One of the most popular shows on TV always ends with a family dinner after church. And it is not even on the Hallmark Channel.
It’s a cop show. Tom Selleck, the star of the show, “Blue Bloods,” who plays New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, explained this week how the dinner scene came about in the New York Times obituary of the series creator, Leonard Goldberg:
In developing a series about a strong-willed family that also includes two police officers and a prosecutor, Mr. Goldberg added an unusual touch: Every episode featured a post-church Sunday dinner, with the Reagans talking (and arguing) around the table.
“We had to have something singular, something that would crystallize all of my thoughts about what a family should be,” Mr. Goldberg told Shalom TV (now the Jewish Broadcasting Service) in 2014. “I came across the Norman Rockwell painting that celebrated Thanksgiving with a family, and I thought about my own upbringing, with our own Shabbat dinners.”
Mr. Selleck, in a phone interview, said that the weekly scene was inviolate to Mr. Goldberg, and that Mr. Goldberg had fought the network to retain it. (He sat on the CBS board for many years.)
The dinner scene is an oasis of family values in TV Land.
I admit I am a fan of “Blue Bloods.” But last week’s installment bugged me: ideology, always inimical to art (okay, so a cop series isn’t actually high art) reared its ugly, cliché-filled head.
It was the Angry Woman installment of “Blue Bloods.” Sergeant Jamie Reagan’s wife (also a cop) becomes angry and brooding when her husband calls her list of things for him to do a "Honey Do" list. Sexist!
More bizarrely, when Detective Baez and her partner Detective Danny Reagan are called to investigate a murder, Baez can fixate only on one thing: the murder happened in a men-only club. Sexist!
The dead woman is sprawled on the floor, but Baez hardly notices the individual woman. Baez is almost unhinged on the subject of male-only clubs.
The dead woman seems incidental to the real crime, the existence of a club of which Baez disapproves. In this installment, the huffy, pouting detective cares more about the perceived slight to women in general than a murder of a particular person.
At the risk of being called a sexist, I ask, which is worse—a men’s club, or murder?
It is a testament to the pervasiveness of ideology that the writers on this very popular cop series didn’t see how silly this was before finishing the script.