Um, I’m starting to almost feel bad making fun of NBC at this point, and I know that they are doing their best (are they though?) to fill all those coveted 10PM time slots now that The Jay Leno show has moved to 11:30PM, but between this and The Marriage Ref I am really starting to worry about the mental well-being of that network’s executives. At the very least I’m starting to wonder if they’ve ever even SEEN television before. Because The Marriage Ref is a joke, and to answer the rhetorical question posed by this post’s headline, the answer is NO, SARAH JESSICA PARKER READING HER FAMILY TREE IN A LIBRARY IS NOT A SHOW.

I do love how the climactic conclusion of this clip is that Sarah Jessica Parker is “a prime candidate right now to have something to do with the Salem Witch Trials.” Whoa, a candidate to have something to do with the Salem Witch Trials? This show is getting nuts! Just kidding. Because this isn’t a show.

Comments (77)
  1. Sarah Jessica Parker’s lineage should be easy to track right? Surely having a grandfather as famous as Seabiscuit would mean that her pedigree is well documented.

  2. She is a good candidate for having something to do with that’s why she looks like a witch?

  3. candidare “to make bright.”
    candidatus “a person aspiring to office.”


    (Her P.R. people must hate Monday thru Sunday)

  4. If it turned out she was blacker than Charles Barkley, that would be a show.

  5. You know, I was going to defend SJP and this show until she said “a young man with so much old information.” That just made me want to tell her to shut the hell up.

  6. clearly he was talking about her ancestry

  7. NBC is quickly becoming a higher end MTV, parlaying celebrities social status into awful television, only the celebrities they are using don’t necessarily need to be put in quotations, and these aren’t rehab and weight loss shows, so they come across as less trashy. You’re not fooling me though, NBC.

    • Hm. But as soon as the network asks actors to serve as celebrity personalities rather than as actual actors, they are sort of putting them in quotation marks. “Gosh, this marriage seems troubled! Let’s ask ‘Alec Baldwin’ what to do!’” NBC at this point is in a flopsweat nightmare, running a 5-day-a-week Cavalcade of Stars, or Hollywood Squares. “I’ll take ‘Kelly Ripa’ for the block, Tom!”

  8. Does NBC just have a different team of executives for Thursday night programming? They must. It’s impossible for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the same network that continues to force Jay Leno on me in addition to all of the other horrible things that they’ve done, also brings me 30Rock and Parks & Recreation. How is that possible?

  9. It would be a lot more interesting to see normal people investigating their family history, no?

    I mean, at least then they could choose the episode content based on the most amazing stories they find (“my ancestor was a slave trader — I must apologize to the descendants of his slaves,” etc), rather than choosing episode content because someone is a C.E.L.E.B. (“my ancestor lived in Ireland. hm.”) Even the title is insulting “Who do you think you are?” like it’s some kind of crowd-sourced programming. No, David Blaine. This is more Celebrity worship dressed up as melodrama.

    • mte, since the Olympics were shoving this idiotic show down our throats. Brags time: I’m a something-th cousin of Napoleon Bonaparte! And a descendent of some Scottish Earl who was cursed by a witch, but in Scotland. That branch of the family eventually went all Calvinist and Mayflowered over to America. WHERE IS MY TELEVISION SPECIAL?

      • I’m distantly related to the guy they used as the basis for Captain Morgan (Sir Henry Morgan). So I can actually say, “i have a little Captain in me” (and by that, I mean I have the predisposed genes to be an ALCOHOLIC). Woohoo for history! (am i doing this rite???)

  10. I thought this show actually sounded kind of interesting when I read this article.. Maybe SJP’s is boring, but Lisa Kudrow seemed to have an interesting experience.

  11. Also, BOOOOO! I still hate NBC, ok?

  12. Shouldn’t the show be called, “Who do you think they are?” Or is the show only meant to be viewed by celebrities?

  13. I do genealogy on a fairly regular basis, and even I’m not going to watch this show. Why do I care that you’re related to Louis XV or someone in the Salem Witch Trials? I don’t. Genealogy is a personal thing, and generally people only care about their own lineage. Sure, this will probably get regular folks to try out (disclaimer: this is largely the site I use), which is probably what that site is banking on, but I can’t see it being all that entertaining.

    • This is so true. I’m an amateur genealogist as well, but I still find other people’s histories painfully boring. Yet I still annoy friends/neighbors/strangers with stories of my own family. (Did you know one of my ancestors was in the Roughriders with Teddy Roosevelt? Now you do!)

