“Wahlburgers,” the new A&E reality series about Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s efforts to help their brother Paul with his restaurant business premiering Wednesday night, offers a new, more intimate look at the famous clan.
Here’s a fistful of facts about the new series. Take notes.
1. The Wahlbergs Are a Rags-to-Riches Story, Yo
Sure, these days Mark Wahlberg might be a star of the big screen, and Donnie Wahlberg is holding his own on the CBS drama “Blue Bloods.” But before that, and before even Donnie’s meteoric rise to stardom in New Kids on the Block, there were some humble beginnings. “We had nothing,” family matriarch Alma says early on in the first “Wahlburgers” episode. “I didn’t know if they knew they had nothing, but I didn’t feel that way. I thought we had everything.” School clothes were hand-me-downs, and Easter clothes were bought with loans — at one time, with the assistance of a loan shark, Alma claims.
2. Those Wahlberg Kids? Total Mama’s Boys
Mark Wahlberg might cut an imposing figure on screen, but at the heart of it he and his brothers want nothing so much as to please Alma, and what she says goes.
“None of us do anything without our mama’s backing,” Donnie emphasizes at one point. “She is the matriarch, she is the guiding light, man.” “You gotta listen to mom, gotta listen to what she says,” Paul notes, when his mother pushes an assistant — the daughter of one of her friends — on him.
3. We Meet the Real Johnny Drama
“Entourage” fans know Johnny Drama as the struggling actor and massage-parlour enthusiast portrayed by Kevin Dillon. But on “Wahlburgers,” the audience meets the man that the character is based on, who’s known Mark since his teens. No, he doesn’t remotely resemble Dillon.
4. Donnie Wahlberg Likes Boobs as Much as the Next Guy
Well, he is dating Jenny McCarthy, after all. But when he discovers that Paul has named a burger after him called Donnie Double D, the former boy-bander protests. “I like boobs as much as the next guy, but I don’t want it to be the name of my hamburger,” Wahlberg scoffs.
5. Mark Wahlberg Is Ambitious (Duh)
While Paul agonizes over opening a second location of his restaurant, emphasizing quality over quantity, the “Lone Survivor” scoffs at his brother’s hemming and hawing, saying that he has bigger plans. “The plan was always to build a franchise, and Paul is very precious with every piece of meat that he flips, every piece of cheese that he lays on that burger, he wants it to be special. But I want to build multiple restaurants, and the train has left the station.” As if he really needs a ground-beef empire on top of his acting and producing success.
“Wahlburgers” is produced by 44 Blue Productions in association with Closest to the Hole Productions, Leverage Entertainment, and Donnie D Productions. Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Donnie Wahlberg serve as exec producers, while the executive producers for 44 Blue are Rasha Drachkovitch and Jym Buss, and the executive producers for A&E are Lily Neumeyer and Devon Graham. The series premieres Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.
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