BLUE BLOODS’ Donnie Wahlberg Explains the Significance Behind the Show’s Family Dinners

Photo from Blue Bloods on CBS Instagram

BLUE BLOODS’ Donnie Wahlberg Explains the Significance Behind the Show’s Family Dinners

By Movieguide® Staff

BLUE BLOODS actor Donnie Wahlberg, who plays Danny Reagan, said that the Reagan family dinners first attracted him to the role. 

“Well, the family dinner scenes on BLUE BLOODS, the very first one that I ever read, obviously, was the pilot episode,” Wahlberg told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “When I read that scene, that was the moment I decided I wanted to be a part of the show.”

However, Wahlberg also said that the pilot episode brought back uncomfortable memories about his childhood experience with family dinners.  

The first episode shows the Reagans coming together for dinner after church. But because of a case, an argument breaks out, and Wahlberg’s character storms away from the table.  

“It was so intimidating,” Wahlberg told TV Insider. “My character basically had to run roughshod over the table and to sit down with that cast and with Tom Selleck at the head of the table. My dad used to wear a mustache a lot, and he’s very intimidating and he sat at the head of the table like that.”

Wahlberg added: “It was sort of traumatizing for me to sit there and have to come in on my first day of shooting the series and just basically take over the dinner table.”

However, the family dinner scenes persisted over the course of 10 seasons of BLUE BLOODS and added to the realism of the Reagan family.  

Wahlberg said that it was authentic for him and that if the pilot episode’s dinner scene did not work, the show would not work.  

“I hadn’t been offered the job yet, so I had to go in and earn it,” Wahlberg said. “But I read that scene and it rang so true to my childhood and to my upbringing with all of us sitting around the table arguing and disagreeing and everyone have a different point of view.”

Wahlberg continued: “And with this brooding, mustached dad at the head of the table literally shooting that first dinner scene, it took me back to my childhood when my dad sat at the head of the table with his mustache holding court over the table. It just felt so authentic.”

Although the dramatic representation of family dinner in a television show is fiction, there are real-life lessons and formative experiences for children to experience around the dinner table with family. This occasion increased during the pandemic.  

Movieguide® previously reported

Due to the pandemic, many people are cooking homemade meals because sit-down restaurants are shut, and the only other option is takeout or drive-throughs.

However, there is some joy coming out of the pandemic, such as the resurgence of family dinners, lunches and breakfasts. Many Americans are usually busy at school, work, appointments, and do not have the time to have a sit-down meal. However, when the whole family is home, they can sit down during meals and bond by talking about their lives and day.

Dr. Ted Baehr notes in CULTURE WISE FAMILY that “time with your children, especially family dinners, is the primary and most important step toward teaching them media-wisdom.”

Food can be used to unite people, and it is always more enjoyable to see a dish you worked hard on be enjoyed by the ones you love.

Although right now we can’t have large gatherings with our loved ones, we can be hopeful for the time when we will.

Life can be stressful and discouraging during this pandemic. However, we can look forward to cooking and enjoying homemade meals with our families. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel!