The Parents Television Council vs. 'The Playboy Club': Censorship at Its Most Inappropriate
The Parents Television Council vs. 'The Playboy Club': Censorship at Its Most Inappropriate
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
If you're going to censor something, it's usually a good idea to watch it first.

This basic statement of logic is apparently lost (yet again) on the Parents Television Council. On July 25, the PTC contacted NBC affiliates nationwide to urge them to preempt the network's upcoming new series, The Playboy Club. The group -- which aims to make television a safer, kinder, sexless place for children -- accused the new program of pornography and the glamorization of an "insidious industry."

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Click here to read the amusingly ludicrous letter from the PTC.

The problem with such an accusation? The Playboy Club is anything but pornographic.

For the sake of this article, I'm going to leave aside the whole issue of television censorship. Because, even if you think that censoring TV content is a good idea, most sane individuals would agree that the censor's tools should be applied only to those shows that deserve it.

I have seen the pilot for The Playboy Club. And trust me, the show does not warrant any form of censorship.

Yes, there's the Playboy name attached to it. If you think that the mere mention of a soft-core porn magazine is worthy of censorship, then I guess the PTC's position has a point. But that seems awfully extreme, considering the brand's prominence in our society. Thus, the objection can only be to the content of the show.

What is that content?

The Playboy Club is set in the early 1960s and depicts an extremely fictionalized account of an early Club filled with busty Bunnies and the "keyholders" who ogle them. There's also some mafia stuff and a murder mystery, but such potentially violent plotlines are not of interest to the Parents Television Council.

There is some sex, but it's seriously PG and mostly off-camera. The supposedly-skimpy Bunny uniforms consist of ears, a pom-pom tail and leotards of the sort worn by virtually every performer in a typical child dance recital. The leotards do show a lot of cleavage, but they're hardly any more revealing than some of the costumes worn on "family-friendly" shows like Dancing with the Stars or America's Got Talent.

So why is the Parents Television Council attacking The Playboy Club? Here are some possible explanations:

  • It's all about the name. For the PTC, "Playboy" means porn. Ergo, anything involving that name is evil.
  • The Playboy Club is an easy target after being prematurely preempted by the Salt Lake City NBC affiliate.
  • The definitions of pornography and FCC violations are extremely conservative where the PTC is concerned.
  • The PTC is a group made up of over one million crazy reactionaries who can't actually tell the difference between pornography and bunny ears.
  • This is all a ploy to get viewers to watch the "scandalous" Playboy Club and was actually dreamed up by publicity people over at NBC.
  • They were bored. After all, Skins isn't on the air anymore.

Whatever the reason, it's safe to say that the Parents Television Council is going to be disappointed in their efforts here. Maybe they'll figure that out if they actually take the time to watch The Playboy Club.

Or maybe not.

(Image courtesy of NBC)


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