I can imagine the conversation among the producers:
Producer #1: Hmm...Mad Men is really huge right now. We should do a show set in the 60s...but we'll have to dumb it down since we're a basic network and completely sanitize it. Except when it comes to boobs. We're allowed to show all the boobs we want.
Producer #2: How about something to do with Playboy? Didn't Mad Men do an episode at a Playboy club? That was big in the 60s...and then we can have lots of boobs!
Producer #1: You are brilliant, Producer #2! By taking advantage of the Playboy brand, we can objectify women and have rampant sexism, and it doesn't even need to have any societal context or serve as a commentary on modern culture like in Mad Men! We can just have boobs!
That sound you just heard was my head hitting the table while I watched the Playboy Club pilot. Let me just say off the bat that there has been a ton of press lately about this show and whether it's truly sexist. The people who make it say that it's just reflecting the attitude of the time and it's meant to shine a light on that kind of behavior blah blah blah. My personal view is this show doesn't have a lot going for it and its sexism results more from laziness, but that is NOT the point of this post. So relax, this review is not going to turn into a equal opportunity diatribe. Instead it's going to be about a show that may look good (if you like boobs) but is at its soul is a lazy uninspired drama.
Actually, here's a good way to think of it: remember that scene at the beginning of Social Network, where the girl tells the Facebook creator guy that he is always going to think that people hate him because he is so smart. When really, they are going to hate him for being an asshole. I am sure the people who made Playboy Club will think that people can't past the boobs...but really, it's just not good.
And now I kind of feel bad. I am sure all the people involved in making Playboy Club are lovely...but the show itself is just lame. The "twists" are cheap dramatic cliches, the mob is heavily featured (snore), and it's just....bad. Even the presence of David Krumholtz can't save it for me. Especially when, in response to someone asking him if he knows how hard it is to see his girlfriend get constantly hit on at work, he says: "Yup, that's why I married her; got her pregnant and ugly."
Classy show. Real classy.
And I guess that's the crux of the problem. Playboy Club tries to be classy...swinging 60s and all that jazz. But when you have a sexual assault in the FIRST THREE MINUTES (not kidding about that btw), an uninspired main plot involving the mob, and characters that I care nothing about...you're not classy. You're lazy.
Avoid this one folks. If you want a 60s fix, just watch Mad Men. Or go read your vintage Playboys...for the articles of course.