The Playboy Club is supposed to be your inside look at the glamorous life of being a Playboy Bunny in the 1960’s. If that was all the show was about it might actually work. Unfortunately, The Playboy Club is trying to be so much more than your inside look at a glamorous world. The Playboy Club wants you to know that Playboy and its bunnies were the key to female empowerment in the 1960’s. This would actually be a fun message and a good show if that was at all what the show was portraying. For a show about female empowerment, the women spend a lot of time letting men make decisions for them, depending on them to validate them, and being treated as nothing but sexual objects by the men in the clubs. Now some of the women are sassy and feisty and could have the potential to be great female leads, but then they immediately make sure you know that they are married, or dating, or not afraid to sleep around–that just doesn’t scream empowerment to me.
Eddie Cibrian is the poor man’s Don Draper. The show wants him to be smooth but he just comes off as smarmy. I can’t put my finger on what is missing (or perhaps what needs to be missing) from his performance to make him seem less like a douche bag, but something definately needs to change.
The bunnies could be fun to follow all on their own, but The Playboy Club for some reason feels they need all this extra stuff to deal with. One of the girls accidentaly kills a mob boss by stabbing him in the neck with her stilleto and is already caught up in a murder cover up (which by the way is quickly unraveling). Our black bunny wants to be the first “chocolate centerfold” (her words–not mine) but then gets relegated to the background of the other stories. The oldest bunny wants to be the boss, which was as close to female empowerment we got, but her male boss fired her when she got to up in his business. Then she gets a higher position by going to Hugh Hefner (way to stand on your own two feet) then immediately uses her new position to make life hell for a bunny she thinks may have slept with her boyfriend.
So, basically if The Playboy Club would just be what it is — a show about girls in skimpy outfits working in an all boys club and having fun doing it — it would work. But its overreaching by thinking that voice overs (by Hef himself no less) telling us how he empowered women is the same as empowering women. The show is well paced, well shot, and even with some cheesy dialouge is not painful to watch. The Playboy Club will probably find an audience, just not here. Check it out but just know going in that the show your watching is not the show NBC thinks its putting on.