REVIEW: The Playboy Club – NBC (Monday, 10:00 p.m.)

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”). – NBC

35 out of 100

Hey, kids, if you want to get the morality police, the feminist groups, the TV watchdog groups, the gay and lesbian groups and the anti-porn groups all together on the same page all you need is this:

And that’s exactly what happened months before The Playboy Club even aired its first episode with a myriad of campaigns and protests from all of these interests under the guise that NBC was promoting pornography.  First, we need to set the record straight:  If you are an adult with at least a high-school education and you think the Playboy brand amounts to pornography, simply put, you are out of your f*cking mind and need to seek professional psychiatric help immediately. We would know.  We have very high standards when it comes to our pornography and what does and does not qualify for the spank-bank. Playboy does not and never has met those very high standards.  On a serious note, and as an aside, it is simply absurd to us that images of the human form that don’t involve closeups of genitalia are concerned pornography and exploitation… and we’re Catholic!

Second, as usual with the morality police and the various special interests, it was much ado about nothing as of course, because it’s NBC, there is nothing remotely close to pornographic on the show… not even a side-boob shot (dammit!).  For crap’s sake, they had to use the term “penis” when one of the girls commented facetiously about the rumors surrounding the size of the main character’s member.  Who the Hell uses the term penis in regular conversation?  We here at The ‘Tastic prefer “crank” and “pecker” but far more meaningful and important than all of the manufactured outrage from the various crybabies is our outrage over how bad this show is.  Simply put, it reaches new heights in suckitude©.

Dull, boring, clichéd, slow, vanilla and… oh, yes… propagandist, as well.  These are the first words that popped into our heads when we sat down and watched the pilot for The Playboy Club. There literally is nothing exciting about this show and the extended trailer is beyond misleading.  We really thought that this could be a great series based on the hype. It now has no chance of happening and to make it worse, they inundated us with ads for the mess-waiting-to-happen on Thursday night, Whitney, throughout the entire episode when we watched it online.

It’s difficult to discuss this show because we have no idea what the point of it is.  Is it a soap opera?  Is it a thriller about the mob and political corruption?  Is it a commentary on the changing social values during the 1960’s?  It is so all over the place and so incredibly – we’ll say it again – dull that we stopped caring about any of it about 15 minutes in.  The writing is dreadful, the dialogue is embarrassing and the characters are incredibly poorly written, clichéd and the performances are beyond uninspired.  We literally feel zero connection to any of these characters and if they all fell into a wood chipper during an episode it wouldn’t bother us at all. Furthermore, the pace is mind-numbingly slow and when they aren’t boring us to death with a whole-lot-of-nothing happening, they’re assaulting us with really horrific musical numbers like it’s effing Glee or something.

What’s even more curious is the propaganda regarding Hugh Hefner that they are trying to spin.  With Hef’s own actual voice-overs, the producers are doing everything they possibly can to paint him as this visionary and revolutionary who single-handedly brought about the cultural and sexual revolution in the U.S. in the 1960’s.  Sorry, Hef, but you weren’t that important then nor will history remember you in that regard.  And not for nothing (and again, we have nothing against Playboy or the pictorials), but Hugh Hefner, himself, as a man and a human being, is and always has been a dirtbag… period, and no amount of propaganda, revisionist history or charity work can change that. Two words for you, folks: Legionnaire’s Disease.  If that outbreak wasn’t a metaphor for Hugh Hefner and the “Playboy Philosophy,” we don’t know what is.  And that’s nothing against, Hef, per se.  He can live his shallow and meaningless existence any way he likes but the producers have no business rewriting the story on him.

On the positive side, the show is decently produced with very nice period sets and the camera work is decent but those factors can’t carry it.  It’s already been officially removed from the TV-Tastic lineup and DVR schedule because it was obvious to us after just one episode that the show can’t be improved upon because you need a strong foundation of plot and characters to improve a show and this mess doesn’t have either of those elements. We all know that you can’t polish a turd and that’s what The Playboy Club is… one stinking, steaming turd.

You can watch new episodes of The Playboy Club, here.

2 comments on “REVIEW: The Playboy Club – NBC (Monday, 10:00 p.m.)

  1. Pingback: ROUNDUP! CANCELED: The Playboy Club, How To Be A Gentleman, Charlie’s Angels. FULL SEASON ORDERS: Revenge, Suburgatory, Ringer, MORE… | TV-Tastic

  2. I haven’t seen the show, but the commentary on this one was especially hilarious. I have to say though, as an adolescent in the mid-90s with no internet access, Playboy was one of my favorite magazines. The interviews were just so insightful.

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