the series and can't wait until Monday! It is kind of funny watching the "colonists" trying to work out their 21st century issues in a 17th century format, particularly the Voorhees' and the lay minister's households. I guess the producers didn't clue them in that individualism hadn't made it too far as a popular concept in that day and age!
    I've spent time without power and running water, and I've spent time in 17th century clothing. Heck, I even know how to spin thread, but I don't think I'd last five minutes in 1628! -- Rave
    That's neat about the spinning. In the colonial setting, would some of the ladies have brought spinning wheels with them? What would they have spun, goat hair? Do you know if there were plant fibers that they could have used?

    About individualism in that day and age (this question is for Aloft, too), I get the feeling that what we now think of as national virtues -- indeed, the bedrock of our nation's ideals -- including the freedom to practice whatever religion we want, or none -- was, in the context of the New England colonies, at best a necessary compromise with mortal sin and error (rather like the grammar of this sentence).

    MM

  13. #13
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Mathman:

    I have watched a couple of episodes, but I enjoyed the English reality show of a couple of years ago "1900 House" also shown on PBS. Much better. I also liked the "Edwardian Country House."

    I find the folks at "Colonial House" spend too much time squabbling. They are still mentally thinking of the 21st century - pretty hard to conform to the rules and way of life of those days - especially for the ladies.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Ladskater
    Mathman:

    I have watched a couple of episodes, but I enjoyed the English reality show of a couple of years ago "1900 House" also shown on PBS. Much better. I also liked the "Edwardian Country House."
    I completely agree. I enjoyed the shows out of England much better, for some reason. Especially "1900 House". I am a history buff, and that period of time is just fascinating to me, with all the inventions happening almost daily. I think I could have done well in that reality house, but not in the others. I like reading about the pioneers and colonists, but I don't like to be dirty, so I would never make it!

  15. #15
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    I have watched all of the other house series as well, and I'm so excited about this newest installment into the genre. I have DVR'd the first few episodes because my PBS affiliate is airing them at odd times... Perhaps I'll have a marathon this weekend.

    Did anyone see the follow up on Frontier house after the taping was finished... I was sad to see that one of the families had gotten divorced, apparently the experience was pretty hard for them.

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