The Playboy Club Review: Bunnies at Work

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After weeks of hype, the series premiere of The Playboy Club aired on NBC tonight.

Tonally, Hugh Hefner's narration was slightly off-putting... even though I loved the The Girls Next Door and got a kick every time the Bunnies headed for the mansion. But Hef is so darn old and this show was meant to feel fresh and young. Or so I thought.

The Playboy Club Premeire Pic

We learned straight away that Nick Dalton was an important member of The Playboy Club. He not only had bragging rights to the first Bunny, but planted his eyes on the new cigarette girl, Maureen. Is it me, or does cigarette Bunny seem like one of the worst jobs in the establishment?

A pity that Nick, running for State's Attorney, was impatient and needed his smokes so badly. This lead him to the scuffle between Maureen and some bald dude who turned out to be mob leader Bruno Bianchi. Together, they took Nick down, setting the stage for our story to unfold.

Looking at the set decor in Nick's apartment made me want to shoot down to Ikea as fast as I could. Outside paying megabucks for antiques, it's the closest I'd ever get to living that life. Generally, the set felt a little too modern and too polished for my expectations.

The show needs to be a bit more fastidious in its portrayal of the time period. I wasn't swept into the 60s as I should have been, and that could prove problematic to the overall acceptance of the show. Face it, the early 60s were somewhat gaudy, and to leave that behind is to lose some of the glamour that The Playboy Club provided to the average man.

It was an interesting contradiction to see what men considered sexy then compared to what they do now. The underwear the ladies wore in the dressing room was large, covered everything, and was adorned with garnishments such as garters. In comparison, today's panties are barely more than an eye patch and a piece of floss. Wow, how times have changed!

When Carol-Lynne quit her duties as lead Bunny to take over as a house mother of sorts, she immediately made the uniforms a bit more skimpy. It must be easier to see other women wearing less than it is to do it yourself, huh?

I'm not sure where the show will go from here. Will it head in the direction of more political intrigue or more Bunny life? I'm hoping for the latter, but fear I may be disappointed.

We've seen mob pieces done to death, but a real in-depth look into the girls who started the Playboy empire, who and why there were there, piques my interest far more than Nick Dalton's race for State's Attorney.

I'm sure to catch some flack for this, but the gay agenda meeting was out of place in the first episode. We need time get to know the Club and characters before we start revealing all their secrets. It felt like it was there to pointedly not leave homosexuals out of the Playboy phenomena. Unfortunately, at the time, there were some cultural developments that simply left some folks out.

Once the show has found its footing, it can take on the world. But let's explore the Bunnies more first; I don't want another Swingtown on my hands. The series must prove that it has more to offer than sex and then it can dig into the politics of the generation. All in good time.

Some casting thoughts:

  • David Krumholtz as the Manager of the Club gets to play smarmy, something he does well, but was free from for years in his role on Numbers.
  • Laura Benanti, who plays Carol-Lynne, is completely distracting due to her striking resemblance to Lisa Edelestein.
  • Shockingly, I wasn't thinking of Leann Rimes the entire time Eddie Cibrian was on screen. He hasn't succumbed to total tabloid fodder!
  • I'm excited to see Wes Ramsey land a regular role on prime time. He's been a soap staple and deserves a big break. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him.
What did you think of The Playboy Club? Did it hold your attention? Sound off now!

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (148 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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thought i was good. I was starting to get interesting it seemed a little different than most shows but i will never know because it was cancelled....

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I actually really enjoyed the first 2 episodes! I don't care that it didn't get the 60's era perfectly because the 1st episode just captivated me. I like the fact that the show shows everyone's personality, secrets, and life. The people who created the show wanted viewers to see that these bunnies were not just bunnies, they had an outlook on life! One wants to be famous, one wants to be a home owner even though she is an african american woman, one bunny is gay and is involved in a secret gay group. Hef narrates and states that all the bunnies were changing the world(something like that). I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this show and I hope that it will last. I love the music (the chicago song) and the costume (bunny outfits and makeup is magical). I love the hush hush rivalry between the bunny mom and the main blonde bunny. They make stabs at each other and it gets me so into the show. Plus, all of the bunnies are beautiful. Just stunning! I'm sure that many people wouldn't mind that. This is a show to watch at night with a cup of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket, so lighten up and enjoy it. There is no reason to get anal about every little detail in the show, just watch! I am just so in love with this show. It is one of my favorite new shows. Some shows I loved: Hart of Dixie and Pan Am. So so show: 2 broke girls.

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2 out of 5 in my books. This is just a cheap imitation of AMC's Mad Men, with horrible acting even worse writing. Here is a few example of the bad writing: 1. Maureen kills the mob boss on the first night with a kick to the jugular and there is no blood anywhere aside from Maureen's bunny costume? Bull shit! 2. Of course Maureen would drop the key during the sexiest body dump on television, how else would the show continue? 3. Of course the two construction worker with horrific acting would find the key and pretend to be the key holder... sigh! In terms of bad acting, not to mention those two fools mentioned above, here is a few other examples of bad acting: 1. Nick Dalton's pretentiously charming smirk. Have you ever seen Don Draper smirk like that, ever? 2. Carol-Lynn's over the top mama-bunny presence... are you a bunny or are you a mama, make up your mind woman! 3. Maureen's Soliloquy of why she wants to be a bunny, god that was cheesier than the whole Wisconsin. So all in all, the show is cheesy and predictable, the acting is immature for pretty much all member involved, the cinematography is okay with similarly cheesy shots. For me Carol-Lynn's opening number is by far the best part of the show, and it's all down hill from there. This show might get a 2nd season... but I don't see it getting a 3rd season, ever.

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I enjoyed the show but then again I love Mad Men. Too bad for Mad Men that I have a new favorite show! Hope it makes it!!!

Leigh-r

Lisa Edelstein THANK YOU, that was bothering me so much. I knew Carol-Lynne looked familiar. And ditto on the Eddie Cibrian thing, I actually liked him.

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I enjoyed it. I didn't get caught up in the fact that they might not have the true essence of the 60's down pat. Or that it might not be factual to how the playboy club was run in the first place. I just liked it for what it was. Bunnies having secrets, and will Maureen keep from being caught. Will she enter the mafia world, insinuating herself in with the people there, so that she can eliminate being blamed. I am interested in seeing more.

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I couldn't make it past 20 minutes, too bored. The show seemed fake and the plot contrived. It's called Playboy Club and it's all about "the mob" from the get-go, really?

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I liked the show, but I don't know about investing time in it. Last night's ratings were very low (about 5 million viewers and around 1.6). I hate to watch it for a season and then it is cancelled with nothing resolved. I might watch again next Monday and look at the ratings the next day and then decide to continue watching or quit it.

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As the saying goes: Leave some to the imagination! I don't mean with costumes, I mean with plot. The storyline is all over the place; they'd do well with leaving some of the themes for later. As it is -- we got civil rights, the Mafia, and the Gay thing all in one episode. Also, from their previews, we already know that the Bunny dating the bartender is married. They'd do well to slow down a bit and copy Mad Men a bit more: don't reveal everything at once.

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Loved it brought back memories..........when my then boyfriend was a member I got a membership under his, I got a pink key card and a gold playboy bracelet. I lost the card years ago, but still have the bracelet. Had many great times in Chicago and Lake Geneva partying and dancing the nite away.

The Playboy Club Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

I picked out the wallpaper for that bathroom, Billy, long before you were here to tell me where to tinkle.

Carol-Lynne

It was a place where anything could happen to anybody. Or, any Bunny.

Hugh
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