As you’ve probably seen on billboards and TV commercials everywhere, there’s a new, swingin’ 60’s show about The Playboy Club that was clearly inspired by the success of Mad Men.
To coincide with this, the current issue of Playboy also costs sixty cents, although it’s not clear at the moment if this is causing the current issue to fly off the shelves or not.
Reviews for the show so far haven’t been stellar, and has brought about a lot of feminist ire, just as the magazine did back in the ’60’s. Gloria Steinem has called for a boycott of the show, and TodayOnline has wondered if the show, along with Pan Am and the latest reboot of Charlie’s Angels is “the return of jiggle TV,” a term that goes back to seventies shows like the original incarnation of Angels and Three’s Company.
The Washington Post also noted “This year’s fall television lineup might feature more female producers, directors, and stars than ever before, but watching the shows, you’d have a hard time believing there had ever been a feminist movement. It’s all bunnies, baby dolls, and broads.”
While in Newsweek, Nora Ephron, screenwriter of Silkwood, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally, also weighed in with a much more humorous take on all this. “Why Won’t Playboy Die?,” she asks in the title of her article, and she continues, “I have for many years been puzzled by the persistence of Hugh Hefner. Why is he still here? Why does anyone write about him? Why does anyone quote his remarks about his own cultural relevance as if they are anything but wishful thinking?…But Hefner himself, now 85, is a whack-a-mole, popping up from his life on the D list to give interviews about his pajamas and his little blue pills and his cadre of surgically enhanced women.”
Ephron also mentions how Hefner is a shadow figure on the show with a creepy voice over, claiming he’s “changing the world, one Bunny at a time,” where she says the truth was, “A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.”
As for Steinem’s clarion call to boycott The Playboy Club, Ephron wrote, “I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.”
Ephron used to write for television herself, and with great lines like this, and a healthier sense of irony, The Playboy Club would probably have a much better chance.
But judging from the reviews, you get the impression the show, like Hefner and his “his remarks about his own cultural relevance,” as well as his “pajamas, his little blue pills and his cadre of surgically enhanced women,” might be taking itself a little too seriously to get the joke.