Archive | 4:30 pm

Fall 2011 Review: The Playboy Club

18 Oct

Of the two set-in-the-early-‘60s shows (Pan Am is the other), Playboy is  making much more of an effort to be Mad Men.  I’m not going to say that’s exactly what it is, or that it’s ripping if off, or anything of the sort, but I’ll make the mild comment that of the two shows, Playboy Club is clearly leaning more in that direction.

The Playboy Club is about the title location in Chicago, about a few of the girls who work as bunnies there, and about the manager and one particular key-holder (I guess you need a key to enter) named Nick Dalton who is a mysterious figure running for state attorney general but with a past that ties him to the mob.  The first episode is centered around a new bunny, portrayed by Amber Heard. Nearly the first action of the show is a man attempting to rape Heard.  Heard, helped byDalton, accidentally kills him, resisting the rape, and then finds out he’s a powerful Chicago mobster. Dalton and Heard bury the body and invent a story that she went back to his place to sleep with him, ruining his relationship with another bunny in the process.  They have to keep up the cover, while Amber Heard learns more about the salacious and exciting world of being a bunny.  There’s a vague hint that she has some sort of mysterious background which could have come out if the show lasted longer.

Unsubtlety is a hallmark of the first episode of Playboy Club.  It’s the ‘60s, and times-they-are-a-changin’!  That point couldn’t have been made more blatantly.  Literally, there’s narration at the beginning and end of the episode by Hugh Hefner basically saying as much (apparently the narration is only in the pilot).  The civil rights movement is on!  The one African-American bunny gives an incredibly unsubtle monologue about the opportunity working in The Playboy Club provides for someone of her race.  Gays have no rights!  One of the other bunnies and her husband live together in a sham marriage because they can’t come out with their homosexuality at the time.  We get it Playboy Club, you’re trying to put yourself at the heart of the cultural and political changes of the ‘60s.  Next time remember that these things work better when there’s at least a modicum of subtlety.

I’m fairly confident the main draw of this show is the attractive women wearing little clothing.  Not that that’s not a real draw, but there isn’t really much else.  That said, I’ll damn the show with faint praise by saying it’s not quite as bad as I thought it would be.  It’s not a truly terrible show; what I’ve found at least this year so far is that the worst comedies are significantly worse than the worst dramas.  It’s kind of offensive, and it’s attempt to say that these women are really not being objectified, but that they’re rather on the edge of a new femininity doesn’t really work.  The problem with the show more than that was just that it was boring.  Nothing happened in the episode that made me want to tune in for another one.

I realized The Playboy Club is cancelled already as I post this, but at least it’s nice to know there was no big loss there.

Will I watch it again?  Well, it won’t be on again, but no, I wouldn’t have anyway.  It wasn’t truly awful but it wasn’t by any means good either.  The only friend I know who watched all three episodes admitted a large part of his choice was made because of the scantily clad women.

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 13: Eagleheart

18 Oct

Probably the most obscure show this high on the list, Eagleheart is the rare show that I had never heard of at all before I watched it for the first time.  It was on after Childrens Hopsital on Adult Swim, and my friend, who I was watching with, said he had heard of it, and that it was supposed to be decent, so we decided to give it a watch.  Expectations were relatively low, and all we could tell right away was that it was a comedy in which Chris Elliott portrayed a ridiculous supercop charged with serious missions, along with his two partners, an idiotic guy Chris uses as a battering ram, and a woman who is generally more competent but whom he ignores.  We started to watch and we slowly started laughing and looking back and forth at each other until the realization gradually set in that this was actually pretty good.  We still weren’t entirely convinced, so we watched a couple more episodes and by the time two more were finished, we were pretty sure; surprised, but pretty sure.  Soon, we finished the series (it really only takes about two hours if watched all in a row – that’s how short the episodes are, eleven minutes each) and when I told my brother to watch, he balked.  When he eventually gave in, he was just as surprised, but enjoyed the show just as much as well.

It’s an excellent companion piece for Childrens Hospital, because the shows share a very similar sensibility.  The show is loaded with terribly corny wordplay which takes a certain appreciation which I understand not everyone has.  When Chris is captured on a blimp, the evil blimp captain baron tells him there’s only one day when one can leave the blimp – splatterday.  Yeah, it sounds stupid when I write it like that I realize.  But with audio and video it’s funny, I swear.

I’ll be the first to admit that this show is possibly ranked higher than it should be because I just watched it recently and the lines and laughs are fresh in my memory.  That said, I’m also glad that I put it this high because I think it’s probably the show in this tier that people are least likely be familiar with.  The show is so unheralded that the entry “Eagleheart” in wikipedia’s search takes you to Finnish power metal band Stratovarius’s thirteenth single release Eagleheart rather than the show.  I’ve read just about no buzz about the show, and I had never heard about it, yet I’m not sure why.  A lot of people may just not be into this type of comedy, but with each episode lasting a mere 11 minutes, it’s certainly worth giving a shot.

Why it’s this high:  It’s ridiculous, absurd, and though my brother noticed after watching a few in a row, there’s a pretty similar rhythm to the episodes, just because you know what’s coming doesn’t make it any less funny

Why it’s not higher:  I suppose when you have twelve eleven minute episodes it limits your peak here – the shows are short and sweet which is normally a good thing but may have a topping out point

Best episode of the most recent season:  I thought one would jump right out, but not as much – I’ll take “Chris, Susie, Brett and Malice,” in which the cops must disguise themselves as swingers in a swinger-unfriendly town.  When they try to shop in the supermarket and pick up some aluminum foil, the employees lets them know that they only sell “family foil.”