Entourage is the bildungsroman that chronicles the Dickensian bloom of one Marky Marcus Wahlberg, a knickers model of great expectations and adequate means, as he makes his way through the tumultuous world of Hollywood. Mos recently, Wahlburgers has given us a living document of the matured Wahlberg’s late-career rebirth as entrepreneur and seasoned hamburgermonger. And in between, Wahlberg’s lifelong battle with trees was captured by The Happening. But what of Wahlberg’s early, formative experiences? Where have these lost years been immortalized, save for in police reports? Soon, ABC may fill in this crucial, missing piece of Wahlbergian history in the form of a sitcom.
Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison, the Make-A-Wish of production companies, has signed a new overall deal with Sony Pictures TV that includes the autobiographical What Up Wahlbergs, a question whose answer remains, “Nothin’. Just makin’ stuff about ourselves.” Like at least 30-percent of modern television, the show is based on the life of the Wahlbergs—specifically their time growing up together as kids, with producer Donnie Wahlberg lending expertise culled from years of Wahlberging, and How To Make It In America writer Ian Edelman bringing a hard-won understanding of the importance of being associated with a Wahlberg for your dude series to succeed.
The project is currently set up at ABC, presumably as a companion series to The Goldbergs, another autobiographical show about a clan of -bergs who hail from a distant era. The network is always looking for shows about families whose everyday foibles we can relate to, whether their kids are giving them grief about borrowing the car, or becoming addicted to cocaine and committing vicious hate crimes.
Of course, that last bit seems unlikely to factor into What Up Wahlbergs (even as a sweeps-ready “Very Special Episode”), given how hard Mark Wahlberg has written one letter to have his youthful indiscretions/felonies pardoned. In a matter of purely coincidental timing, that request was answered just yesterday with an op-ed from Judith Beals, a prosecutor who served the young Wahlberg with his original civil rights injunction after his racially motivated attack on a 12-year-old black boy, then put him in prison when Wahlberg violated it with his equally bigoted, even more violent assault on a Vietnamese man.
In her article, Beals argues that Wahlberg’s pardon should not be granted for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that he has not met the requirement for demonstrating the “extraordinary contributions to society” and “extensive services to others performed” that might justify having them wiped from his record. Furthermore, she concludes, “History tells us, again and again, that when it comes to hate crimes, forgetting is not the right path.” It is Beals’ opinion that, while we can offer forgiveness and reconciliation in our attempts to move forward, no one should be able to just rewrite the historical record, just because they have the celebrity and influence to do so.
Fortunately for Mark Wahlberg, the TV record isn’t such a stickler about it.