Tonight’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are was great! The tone of this episode was drastically different than last week’s show. Here are my initial thoughts of the show, in no particular order:
- The focus of this episode was entirely on one part of American history. While it was interesting how Sarah Jessica Parkier’s family was involved in the Gold Rush AND the Salem Witch Trials, I think it was effective to focus on just a single topic as they did this week with slavery.
- The scene where Emmitt learns about his white slave-owning ancestor was particularly moving. It must have been very emotional for Emmitt to learn that his own ancestor not only bought and sold slaves, but that he was likely a direct result of that ancestor raping a slave. I thought it was great how at the moment Emmitt learned this and showed such visible scorn for that man, he also realized that man was a part of who he is.
- It was interesting to learn of Emmitt’s Native American and European ancestry.
- It was cool to see Megan Smolenyak on Primetime National TV.
- I didn’t like how there was no direct evidence to link Emmitt’s ancestry back to a particular place in Africa. This is the sad case for so many African-Americans, and it really is heart-breaking that they will never be able to trace their roots back to their ancestral homelands in Africa.
- Finally, the tragic story of slavery presented in this episode made for better pure family history than last week, where it was more about linking SJP’s line to significant events. While finding links like SJP did is definately fun and exhilirating, learning of the difficulites of our ancestors provides a deeper, more human touch. Maybe it is just me, but I find tragedy more compelling than triumph.