Who Do You Think You Are: SJP: Carrie Me Home

June 13, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?: Sunday 13th June, BBC1, 9.15pm ALERT ME

If the mawkish introduction’s anything to go by, we’re in for a happy clappy hour where celebrities discover the shiny hidden truths which will make them see their lives in a whole new light. It’s like the intro to either an insufferably awful daytime soap like Days Of Our Lives or an advert for a dating website, with couples striding confidently off into the distance and impossibly good-looking people flashing their whiter than whiter teeth at the camera.

All it needs is a few montages and an embrace against a background sunset and you’d have the poster for a Nicholas Sparks movie. Set expectations to vomit. Today’s celebrity is Sex And The City’s Sarah Jessica Parker. We’re told she’s very different from her SATC counterpart, so hopefully she won’t be the shallow, vain, self-obsessed, narcissistic, impossibly spoilt wretch that she is on that.

To her credit, SJP is very earnest but she’s constantly amazed by even the blandest of discoveries; every revelation is greeted with cries of “Unbelievable!? Isn’t it incredible that her great great great great grandfather was called John? No, not really. There are seemingly enough unbelievable things in this show to fill an entire back catalogue of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

At one point, the researchers stop to check Ancestry.com for some census information. This feels a little like cheating, I didn’t tune in to watch Sarah Jessica Parker Google herself. There’s also an obsession with going on a journey – the producers would like you to draw a line between the physical trip that SJP takes in the show, which amounts her to visiting a local historian who’s done all the work and the “spiritual? journey of discovery that she’s supposed to have undertaken.

Why are people so obsessed with where they come from? It’s as if they need some kind of justification for their lives. Weren’t you happy with being a famous, multi-millionaire before you found out that you great x15 grandfather was involved in the gold rush or that one of your ancestors was almost hanged as a witch?

That’s not to say that genealogy isn’t interesting, I’m sure we’d all be interested to find out our backgrounds, no matter how mundane, but the programme puts such an emphasis on the life-changing abilities of family history that it seems artificial.

SJP concludes, “I believed in things I loved about being an American but I never really felt that I was really American.? Apparently because you’ve found out that your ancestors survived a hanging and went panning for gold it makes you more American than you were a minute ago. That’s the power of television.