Blue Bloods Great TV
by Mike D’Virgilio
Issue 207 – July 11, 2012
If Blue Bloods isn’t the best show on TV, it is certainly in the running. The recently completed second season ended with one of the better hours of television I’ve seen in a while. The reason isn’t so much the great story line, and lines, or the wonderful acting by the gravitas machine, Tom Selleck and supporting cast, including the hard bitten Donnie Walbergh. It’s rather all of this together with a show that respects the traditional values of family and faith and the wisdom that comes from a life well lived; wisdom clearly comes from those in the family who are older and the younger learn from them, not the other way around so often seen in popular entertainment. Not to mention the positive portrayal of a police force that protects a city of eight millions souls.
Every episode has at least one scene of the extended Reagan family around the Sunday dinner table, a weekly event. It was learning about this weekly family dinner that drew me to the show in the first place. American pop cultural references to the family have not always been so positive in the last several decades, so it is refreshing to see not only an affirmative portrayal of a television family, but a family that takes seriously its Irish Catholic faith. The recent season 2 finale was no different. At every dinner they say grace, but what makes the finale different was that each member of the family prayed, in this instance it happened to be a Mother’s Day prayer, because Frank (Selleck) lost his wife some years previously. You just don’t see this kind of thing on TV.
There’s an ongoing debate at the website Acculturated, “Symposium: Are Conservatives Bad at Pop Culture?” It’s a loaded question, of course, but not an unmerited one, and one that wouldn’t have even been asked a handful of years ago (I’ll use “conservative” because it’s annoying to have to always refer to every iteration of those who inhabit the right side of the political/cultural spectrum, but I’m including all of them.). Over the last several years conservatives have finally woken up to the critical issue of the power of culture, popular or not, on the direction of our country. While I’m a great advocate of conservatives making a profession in what I call the cultural influence professions (media, education, entertainment), the ideology of the artist or writer is often irrelevant to the message being portrayed, because human nature is what it is.
As a Christian, I know that mankind is fallen, but there is a long flow of Christian thought from the book of Genesis to today about man made in the image of God as well; we can see both sides of that human dilemma in the long tale of human history, one side greatness and the divine, the other baseness and evil. I don’t have any idea what the motivations are behind the writers of “Blue Bloods,” but whether they understand it or not, they know that human decency and goodness and family and faith are attractive.
People don’t mind watching stories of these virtues being challenged, but life is about the consequences of the choices we make, and we all like to see, whether we’re religious or not, goodness triumph. At least most normal people do. And when this happens in popular culture it is incumbent upon those who embrace a Judeo-Christian and Classical view of reality to point it out, and to encourage more of it. It’s too easy to complain, and many traditionalist conservative types especially love to play Chicken Little. Although Nietzsche is the patron saint of some of our cultural elite, his worldview is a really tough sell, especially to Americans. So I have great hope for the future of America, because so much that I do see in popular culture does affirm the best in human nature. Blue Bloods is a great example.
Mike D’Virgilio blogs at The American Culture, http://stkarnick/culture, where this first appeared.