  14. The producers of Hocus Pocus should be applauded for their attempts at historical accuracy. Awaiting the witch-ancestry results for Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy.

  15. Did you know that your ancestors may have been near to or alive during an important historical event? Fact: My great-grandparents left Russia in the early 1900′s, did they meet Lenin? Possibly.

  16. Is this what shows on NBC have become? Barely relevant celebrities sitting in a fake library (that probably previously served as a set for an episode of Law & Order) surfing and reading the results out loud to a camera?

    Sorry NBC, not even Matthew Broderick would find this interesting, and he pretends to be interested in SJP for a living.

  17. This show is a candidate to have something to do with me learning witchcraft and casting spells on whoever was involved in making it. BAD SPELLS.

  18. So it’s cool and all if people are interested in where they’re from and what their ancestry is and all that, but I don’t think most people really appreciate the numbers involved. Assuming that, on average, generations are 25 years – a reasonable number when you carry this back far enough – and accounting for the fact that you double your number of ancstors every generation, going back to the time of the Salem witch trials, Sarah Jessica Parker (being over 40 years old) had about 4,000 ancestors around. Go back 100 years more and you’re at 32,000. Go back 500 years and you’re at a million. What I’m getting at is that people track these things back and find one individual and think “wow, that tells me so much about who I am….it changes everything”. Nah, it doesn’t. You’re looking at one individual of very, very many who contributed to who you are. Go back more than a few generations and it doesn’t matter all that much, really.

  19. your ancestors worshiped satan SJP? ooo you so edgey!!

  20. I actually do find genealogy kind of interesting. I have very information about my own family history, so I can understand a viewer’s curiosity. Add to that curiosity the FACT that celebrities are more interesting and better than my family, and I should be very entertained by this- “a young man with such old information?” What?

    • …I have very little information about my own family history…

    • Eh, it’s somewhat interesting, but not really any more so than any other hobby, IMO, like building model trains or what have you. At best it’s cocktail party fodder.

      There is also a long record of genealogy obsessiveness intermingling with some very ugly and reactionary ideas. Especially in the US, where being able to trace your lineage back more than a couple generations is a de facto assertion of white privilege.

  21. On a long enough timeline, everyone’s life expectancy drops to zero.

    • Argh, I attempted to reply to Lew Zealand. But I hit submit comment and the site refresh and signed me out. Then I forgot to hit reply. I am sleepy.

  22. “A young man with so much old information.”

    Books, SJP. That old information is called books.

  23. It sounds as if she is rehearsing getting an award or something. “This is so exciting! Thank you so much for the honor of looking something up I never cared about to look up myself before!” -SJP

  24. An old TV network with such horrible new programming…

  25. Hmmm, I always assumed Sarah Jessica Parker was related to the Parker Brothers, you know, the people that make boardgames? Huh, huh? Okay, I know that was a lame joke, and I’m Sorry! I took the Risk! of sounding lame, but I haven’t a Clue! what else to say… Monopoly!

  26. Did someone already make a “She turned me into a newt!” joke? Did I miss it?

  27. They need to say fuck it and just genetically test all the employees of NBC and run the results (Henry Louis Gates Documentary Style) in the 1130(est) slot.

  28. I guess knowing SJP’s ancestors is slightly better than finding out Jerry Seinfeld’s?

  29. Family Guy just called, it wants its jokes about Sarah Jessica Parker’s appearance back (part of the Tired Joke for Tired Jokes Recycling Program – TJTJRP).

  30. Didn’t you hear Jerry seinfield’s wife came up with this concept, which she copied from PBS….

  31. Did anyone make a Hocus Pocus joke yet?

  32. Not that I watched that video (because NBC is racist to people outside of ‘merica) but Who Do You think You Are? is a BBC show and I don’t like to hear the good name of that institution sullied. Its also a very good and interesting show but thats not the important thing. The important is that this will make money for the BBC and in turn save BBC 6music.

    • Is the BBC version with celebrities too? Just curious. We Americans tend to butcher things by making them “bigger” and “better.”

      • Celebrities might be too strong of a word, a lot of the time its just that guy off that thing. Television personalities they’re called, what the fuck happened to just calling them television personalities?

  33. I ask, NAY demand, that Gabe reconsider the embargo on Horseface parker jokes.

  34. Genealogy is pretty cool. My ancestors were involved with the slave trade and also some were abolitionists. A couple of my ancestors actually owned the land that wall street is built on, but the government took it away. They sued to get it back, but the government said, “eat a dick”. And so they did.
    That is genealogy in a nutshell.

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