Turns out, The Playboy Club has more going on than just ripped-off ’60s nostalgia and Playboy Bunnies. NBC’s new drama is actually a noir-ish melodrama about new Bunny Maureen (Amber Heard), ambitious cocksman/lawyer Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian, doing a dead-on Jon Hamm vocal impression that lends him gravitas) and their desperate attempts to cover up the death of a mobster Maureen accidentally killed at the Club. The weapon? Her stiletto heel.
These bunnies aren’t your typical gold-hearted broads.
In addition to Maureen’s not-so-little secret, there’s also the calculating Caroline (Laura Benanti), who has aged out of being a bunny and has transformed herself into a bunny mother—and Maureen’s rival for Nick’s affections. Plus a self-described “chocolate bunny” and a sickeningly sweet bunny who turns out to be a member of a secret Mattachine Society, along with her “husband” and his lover.
The glossy cinematography—which emphasizes both cheekbones and strong, manly jaws equally—and casual drinking, smoking and carousing might indicate otherwise, but The Playboy Club isn’t trying to be Mad Men-lite. This is a shadowy drama all its own, with twists, betrayals and an intriguing cast of characters sketched in just enough during the pilot to keep audiences hopping back for more.
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