TV Review: ‘Wahlburgers’

Wahlburgers TV Review AE

A&E wants to cash in on the famous Wahlberg brothers' entourage, but where's the beef?

The show is called “Wahlburgers,” most likely because “Starf**king” didn’t clear legal. Although famous brothers Donnie and Mark Wahlberg lend their marquee value to the festivities, the primary focus of this A&E unscripted (sort of) series is on a family-run burger joint, Wahlburgers, overseen by their older sibling, Paul, and mother Alma. Debate over expanding from a single restaurant to other locations dominates the post-“Duck Dynasty” premiere, but the program largely seems to exist as a sort of full-employment act for the Wahlbergs’ extended entourage. It’s generally playful, but unlike the burgers, consists of completely empty calories.

While actors Donnie and Mark have an interest in the burger business – and stress that people will be gunning for it because of their fame – the task of running things falls to the more cautious Paul, who refuses to serve any artery-clogging food before it is time. Currently operating just outside of Boston, he’s resistant to his brothers’ impulse to begin rapidly adding franchises, while Alma winds up playing referee.

Along the way, the show introduces Johnny “Drama” Alves (pictured above with Mark), the real-life inspiration for the Mark Wahlberg-produced “Entourage’s” Johnny Drama; and sidekick Henry “Nacho” Laun, another Wahlberg boyhood pal, who earns his keep thanks to his willingness to eat anything on a bet.

At the same time, all the Wahlbergs go out of their way to keep reminding everyone of their up-from-nothing background, with Alma having birthed nine kids, some of whom lack their own page on

During the premiere, the siblings engage in a Smothers Brothers-like shtick over who’s mom’s favorite, while Drama and Nacho are horrified when Paul and a new hire won’t let them eat and drink for free. The second episode, meanwhile, introduces Donnie’s girlfriend Jenny McCarthy, just because.

A&E is certainly to be forgiven for assuming viewers will be interested in seeing the Wahlbergs’ family roots and the celebrity brothers in unguarded (OK, more like semi-guarded) moments, but where’s the beef? For the most part, this qualifies as simply another attempt to cash in on the “Entourage” mystique as inexpensively as possible.

So while the show ostensibly deals with serving red meat, “Wahlburgers” represents little more in showbiz terms than using every part of the chicken.

TV Review: 'Wahlburgers'

(Series; A&E, Wed. Jan. 22, 10:30 p.m.)


Produced by 44 Blue Prods. in association with Closest to the Hole Prods., Leverage Entertainment and Donnie D Prods.


Executive producers, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Donnie Wahlberg, Rasha Drachkovitch, Jym Buss. 60 MIN.


Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg, Paul Wahlberg, Alma Wahlberg, Johnny "Drama" Alves, Henry “Nacho” Laun

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 26

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Keanamalia says:

    The show about Paul and Alma is adorable. Mark is an arrogant, sadistic bully. When he is on camera,
    all good feeling goes away. He is mean. He loves to bully his “slave; Nacho. Mark’s wife keeps trying
    to keep him from killing someone, but he is a problem. When Mark is on, I quit watching. He is mean.

  2. Alex says:

    This is the second to the most disgusting show in the TV shows history ever. For sure the first most disgusting one is the filthy crapy show of the idiot donne and his bitch (excuse my language but there is no other word to discribe her). Just because mark is in the show does not mean it is good. What a family of idiots.

  3. J.W. says:

    Raw Weiners! Need I say more?

  4. J.W. says:

    Why does anyone care about these idiots? I am sure the “chef” has experimented with hot dogs with his brothers or solo. Like Jesus is this TV now? Let’s see how ‘real’ they supposed to be lol! Full of shit I predict. Let’s meet? A true mother has a sauce like my mother’s! Italian!!

