13 February 2011

My Take On WDYTYA: Tim McGraw

     I watched the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are on Saturday afternoon, having missed the original airing due to work. I have to say that I did not enjoy this episode as much as I did Vanessa Williams',  though I did still think it was a strong and compelling story.

     After thinking about it, I've decided that the reason I found this episode lacking compared to the prior one is for one reason only: the multi-generation jump. In this episode Tim McGraw goes from finding out the names of his Great-Grandparents, to jumping back four or so generations all at once. I understand why they did this: the older generations in his family had a very compelling story that was supported by some amazing documents. But the generation jumping just made me feel disconnected.

     I think a large part of this is due to the way genealogists usually do their research: one generation at a time, often at a rather slow pace. We search out multiple documents and family stories and, over time, get to know our ancestors. Rarely do we come across instant family trees, like the one presented to Tim McGraw in this episode (or at least when we do, we have to do our own research to prove validity).  So for me, this generation jump creates a dis-connect. With the way the family tree was presented, I felt more like I was watching a history documentary about random historical figures, rather than the family of the main subject. I felt an equal disconnect with last year's Brooke Shields episode.

     I hope that most future episodes of WDYTYA do not feature these jumps, though I do understand why they do them.

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