123 The Playboy Club

The Playboy Club

This provocative new series captures a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary created an empire, and an icon changed American culture.
The Playboy Club

TIMESLOT

Mondays @ 10pm on NBC.

SYNOPSIS

From Academy Award-winning executive producer Brian Grazer, "The Playboy Club" is a provocative new drama about a time and place that challenged the social mores, where a visionary entrepreneur created an empire and an icon changed American culture. It's the early ‘60s, and the legendary Playboy Club in Chicago is the door to all of your fantasies -- and the key is the most sought-after status symbol of its kind. Inside the seductive world of the bunny, the epitome of beauty and service, the clientele rubs shoulders with the decade's biggest mobsters, politicos and entertainers. Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, "CSI: Miami") is one of the city's top attorneys and the ultimate playboy, rubbing elbows with everyone in the city's power structure. With mysterious ties to the mob, Nick comes to the aid of Maureen (Amber Heard, "Zombieland"), the stunning and innocent new bunny who accidentally kills the leader of the Bianchi crime family. Dating Nick is Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti, "Take the Lead"), a bombshell and established star at the club who knows her days as a bunny are numbered and finds herself continually at odds with Billy (David Krumholtz, "Numb3rs"), the club's general manager. Adding to the charm of the Playboy club is Janie (Jenna Dewan Tatum, "American Virgin"), the carefree life of the party who is dating Max (Wes Ramsey, "CSI: Miami"), an overly protective bartender. Also starring are Naturi Naughton ("Fame") and Leah Renee ("True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet").

In addition to Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind," "American Gangster"), the executive producers on "The Playboy Club" include Chad Hodge ("Tru Calling"), Francie Calfo ("Scoundrels"), Jason Burns ("The House Bunny") and Dick Rosenzweig ("Kendra"). Hodge also wrote the pilot, which was directed by Alan Taylor ("Mad Men," "The Sopranos"). The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.

Official website

REVIEWS

Please note that these reviews may contain spoilers.
Gordon McDougall's Take
I really didn’t expect to be saying this about The Playboy Club, but I think I’ve found my first bomb of the season! The problem with the show is that I think it has sold a certain expectation that the show will do for nightclubs of the 60s what Mad Men did for the reputation of advertising in that era. The thing is, where Mad Men immediately found a delightful balance between the fun and frolic of being a businessman in the 60s and the unfairness in the way they treated their women (both wives and secretaries), The Playboy Club is way too unbalanced. It’s too dark too soon.

The series starts with a mob boss being killed accidentally (and while the way he died could be absurdly hilarious, it doesn’t come across that way…at least to me). The bunnies are all using their looks to their advantage, but all take themselves too serious. The men are either ogling idiots (the extras in the club) or too cool to let it show outwardly how gorgeous these women are. If this is the way The Playboy Clubs actually were, I don’t know how anyone relaxed there.

Another problem I have with the show is that the bunnies are 2011-sexy, not 1960s-sexy. They’re all as thin as today’s hottest starlets, but that’s not the way women looked back then. (I saw my first Playboys when I was seven years old, and my friend who lived a block away from school took a few of us over to his place to look at his dad’s stack of the magazine. That was 1968-69, and I still have those images seered into my brain. I can say with some authority those women would be called “Rubenesque” by today’s standards. The women on this series are certainly beautiful, but—I’m a stickler—they’re not historically accurate.

Eddie Cibrian fulfills the “Don Draper” (Mad Men) position in the series, but he’s no Jon Hamm. And with no Christina Hendricks/Joan Harris among the bunnies, this show has made the mistake of trying to rip off Mad Men without accomplishing anything that that show has.

I think curiosity will draw viewers for the first week, but the dropoff in viewership will be significant, and therefore, I think it will be…and again, I can’t believe I’m writing this about The Playboy Club…Cancelled early on!
Rating: Watch it while you can! (Canceled early on)
About Gordon McDougall
TVGord is a radio host at 580 CFRA in Ottawa. He does a weekly segment about TV every friday which you can hear in MP3 in the '580 CFRA Interviews' section of their website, www.cfra.com