  5. Deena says:

    I always liked Donnie, and Mark…now Mark looks different to me. Calling Paul giving continuous orders like he’s an underling…Paul seems to make the restaurant work, but can’t either of them see how exhausted he looks? In the latest episode Mark said something to the effect that Paul’s getting stressed is going to kill him….well from what I’ve seen so far Mark causes most the stress, calling and telling him to get on a plane when Paul is right in the middle of getting ready for Donnie’s event, and then they wonder why he’s stressed…sheesh. Give the guy some credit and quit pushing him so hard or you’re right Mark he’ll be gone…

  6. Chaz says:

    I can’t believe all these morons thinking this show is good. Its scripted garbage with unnecessary commentary every 5 seconds. The only people watching are hopeless woman dying for the chance to spend a night with Mark Wahlburg.

  7. Oh wait…one more thing:

    Wk. 1 3,250,000 viewers & a 1.5 rating with 18-49
    Wk. 2 4,027,000 viewers & a 1.7 rating with 18-49

    Hmmmm….can’t be that bad can it? Nice ratings bump from week 1 to week 2. Care to wager that it
    stays in that ballpark for the season? 3rd most watched show 1st week, 4th most watched week 2.

  8. Hmmm…2 of America’s most famous brothers that both went from music to acting. Both have been successful…& now decide to do this show? And some clearly idiotic snob from Variety (who’s popularity & relevance is sinking faster than Perez Hilton’s web hits….writes a hack review of the debut episode.

    What a joke…clearly you didn’t get the premise laid out in the numerous trailers that A & E ran for the show. It’s lighthearted & fun…get a clue, learn to follow the show, then try again in writing a review. You & the clowns at EW (who never watch a whole show & forget to include the main happenings in their reviews) seriously need to stop the crappy reviews in an attempt to gain views, readers, etc. It’s sad…

    • Kevin K says:

      Light hearted and fun? Give me a break. Without Mark Wahlburgh this show would just be another mediocre family drama reality show thrown into the gutter after 1 season.

      • Justin Bryant says:

        Really? You’re funny…whatever the reason people like it…A& E just ordered 18 more episodes today.
        You & above reviewer seem to have zero clue about what is good reality TV

  9. Mechele R. Dillard says:

    Disagree with the reviewer. I will admit, I expected the show to be lame, but I ended up really liking it; there is a lot more there than just name-dropping and hamburgers if one pays attention. Read:

    • Vicki Krmpotic says:

      This show is utterly fabulous…, true and poignant, wow, what more could you want. Mark is not “mean,” by any stretch of the imagination; rather he comes across as sincere and extremely family-oriented….loyal to a fault. These are real people who have conquered despair, and are now living the dream, Good For Them!! Paul is an Eeyore-style breath-of-fresh air while Alma is a downright ebullient survivor. I absolutely love watching this family. …Donnie and Jenny are witty and adorable. ….get a life, naysayers, this family cannot be broken. A and E keep it coming, S’il vous plait.

  10. Stacey says:

    I love Donnie Wahlberg, but I agree with this review. And Jenny Macarthy in Episode 2 may be just enough to raise the skank factor and make me turn the channel.

  11. Marianne Garrett says:

    I just have to say that I love this show and I hope it makes it

    • Georgie says:

      Thank you, I find it funny as well. Having been raised in MA outside of Boston I can relate.
      The family IS true to their roots and although they are all grown up and have music and acting careers they still respect their family and it’s values – Family first.

  12. larry says:

    I never watch shows like this but I will watch this one really liked the first episode

  13. Jeff says:

    I loved the show! Id love to try out their burger place if Im ever in the Boston area. Cant wait til next Wednesday to see what cooks up next!

  14. Eileen Roach says:

    I loved every minute of. Cannot wait till next Wednesday night! Mom is just great. A true Massachusetts woman. Determined and tenacious.

  15. Jimmy Beam says:

    Couldn’t get into it. Don’t think this one is going to last long.

  16. sandy neaved says:

    Just watch the show.I enjoyed hearing the cast telling their story.nothing better then being real and down to earth. I will continue to watch as the brothers push foward in their business venture. Hope it is a the wahlburg men

  17. zulema garcia says:

    Yes my new favorite reality show I just love moma wahlburg :)

  18. Well all I have to say is if you want me to watch the program then grow some man beards not a total girlface show g. singh

More TV News from Variety