September 20, 2011

TV: The Playboy Club (NBC, Mon 10)

Meet the girls of The Playboy Club.

There's New Bunny Maureen (Amber Heard, not selling the innocent girl from Ft. Wayne shtick very well); "Chocolate Bunny" Brenda (Naturi Naughton, playing exactly the same role she played as Lane's Bunny girlfriend on Mad Men); Lesbibunny Alice (Leah Renee), who's secretly married to the gay bartender and trying to raise enough money to start a Chicago chapter of the Mattachine Society; and Very First Bunny Ever Caroline (Laura Benanti, who is delightfully bitchy and evil, and the only actor on the show giving an actual performance).

The principal male character is Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian). Nick Dalton is a lawyer. Nick Dalton wants to be State's Attorney. But Nick Dalton used to work for the Chicago mob. Nick Dalton is a very important man, which you can tell because everyone keeps referring to Nick Dalton by his full name. Nick Dalton Nick Dalton Nick Dalton.

The Naturi Naughton connection is not the only connection The Playboy Club is making to Mad Men. Cibrian wants so badly to be Jon Hamm that you can taste the desperation; he's even dropped his voice into Hamm's register and cadence.

The story, such as it is, is a tiresome murder mystery involving the very mobsters for whom Nick Dalton used to work, and the show even gives us the rasping, quavering voice of the ancient Hugh Hefner himself to provide the voice-over narration. This is a god-awful mess, and it'll be off the air by the end of October.

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