The Playboy Club: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (19 Sep. 2011)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 128 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 4 critic

When new bunny Maureen begins working at the club, she quickly gets caught up in a dangerous situation with life altering consequences. Coming to her aid is Nick Dalton, one of Chicago's ... See full summary »


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Title: Pilot (19 Sep 2011)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Narrator (as Hugh Hefner)


When new bunny Maureen begins working at the club, she quickly gets caught up in a dangerous situation with life altering consequences. Coming to her aid is Nick Dalton, one of Chicago's top attorneys and a regular at the club -- despite the tension this situation creates with his girlfriend Carol-Lynne. Meanwhile, the other bunnies, Janie, Alice and Brenda each deal with their own personal issues and secrets while the club's General Manager Billy Rosen tries his best to keep the club running without interference from the mob. Written by NBC Publicity

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama






Release Date:

19 September 2011 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Sean and Alice attend a meeting of the Mattachine Society in 1963. The Chicago chapter of Mattachine wasn't established until 1965. See more »


Billy Rosen: [to Nick] You're the only man I know who puts his hand up a girl's skirt looking for a dictionary.
See more »


Chicago, That Toddlin' Town
Written by Fred Fisher
Performed by Laura Benanti
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User Reviews

Modest feminist statement, interesting social issues, fantasy entertainment, inspiring characters, irresistible leads, decent story, immersive production, creative sparkles
25 September 2011 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Did you know that the Bunny Girl™ was actually on the list of endangered species ? I was as shocked as you when I read the news on the WWTF official website. It's the reason why I decided to man up and watch The Playboy Club's pilot. Yes because even the pre-air criticism from enraged vegetalian femiinists couldn't possibly stop me from accomplishing my new ecologic mission, studying these poor creatures from tail to toe.

To tell the truth my only worry was that the show would be too heavy on gratuitous nudity. If you were expecting the bunnies to strip or act like escort girls well you will be quite disappointed. Indeed the show isn't an arrogant feminist statement but these sexy animals are clearly on the verge of empowering their kind to prevent male hunters from killing them one after an other. In some way the characters reminded me of Showgirls starring Elizabeth Berkley. They're used to cover topics from homosexuality to racism and of course how a beautiful young woman with a dream is supposed to survive in a man's world. Racism because how could you possibly insult a girl as cute and nice as the chocolate bunny ? You should enjoy the energetic performance from a band composed of black women. I couldn't help thinking about Tina Turner and all these fabulous artists that changed history forever. As for the young woman I was referring to it's Bunny Maureen played by the fresh and ravishing Amber Heard. It's easy for a man to lose his objectivity when it comes to gorgeous pin-ups but like Berkley's character I appreciated the fact that in the end she was just a girl, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. It was specially obvious when she fantasized and saw herself on stage in a red dress singing like Tina to make people smile and dance.

It leads us to Bunny Mother Carol-Lynne portrayed by the stunning Laura Benanti. Her singing and charming act at the beginning was perfect to switch from reality to fiction and like Maureen the viewer is invited to enter a world of wicked fantasy. Both the actress and character impressed me because there's just something inspiring about the Mother. She's only thirty something and knows a Bunny life doesn't last forever so she's trying to rebound before it's too late. Even better she's eager to transmit her experience to her girls to avoid them from doing the same mistakes than her. Of course they're only bunnies so don't expect them to change the world but the speech she gave to a skeptical Maureen was interesting. Actor Eddie Cibrian is a perfect match for her because as Nick Dalton, a lawyer and apparently club owner, he's quite convincing. I mean he has the whole apparel of a womanizer that's why I never get why he played Russell Varon in Invasion. His performance as a ranger wasn't bad and probably shadowed by William Fichtner but he never grew on me. Here it wasn't really the case either because I couldn't relate to him, even if I could definitely be featured in Playgirl, but at least he made a believable gentleman. Indeed even if he has a thing for pretty ladies it appears he has moral values but considering the issue they had to deal with things aren't just black and white.

As for the story don't expect it to blow your mind but it succeeded in introducing the characters and opening some intriguing arcs. The mob and thieves are part of the journey and won't surprise you but the triangle between Nick, Maureen and the Mother has potential. However as a demanding viewer, some people would even call me picky, I couldn't help noticing a few inaccuracies. For example the girl who was attacked should have screamed but somehow she remained silent. I wish the writers had come up with a more authentic script instead of choosing an easy way out. It also applies to easily lost objects or people hiding the truth just to make things more dramatic than they should be. Otherwise it's nothing to worry about as they served the story and made it more entertaining in the end. So even if it has reashed elements, because we have already seen it dozens of times, and that it's not specially intriguing the pilot still convinced me to watch the second installment.

In fact on top of all these juicy fruits the real strawberry on the shortcake was the creativity in my opinion. Of course the production is not as award-winning as Mad Men but the scenes are well executed enough to plunge you in the club. Switch off the light and you'll become a keyholder for forty something minutes. The diverse settings, like the famous mansion but also Nick's luxurious apartment, are designed with enough details and it also applies to the bunnies colorful and shiny outfits. The songs performed should make your immersion even deeper so I found the soundtrack quite refreshing compared to the tasteless pop music we have to digest in some other shows. Last but not least beside a cute furry tail I don't know which memory you will put behind your pillow but mine is definitely the oneiric sequence featuring Nick and Maureen before a colorful wall that reminded me of Piet Mondrian's abstract pieces and shadow play. We only saw their silhouettes for a few split seconds but the light glowing through the windows made them magical.

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