Family Dinner – Blue Bloods Style

Posted Dec 22 2011, 7:00 am in , , , , , , , , ,

One of my favorite semi-new shows is Blue Bloods. Yes, it’s another cop show, but this one focuses more on the Reagan family than the crimes themselves. The Reagans are an Irish Catholic family in New York. The whole family is cops, except for Erin, the only daughter, who is a DA. There’s so much I love about the show. The family is dominated by men, but they are good, loving men who put family first. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Tom Selleck and Donny Wahlberg star in the show.

One thing that stands out for me is that this family eats Sunday dinner together every week. Even if there’s a big case, everyone at least makes an appearance at the dinner table. It’s also about a whole lot more than just eating. When you have the whole family together, the conversation can be argumentative, hurtful, funny, or heartfelt.

Here’s a clip from a dinner scene:


An even better dinner scene is from the last episode (season 2, episode 9, “Moonlighting”). I couldn’t find a clip, but you can watch it for free on-line. The dinner scene there is wonderful because Jamie is beaten to a pulp earlier in the episode and everyone is talking about it. Then they make jokes about how he hid evidence (he swallowed it), which evolved into family stories of all of the things Jamie swallowed over the years. You learn so much about the characters from the way they interact at the family dinner.

Part of me also loves this show because I’m writing about an Irish Catholic family (set in Chicago, not cops) in my books. Although they don’t do family dinner weekly, they do commit to everyone getting together at least once a month. Often, it’s more than that. Like the Reagans, my O’Learys use the dinner table to air grievances and celebrate victories.

In real life, I’m bad at the whole family dinner thing. We do eat together, but the TV is usually on. We tend to spend our quality time in other ways. The kids like to watch TV while they eat because it gives them some downtime in between all of their activities (and there are lots). We get the same laughter and banter as the Reagans, but ours tends to happen in the car instead of at the dinner table.

How about you? Do you do big family meals on a regular basis?



6 responses to “Family Dinner – Blue Bloods Style”

  1. The family dinner thing is a common theme in many of the shows I’ve watched over the years. I often wonder if it’s a tradition that resonates with writers or viewers or if it’s simply a contrivance permit regular character interaction. Maybe it doesn’t matter why the “everyone gather ’round” scene is a favorite, but I do wonder whether the regular family dinner exists in modern life. And whether we want it to….

    • I know what you mean. I know all the “experts” talk about how important it is, but I wonder how many people follow through. And of those, how many families continue to do it without killing each other. 🙂

  2. Emma Burcart says:

    I love Blue Bloods too, but I do wish the siblings would have some romance in their lives. In my family we have Sunday dinner together every week. It is the one time my little brother is forced to eat at the table & I like having the set time with my parents every week. It’s a good tradition.

    • They do need to add some romance. I liked the relationship between Frank and the reporter the first season, but they dropped that plot thread and never followed up with something new. Erin does have the art thief in her life. But we know that will be temporary because that actor plays Marshall on “In Plain Sight” and I don’t think that show’s been canceled yet.

      I’m impressed that as adults you guys still get together every week for family dinner. It’s nice to know that it can work.

  3. timlobrien says:

    Blue Bloods is one of my favorite shows. Not because I’m Irish or Catholic, but the characters are well defined and no matter what they still make time for the family dinner. I grew up with the family dinner tradition and we still carry it on today. It really is something to look forward to before you start another monday!

  4. […] do it right., 2. It’s about the Gallaghers, a large Irish family (you remember my post on Blue Bloods?), and 3. The family is so real, yet unique and damaged that you want to see what will […]