Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pilot Recap: The Playboy Club

Ah, pilot season! The magical time of year when we're bombarded with a million tv shows none of us will care about in a few months! There are so many to pick through, how do you know if they're worth an hour of your precious time? Well, Fruitless Pursuits is here to help. You have probably already seen Jess's excellent recaps of Ringer, Unforgettable and The Secret Circle and have either tee'd them up to record or crossed them off your list, so now it's time to grab your key and visit The Playboy Club with me.

In The Playboy Club we meet Maureen, the fresh-faced young thing who is living out her dream of wearing bunny ears and selling cigarettes to men coated in Brylcreem. Well, no, actually her REAL dream is to be a STAR on-stage at the club, (singing or dancing or whatever the hell it is she does, you never really find out) just like Carol-Lynne, the longest-serving Bunny on roster. Carol-Lynne's boyfriend is Nick Dalton: ladies man, man's man, man about town. One of the other bunnies describes him as 'Everything you would ever want' even though he seems like a bit of a douche. He spends all his time at The Playboy Club, because it seems like the 'thing to do' in the 60s was to wear a nice suit and be surrounded by leggy women.

Anyway, Maureen is hanging out and selling cigarettes when a fellow asks her to dance. She agrees, but then he gets a bit handsy so she discreetly dances away from and then goes back to work. Handsy Chap is incredibly offended by this. While out the back getting more cigarettes for Nick Dalton (everyone does things for Nick Dalton, he's just that handsome), Handsy Chap follows her through the employees door and decides it's Rape Time. Nick Dalton is wondering why the hell she is taking so long to get him his cigarettes, so goes back to investigate and finds Rape Time occuring. He pulls Handsy Guy off Maureen, who lashes out and rather awesomely puts the heel of her stiletto into his jugular.

I....wasn't expecting that. Nick Dalton furrows his handsome brow and tells her she just killed a mob boss. As you do with a dead mob boss, they dump him in the river. Problem is, the rest of his mob cronies know he was at the club that night so have started sniffing around. Cue season-long story arc.

While the main plot is pretty cliche and 'covering up accidental killing' has been done to death, the backdrop it's set against does make up for it. Classy broads and sharp gentlemen in the swingin' sixties. I don't see this becoming anywhere near as popular as Mad Men, but it's a promising start. What did really hook me in was the sub-plot Sean Maher's character had. A gay man married to a lesbian getting money together to start up a gay rights movement, and holding secret meetings.

I'm not going to lie, I'd probably rather the show be about THAT. Most of the opinions I've read have more or less been 'Yeah, the show was ok, but it really needs more of Sean Maher'. I'm going to assume that's not just because Sean Maher is gratuitously handsome.

Will I keep watching it? Yes, for now. I'll give it another four or five episodes, but I'm not committing to this one as a 'keeper' yet. It was a solid set-up and I'm quite interested to see where they take it (apart from the fact Maureen and Handsome Nick Dalton are totally going to hook up, le sigh).

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