Wahlburgers

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Wahlburgers TV Poster Image
Restaurant reality has rowdy behavior but lots of heart.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The challenges that come with building a restaurant franchise are highlighted. The importance of family is a major theme. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

They don't always agree, but the three brothers are very close to, and supportive of, each other. They love and respect their mother. 

Violence

Some of the Wahlbergs' childhood transgressions, including stealing, fighting, gambling, being arrested, and spending time in jail, are discussed from time to time. The death of a sister is also talked about. 

Sex

Occasional references to "boobs." 

Language

Words like "hell" and "pissed" audible; curses like "Goddamn," "s--t," and "f--k" are bleeped.

Consumerism

The series is a promotional vehicle for Wahlburgers, and at times, Paul Wahlberg's restaurant, Alma Nove, which is also prominently featured. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking (wine, cocktails, beer) is visible over meals and during social events. Cigarette smoking is occasionally visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wahlburgers is a reality series that includes lots of positive messages about family and being responsible business people. It contains some mild sexual references (like brief conversation about "boobs"), some salty vocab ("hell," "pissed"), and drinking. It also highlights some violent events from the Wahlberg brothers' tough childhood. The show is a promotional vehicle for the Wahlburgers restaurant. 

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What's the story?

WAHLBURGERS is a reality series starring members of the Wahlberg family as they work on building a hamburger franchise. It stars Paul Wahlberg, a successful chef and restauranteur who, with the help of his famous younger brothers, Donnie and Mark, opened Wahlburgers, a hamburger joint in Hingham, Massachusetts. Now looking to open a second Wahlburgers, the men must decide on what direction to take their family business next. But no decision is made without the approval of the family matriarch, their colorful mother Alma. Making business decisions that they can all agree on isn't always easy, but they never lose sight of the fact that their business is all about family.

Is it any good?

From deciding on a location for the second Wahlburger restaurant, to arguing over which son is Alma Wahlberg's favorite, Wahlburgers offers a voyeuristic-but-fun look at the family dynamics between the younger members of the Wahlberg clan. It also highlights the challenges that come with owning a restaurant and building a franchise, few of which are eliminated by Donnie or Mark's fame.

Some of the scenes feel contrived, but they're still entertaining thanks to the appearances of family friends like Henry "Nacho" Laun and Johnny "Drama" Alves, who inspired some of the characters in the HBO-series Entourage. But it's the anecdotes shared about the Wahlberg family, and the way the brothers interact with each other and their mother as adults, that give this show it's heart. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons this reality show was created. Was it to highlight Paul Wahlberg's success as a chef? An attempt to promote the restaurant? A chance for Donnie and Mark Wahlberg to promote themselves? Would this TV series ever have come about if Paul's brothers were not celebrities? 

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