The Playboy Club doesn’t look like a very good television show. Eddie Cibrian is to Jon Hamm as Rebel Yell is to Woodford Reserve. The plot involves murder-by-tripping-in-your-stilettos-while-attempting-to-avoid-sexual-assault. And there’s a fake Ike and Tina Turner:
But sadly, none of those reasons are why KSL-TV, a Utah NBC affiliate, is refusing to air the show in the fall and working to find a station on another network to take it. They’ve said that Playboy’s brand is incompatible with their own, which, you know, sure! But the whole premise of The Playboy Club seems to be that there’s a fundamental mismatch between Playboy’s brand and the reality: that the clubs could preach an ethos of look-but-don’t-touch, could insist the girls weren’t really for sale, but they weren’t going to protect them, either. Similarly, there’s something obviously compromised about Naturi Naughton convincing herself that her breasts are going to break barriers “because you can’t discriminate against these.”
If anything, this looks like it’s going to make the Playboy Clubs sound anachronistic, and maybe even a little musty. There’s something just so…lame about a bunch of Brycleemed college boys or young executives asking if they can buy a night with a Bunny for a buck fifty, and something weird and empty about a dude whose claim to cool is that he’s the dude at his local Playboy Club. The show may be a bad bet for a local affiliate worried about its ratings, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to successfully market nostalgia for the glory days of stag magazines. There’s a reason Playboy doesn’t just keep doing the same old thing — it doesn’t sell like it used to.