Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Playboy Club, "Pilot:" When Bad Shows Happen to Interesting Eras

I don't have a whole lot to say about this pilot that others, specifically Alan Sepinwall and Alyssa Rosenberg, haven't said already, and you should especially read Alyssa because my reason to keep watching is the same as hers. But read on for a few thoughts . . .

First - THE DIALOGUE IS SO BAD. So bad that while I was watching I actually emailed Alyssa to ask if the show was really asking me to believe that these words in this order would ever come out of a person's mouth, ever. For example: "Why are you helping me?" "Because I'm done ruining the lives of innocent people." Really? Okay. I will say that leading man Nick Dalton has a certain one-note charm in the moments when I can forget that he's Eddie Cibrian, and the background and/or motivations of the characters are sufficiently mysterious that I'm sort of perfunctorily interested in finding out more about them, but I'm not sure for how long those questions would sustain my interest.

What actually is interesting in this material is, of course, the social changes going on in the background. I am not at all persuaded by the show's claim that the bunnies were the most empowered and free women in the world, but if the show were sufficiently self-aware to pivot from trying to convince the audience of that to exploring if and why and how the bunnies themselves came to believe that, that would be a show worth watching. But at this point, it's not clear that the show really wants to go there. It's more concerned with longing looks between Nick and Bunny Maureen.

As Alyssa said, though, the end of the pilot has a genuine shocker: a subplot that seemed kind of dull suddenly turns out to be about the founding of the Mattachine Society. Now that is genuinely interesting, and unexpected in this context, and not something that we hear enough about in pop culture in general. So that, more than anything else, makes me want to keep watching.

Even if it means putting up with lines like "It was a place where anything could happen to anybody. Or any Bunny."

Of course, given the way the numbers are looking, we may not have to put up with lines like that for long.

No comments:

Post a Comment