Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A HEFty Dose of Bunny...

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 I just watched the first episode of a new television drama called "The Playboy Club", starring Eddie Cibrian.

"It was a place where anything could happen to anybody. Or any Bunny."

It's set in 1963 Chicago at Hugh Hefner's first Club.  I liked it.  It was as smooth and light as a vintage cocktail yet meaty enough for me to really bite into the story lines and characters.  Here was the show's take on the way things happened back then...

Ten Playboy Club Bunnies line up in 1967 in the main room of the Chicago Playboy Mansion for Hugh Heffner's inspection of new, improved fabric and construction for the Bunny costumes to be used at clubs.
 Behind the beautiful bunny silhouettes, smoky lounge, gorgeous wardrobe and hair, the show dealt with many issues such as sexism, racism, homophobia and eating disorders.

"It was the early 60's and the bunnies were some of the only women in the world who could be anyone they wanted to be."

These women weren't feeling exploited, rather empowered to be who they wanted to be on their own terms.

"You can't discriminate against these babies" said one girl admiring her breasts in the dressing room mirror.

These women were also enjoying higher wages, not normally seen in the 1960's, if women worked at all.  Their uniforms may have looked like torture devices, but the bunnies believed that "...higher hips [meant] higher tips".  One bunny couldn't believe that she made more money than her father.

Gene Barry, star of "Burke's Law,"  barges into a "Bunny Dip" lesson at the Bunny School. The dip was a stylized stance used in serving beverages at the Playboy Clubs.
 Hugh Hefner was known to be a non-partisan player - in the sense of race.  "Hef doesn't care what colour people are as long as they're interesting."  The knowledge of this gave confidence to the black bunnies.  One wanted to be the "first chocolate centerfold".

The show dealt with homophobia and the quiet emergence of the Mattachine Society in Chicago.  Lesbian bunnies and their gay friends were boldly included in the story lines, making this retro show connect nicely with current issues.

"The Playboy Club" also dealt with eating disorders as becoming a part of the bunnies' lives, having to maintain their impossibly slender figures.  "...I always eat way too much so I stick my finger down my throat and throw up - new diet I heard about."

This show has murder, mystery and intrigue, but the real stars are the bunnies themselves.  We see them maneuvering through crowds of randy customers and their complicated lives.

The sets and costumes seem meticulously recreated depicting the 1960's.  Although I found that "Bunny Maureen" looked too contemporary to me in some scenes.  I think that this show will need higher than average ratings to stay alive due to its high production costs.  I've seen many great shows get cancelled because they became too expensive to make.  One critic called it "Mad Men Lite".  I think it's Mad Men right.  I hope that this drama with great retro vibe will be part of my television line-up for a long time to come.

Watch the next episode.  I guarantee that the retro and vintage in you will love it!  Be prepared to go along for the ride.  Remember what Hef has on the front of the Mansion, "Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare" - If you don't swing, don't ring".

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