We’ve talked a little about NBC’s The Playboy Club, and the time has come to take a look inside the club. Based on the real clubs from the Playboy franchise, we get to see a gritty period piece set in Chicago during the early 60’s after the sexual revolution has ignited. The club’s were a place for the VIP’s of the era to stake their claim as valued members of society. The Playboy Club takes us in a little deeper to the seedy world of big business, sexy bunnies, and Amanda Heard. While it’s an obvious attempt at replicating the success of AMC’s Mad Men, it just might offer us something different.
NBC’s The Playboy Club will be airing this fall…at least on most channels. As I mentioned in a previous article, this show will be racy. Of course this is expected because of what the Playboy symbol represents. Most stations were okay with this, but KSL-TV in Salt Lake City Utah is not on board. The president and CEO Mark Willes said that what the Playboy brand stands for is inconsistent with what the station stands for. I looked at this station’s regularly scheduled programming guide, and they are right. They play nothing racier than Days of our Lives and Law and Order: SVU. In The Playboy Club, or at least what I have seen from the trailers, there is a lot of adult content, and all of the women are dressed like bunnies in cute little leotards and fishnets.
But what is worse? a woman in a leotard, or a couple cheating and half naked on a soap opera? I understand that it is going to be a sexy show, but the nudity clause the cast had to sign was specifically for in-DVD extra content. No one will be getting naked on NBC. It is ridiculous. For example, Glee shows two girls making out who are IN HIGH SCHOOL, couples cheating on one another, a pregnancy, and drunken Britney stripping. I am sure that if Glee was put on by NBC, this channel would have no problem airing it. Yet, because this show has the playboy symbol, suddenly it can’t just be a sexy drama… it must be too provocative. NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said that they are the only place reacting this way, and it is their prerogative to do so.
Playboy is all about sexuality and beautiful women…but this show does not seem to be any worse than what appears in soap operas or teen dramas. I guess we will have to wait until it premiers this fall to say for sure, but I am of the opinion that KSL-TV has no reason to pull this show from their lineup. The Playboy Club has been adopted by Salt Lake City’s My Network affiliate, KMYU.
Beginning this fall, NBC will be airing The Playboy Club every Monday night, and I will be watching this show. The show’s aesthetic is obviously inspired by the success of AMC’s Mad Men, which is set in the same era, and focuses on ‘men being men’ and has a cast full of beautiful women. Weather or not the Hugh Hefner’s legacy can inspire the same kind of quality and accolades as the AMC mega hit is yet to be seen. But it’s got a Network budget and an eye-catching subject matter, so if NBC really gets behind it, The Playboy Club could help turn around the struggling Network…
Set in 1963, at the original Playboy Nightclub in Chicago – hence the title. It’s a drama that will focus on the girls in the employ of Mr. Hefner, and will star former ‘Grizzly Girl of the Week’ – Amber Heard (Pineapple Express, Zombieland). This miraculously beautiful blonde is the newly hired ‘Bunny Maureen’ in the show, and she quickly creates some major trouble for herself.
Maureen is a somewhat naive and innocent girl, especially in comparison to some of the other bunnies, but she’ll be forced to grow up pretty quick when she accidentally kills a man with direct ties to a mob family. That’s when Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian – Invasion, CSI: Miami) stumbles across the bunny with bloody nylons, and decides to help her dispose of the body. Dalton seems to be the man to have on your side, as he acts swift and decisively, and instructs the new Bunny on what to do. Nick is a king at the club. Envied by men, adored by women, but it’s obvious that he’s really alone.
The show also stars some other – ahem…talented ladies. Some of the beauties include ‘Bunny Brenda’ (Naturi Naughton – ‘Fame’, former member of ear-rapists 3LW), who is an African-American beauty aspiring to be the first “chocolate centerfold”. Laura Benanti (2008 Broadway production of ‘Gypsy’) plays Bunny ‘Carol-Lynne’, the first Playboy Bunny. She is the mother hen of the group, and gives advice and instructions to the girls. Leah Renee Cudmore (‘True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet’), is ‘Bunny Alice’, a LESBIAN who is in a sham marriage with a gay man. So they cast a straight girl to play the lesbian, and then a leasbian (Heard) to play a straight girl. Acting! Finally we have Jenna Dewan (Star of the classic Horror Schlock – ‘Tamara’), as ‘Bunny Janie’. Janie in a strained relationship with Max (Wes Ramsey – CSI: Miami) who is incredibly overbearing when it comes to Janie’s position as a 1960s living, breathing fantasy. So there’s some built-in drama.
The DVD release of the show has been approved to bare it all, if that is where their creative (or otherwise) juices take them. All of the stars have it in their contract to be shot in their birthday suits. I foresee a long line at Best Buy…
There is already plenty of controversy over this, especially from the idiots at the ‘Parents Television Council’, but none of that matters though. The show will get off to a strong start, and I predict that it will do quite well. Afterall, Playboy is an institution in this country…