Growing up in the 60’s, I was old enough to understand the allure of Playboy and the reason many men justified their subscription with the “I like it for the articles” excuse (in their defense, I have been told that Playboy did have terrific writers). I was intrigued by NBC’s new show ‘The Playboy club’, as I remember the appeal of this club, the level of its exclusivity, and the much-hailed Playboy Bunny cocktail waitress.
Would teens today understand the meaning behind this new show’s name? I wonder if they think it’s an exciting new reality show, featuring past Playboy bunnies as they battle through challenges in skimpy lingerie to win a shot at a spread in the mag. With the most dramatic lingerie eliminations ever!!! Man…I feel old.
‘The Playboy club’ is all about the bunnies and patrons of the original 1960’s Playboy club in Chicago. The ensemble cast revolves mostly around Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian) as a lawyer who was once involved with the mob but now has his sights set on running for States attorney. Something caught my ear straight away when Cibrian was speaking, so I closed my eyes and heard Don Draper (Jon Hamm from ‘Mad Men’), and opened my eyes only to be annoyed by the fact that I have to wait till 2012 for the real deal. Nick Dalton is the bargain basement Don Draper knock-off.
Cibrian is unconvincing as a past mob participant who could dispose of a murdered body and rock your world in the same evening. He has about 2 expressions on screen – 2 of which involve dimples that you could carry your spare change in, and one which features a raised eyebrow. Those dimples give him an aw shucks air rather than a ‘you better watch your back’ persona. And the character of Nick Dalton comes across as flat and one-note.
He has zero chemistry with his on-screen bunny paramours and I can’t help but think of the drama that has played out in Cibrians private life. I envision LeAnn Rimes hiding on set with a knife stuffed in her new cleavage ready to strike if he kisses one of his cast members like he really really means it. How can you have a show with Playboy bunnies without chemistry? What a waste of great dimples…
Amber Heard plays the up and coming bunny Maureen and Tony winner Laura Benanti plays head bunny Carol-Lynne. Both bunnies brighten up the screen with their looks, acting chops, and charm. The additional bunnies are equally entertaining to watch as we see their individual story lines slowly unfold.
Maybe my expectations were too high for this show. Hugh Hefner speaks at the beginning of the show, claiming “Bunnies were some of the only women in the world who could be anyone they wanted to be”. How can running around waiting on men in an outfit 2 sizes 2 small with a round pom pom like contraption on your butt indication that you can do whatever you want? I should have taken my cue from that line and lowered my expectations to expect second rate soap opera.
This show needs to see itself for what it really is – and should be – which is a whole lot of ‘fluff’
‘The Playboy Club’ airs on NBC Monday 10pm.