If it's crap ... We'll tell you
This was one of the shows I was looking forward to this year, along with two others, “Up All Night” and “Pan Am.” After being unavailable to view it the night it premiered, I ended up watching it on Hulu. The result was, well, underwhelming.
One of the first things I noticed right away, was the pacing. What happens in the first five minutes went by way too fast. Frankly, it should have been an episode of its own. The overview, and not much of a spoiler by the way, is that a new Playboy Bunny murders a high ranking gangster. Again, not a bad premise. If it's done right. I can't emphasize that point enough.
Another thing, was that it seemed to be just a blatant ripoff of “Mad Men.” But, let's be fair here, there was enough that happened in a decade to support more than one show. But that's how I'm going to segway smack-dab into my next point: Couldn't they find a lead actor who didn't look like a Don Draper impersonator? In fact, when he spoke his lines, it sounded like he was trying to sound like John Hamm. But really, I think I'm straying off the path here.
The dialogue is not really that great. There, I said it. I don't know, maybe it's because I watch too many episodes of “The West Wing” and “The Wire,” but come on. It sounded like everyone was just going for the one-liners specifically for the TV teasers. However, I will admit, I did chuckle at one or two of them. But there was nothing that really made me perk my head up and say that this writing is brilliant. Hell, both the aforementioned shows had by far the best pilots I've ever seen. And, hey, pilots are supposed to make excited to see where they'll go with the series, right?
Now, I do like the fact that they've got David Krumholtz here, because I always thought he had one of those timeless faces, and after I caught on to “Mad Men,” I actually thought he would do well on there. But instead, he is unrealized here. He is a smaller character here, and hopefully they will learn to utilize his talents, and give him something better to do.
Amber Heard, who I swear is one of the most drop-dead gorgeous actresses working in Hollywood today, is a fitting choice for the lead role. Not only are her looks to kill for, but she is actually a decent actress to boot. I only wish she had better material to work with.
My biggest problem is the script. I know pilots can be difficult. I should know, I've written a few, and I'm in the process of writing several more. But this show is like a crash course in what not to do. Much like how “American Movie” shows you the pitfalls of making a movie. Even at my writing stage, I could write a better script. And maybe that's just my arrogance, who knows? What I do know, is that they were trying way too hard to give everyone a storyline. That was the only thing I had against the pilot for “Boardwalk Empire.” But they actually took the time with that. It was longer than usual, and you had time to absorb the characters and their storylines. Here, it's just a fast-paced mess: One shot is of a girl talking frantically to her supposed husband on the phone. She gets alarmed when someone talks to her, hanging up. We cut to her husband getting a drink and cryptic dialogue from a guy in his apartment. And that's sort of what they do for most of the characters. I know what they're trying to do, and I think I have a better grasp on it than they do.
I know I'm rambling here, but I'm getting to my point, and that is this: While the premise is interesting, it takes a good execution to do it right. I didn't find that with this pilot. Should they pull the plug on it? Maybe. It's too soon to tell in my book. You can go places with their stories, but a lot depends on how they do it. I really hope the writing gets better, and they utilize their talent more.
They have a strong director for the pilot, Alan Taylor, who directed some of television's better shows, such as “The Sopranos,” “Mad Men,” and “Deadwood.” The show has potential. Hopefully they don't squander it.
In conclusion: The pilot is a mess. Pure and simple. They're all over the map trying to get the viewers to take in what seemed like a hundred characters and stories. The writing is the biggest problem I see here. The dialogue has more than enough room for improvement. Hopefully their pacing will get better with time.
My final rating: 1.5/5
Of course, this is just my take on the show. I'm sure many of you have different taste than I do. Check it out, and chime in your two cents. Am I right? Am I wrong? Did I leave out a crucial detail? Let me know. Until next time, Folks!
Here's the show's IMDB page:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1797475/
Here's the show's Hulu page:http://www.hulu.com/search?query=The+Playboy+Club&st=0&fs=
Update: 10/05/11 Yesterday, I discovered that "The Playboy Club" has indeed been cancelled after only three episodes.