NBC’s Playboy Club completely flopped. Their premiere show had low ratings that continued to drop after their second and third show. This 50’s drama tried to catch the wave of Mad Men along with Pan Am. It was a bad decision from the start. NBC was attempting to place a show based on Playboy; which sexualizes woman and promotes its pornographic brand. Through their pilot they tried to turn the essence of Playboy into a symbol of woman empowerment… it didn’t work out so well. On top of that it was disconcerting that in the first half of the episode, the main character is already sexually assaulted. Parent Television Council profusely protested the show, which was rated 14+. They were happy to hear about its cancellation.
Overall, I think this show would have done well had the producers pitched it to AMC, or any cable station. Playboy Club mostly consisted of very cheesy dialogue, delivered by beautiful people. Hourglass figures and good makeup should not be an excuse for such awful writing! The storyline was interesting, particularly how they wove the mob into the pilot. Since I’m sure most people won’t be watching it, the storyline basically emphasized a new bunny into the nightclub that was known as the cigarette girl. A “mother bunny” who was sleeping with a rich lawyer. This rich lawyer happened to stop the sexual assault of the cigarette girl, and thus was seen as a hero. The mother bunny misconstrued this, and thought they were sleeping together. In between this drama there were side plots of people actually having sex in the bathrooms. The cigarette girl accidentally murders the man that sexually assaulted her, jabbing her high heel into his throat. The lawyer and the cigarette girl hide the body once they realize he is a big time mobster. Overall, the pilot attempts to build the relationship between the lawyer and the cigarette girl, while showing the demise of mother bunny within this club full of sleezy business men.
Because they included the mob, I feel like AMC would have been a more appropriate home for this show. On top of that, AMC would have definitely added more cinematic detail, and hopefully better writing as well. As for now, I feel like premiering the show on NBC ruined any prospect for this show’s future. NBC also has no intention of airing any more episodes of the Playboy Club in the future.
As Hugh Hefner wrote,”‘I’m sorry NBC’s The Playboy Club didn’t find its audience. It should have been on cable, aimed at a more adult audience.'”
The executive producer noted after reflecting on the demise of the show, “Most women look at the show’s title and say, ‘It’s not the show for me, it’s a show for my husband. Their husband looks at it and sees there’s no T-and-A, because it’s on broadcast.”