Saturday, March 6, 2010

Episode 1 of Who Do You Think you Are? Sarah Jessica Parker

I was excited to see the show “Who Do You Think you Are (WDYTYA)? While watching the show, I participated in an online discussion about the show with a group of genealogists from the Afrigeneas Chat . This made the viewing even more exciting as we typed our reactions to what we were seeing on our televisions. It was my first time doing online chatting and watching a television show simultaneously.

Today, I spent the day reading and posting comments on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well on blogs such as the ones listed below. I even took a poll about the show sponsored by genealogist Megan Smolenyak on Facebook.

What I Liked About WDYTYA
I liked the format of the show which focuses on one person per episode and shows their journey and process of discovering their roots. It was clear from this show that not everything is found online and they did a great job showing the various places from where Sarah Jessica Parker obtained family information. I also liked that various historical documents were shown throughout the show and numerous genealogy and research specialists were consulted.

Some genealogists were irritated by all of the recaps throughout the show, but I liked it. Perhaps one reason is because I am an Educator and recapping and review go with the territory of teaching and learning. I also thought that the recaps were good for people who did not understand the research process. Since I was tired during this viewing because of a long work week, the recaps were even good for me so that I could concentrate and follow the journey along even though my mind and body were tired.

Many people have commented about the way that Sarah Jessica Parker reacted to her family's researching findings and some of even accused her of “acting”. I don't think she was acting, I think this may be part of her normal reactions to things. I know people who respond to exciting things just as enthusiastically as Sarah did in this episode. Perhaps to some the reactions of these types of people are annoying, but we have to understand that this is part of the way they are, and therefore accept this habit of this person.

I'm sure that in the upcoming episodes we will see different types of responses to the new family information learned by these celebrities. At the end of the seven episodes, it would be interesting to do a comparison of these various types of responses.

What I Disliked About WDYTYA
While I liked the showing of the original documents in the Massachusetts repository, I though that both Sarah and the Librarian should have been wearing gloves and that the pencil should not have used as a pointer to such a valuable document. I also thought it was unrealistic for Sarah to be shown sitting in a repository alone while waiting for a document. Why wasn’t the local genealogy society contacted to serve as extras in this scene? This group would have not needed any training on how to act like a researcher and I’m sure that they would have honored to play the roles.

Future Postings Related to WDYTYA
I have a lot more to say about various aspects of this show, but will post these thoughts in future postings within the next few days.

My Grading of WDYTYA
This show gets an “A” from Professor Dru and five gold stars!


Cheryl Fleming Palmer said...

Thank you Dru for commenting on my blog! It was wonderful to hear your thoughts regarding the show here also!I feel in general most of us really enjoyed this new program!

Anonymous said...

Great post, ProfessorDru! I look forward to our watching it again next week together as well!


Melanie said...

I was a little disappointed myself in how they didn't mention how much work had been done by some of the genealogists or historians she met with before she got there. I did like that they showed a little of everything....the online search at and the library work and visiting the sites. I wish they had shown HOW they determined that that was HER Samuel Hodge as the name was so popular. But I still loved the show. Can't wait for next week!

Anonymous said...

Re the reaction of Sarah, I wonder what the viewing public would have thought of "the genealogy Happy Dance!" Grin!

pix2fix said...

Great comments Dru - we watched the show with our grandson and I've posted my comments on our FTM site.
We all thought the show was really well done (one can always pick at details). This show engaged our 10 year old grandson - I think that is a big plus!

Darlene said...

Hey Dru,
Thanks for your mention of 'watching the show again online'. I may not have even considered to watch it on NBC.COM. I agree with your statement about the gloves and the pencil. Us seasoned geneaveterans would not have even considered, especially the pencil. My concern is for all the newbies out there observing bad geneabehavior and who may go on to their own bad geneabehavior.

Still, the show was enjoyable. Looking forward to the next episode.

A rootdigger said...

I had not thought to look at face book for the group discussion.
Thanks for a reminder to do so.