“The Playboy Club” recap: Episode 1

The Playboy Club premiered last night and as far as first episodes go, it was better than I had expected! The show takes us back to Chicago in the ’60s when Hugh Hefner‘s  famous bunny-filled hangout was a place that only key-holders had access to. Oddly enough, I’m pretty sure the show’s exterior shots of the club belong to the only strip club in Chicago I’ve ever been to — or maybe all strip clubs look like that at night.

As the episode begins, we’re introduced to club key-holder Nick Dalton (played by Eddie Cibrian), who is a tall, dark, handsome, dimpled and well-connected attorney. I did my best to squash my personal feelings about Cibrian, but since his character seems smarmy, too, I guess I didn’t have to try too hard. He is close friends with club manager Billy Morton, who is your usual schlubby sidekick-type of guy.

Maureen  (played by the foxy and out Amber Heard), is the new bunny on the floor and has aspirations to perform on their stage. She stops in her tracks to watch Carol-Lynne (Laura Benanti), the very first bunny, singing her songs and shaking her tail for the crowd of guys in front of her.

Soon, she’s brought back to reality by two of the bunnies who have been there for a little while, Alice (Leah Renee) and Brenda (played by Naturi Naughton from that group 3LW! Remember them?).

Pretty quickly, Maureen gets asked to dance by an old, gross guy who looks like he sweats a lot and smells of meatballs and old parmesan cheese. When he starts to get grabby, Maureen gives him a slight push away and dances into the welcoming arms of someone less pervy. Nick watches Maureen and poppa likes what he sees. Unfortunately for Nick, his girlfriend, none other than Carol-Lynne, is watching him watch another bunny and she is not pleased.

Speaking of not pleased, the old sweaty molester man isn’t all that happy with Maureen turning him down. His obvious course of action? Take her to a back room and try to rape her! Just when it seems like all hope is lost, Nick walks into the room and tries to get the old guy off of her. The meatball must’ve had a high-protein lunch because he is able to keep Maureen down while hitting Nick in the nards and sending him backwards into a set of lockers. Inexplicably, the old meatball doesn’t flee the scene, he goes back to attempting to rape Maureen. This turns into the worst mistake of his life as Maureen does a swift Single White Female to his throat and kicks a big old hole in it with her stiletto. Nick looks at her and asks, “Do you have any idea who you just killed?” Turns out he was the big boss in the Bianchi mob family. Suddenly, we’ve got a show everybody!

Nick quickly helps Maureen clean the mess up and, for some reason, he seems very knowledgeable when it comes to disposing of a dead body quickly. We find out later that he’s got some past connections to this crime family – some of which is due to Mr. Bianchi taking Nick in as his own at some point in his childhood.