America The Story

Of What the...?

episode 1: Rebels

It is hard enough to teach people history without having a Bank of America sponsored and celebrity filled documentary spouting misinformation.   

     Outside of the historical inaccuracy, visually I kept seeing men with beards appear on the screen which simply did not happen in 18th century America. The final straw however came at the 43 minute mark when a terrible George Washington appeared on the screen with dark hair showing beneath a white wig. Washington never wore a wig, period. They had gone too far. Millions of dollars spent, 1,600 actors portraying historic characters with countless hours in computer generated recreations and they could not even get such a basic and widely known fact correct? I turned it off.

    There was a bit of history I saw during my viewing time, provided by real historians discussing actual events and how these events affected the creation of our modern world. It was in a Bank of America commercial break. Oi,




America, The Story of What the..?

I’m sorry that this review can only be for the first 43 minutes of America The Story of Us: Rebels, but my wife says it’s unhealthy to yell at the TV so much. But what, you might ask, was the final straw that made me turn off the “documentary” at the 43 minute mark? Oh no no not yet, you must wait for that.

    The show starts off with great fanfare, dynamic music and beautiful computer enhanced shots. The actual episode begins with John Rolfe arriving in Virginia which is an odd choice since Rolfe was not one of the original group of colonist to Virginia but ok maybe they are going somewhere with this. The show is your typical narrator talking over recreated events without audio interrupted with historian talking heads. So when the first “historian” began to speak I was a bit surprised that it was General Colin Powell. Then my jaw hit the floor as Powell’s nice but irrelevant opinions were interrupted by Donald Trump. I was ready to turn it off when Dr. Louis Henry Gates (of Yale and “Beer Summit’ fame) came on. While not everyone may appreciate Dr. Gates and his point of view, he is very qualified to make historical commentary. Then the wheels came off the bus as Michael Douglas (the actor) was allowed the next turn at commentary. I get the idea of using popular figures in your documentary to make it more commercial but there is a frightening precedent being set when you let celebrities become equal authorities with historians in educating us about our past.

As the show continued, the quality of the recreations and the accuracy of the information slid around considerably until I felt it was unsafe to watch further. I was afraid that if I learned something new it might not be true and I hate unlearning facts.