Blue Bloods season 9: Vanessa Ray on filming Reagan family dinner scenes
There are a handful of things that are different about Blue Bloods season 9, but at present it’s clear that family dinners are at the top of the list. This is the hub of the show’s weekly story; it serves as a meeting ground for stories to intersect and for exposition to be handed down. More often than not, this is the only time that the entire cast for the show gets together every single week in their busy lives to remember what matters most at the end of the day: Family. It’s an interesting, but important narrative for this show and the challenge for the writers is finding a way to create organic conversation and conflict every week, while having each dinner scene feel somewhat different than the ones that came before.
With that in mind, the writers have to constantly find new and creative ways to stage arguments. Some are petty (i.e. the nonsense people tend to fight about with their family members about like how Final Fantasy 7 is the greatest game ever created while my wife defends World of Warcraft for that title), whereas some others are a little bit more serious and long-lasting.
Having Vanessa Ray’s character of Eddie at the table is the biggest thing that makes this season different. She’s an infusion of new energy, and for at least the first few weeks of the season, an infusion of debate which has helped to shake things up in a good way for us as viewers. First, the Reagans tried to prank her; then, she later decided to prank them back. It’s such a tight-knit family that there is a specific ebb and flow to the conversations. She has to be that rare force that can turn the tide, and that’s not easy when you are swimming in an ocean of familiarity and you are new to the game.
As it turns out, for Ray herself there was an adjustment period very much akin to what her character goes through on the show. She spoke on this subject recently to Long Island News, praising the comfort of the room, but also the established rapport and relationships that are there:
“Coming into this very established family, they have a laundry list of inside jokes and they really wanted to catch me up on all of them … It’s a very playful room. I was obviously intimidated and nervous the first couple of times going to family dinner, but I immediately felt welcomed. There really is such a family aspect to it. I’m really fortunate to get to sit with Bridget [Moynahan], who is like the big sister I’ve always wanted.”
In a lot of ways, this family-dinner room is also an entry point to chemistry-building and relationships that could be important down the line. Take, for example, Danny needs to bring in a street cop for an investigation — who better to call than his future sister-in-law? Or, maybe there’s a way for Eddie and Henry to work together that’s a little off the beaten path. Without family dinner bringing these characters together, there’s a little bit less of a way to see how these people would interact. It’s both a source of getting-to-know-you moments, but for viewers like us that have a very important focus on our family it’s just a very relatable TV comfort moment that makes us smile about our own family dinners.
What do you think Eddie brings to family dinner, and how do you want Blue Bloods to expand outward from some of these stories? Share right now in the comments.