Bunny Hype

Famed feminist (and onetime undercover bunny) Gloria Steinem urges you to boycott “Playboy Club” (NBC, Monday, 10 p.m.) because she believes the show will not show how tawdry and anti-female the clubs were in their 1960s heyday. Is she right? Let’s analyze the Sept. 19 premiere:

Depiction of club as tawdry: Key holder attacks bunny, who pierces his throat with her stiletto heel.

Depiction of club as progressive: Aging bunny, promoted to “bunny mother,” institutes paid training for new bunnies, bans bunnies from dating key holders. Bunnies are well paid; one says, “My husband hates it that I work here, but I make more money than my father.”

Bunnies evincing self-worth: A bunny tells a leering male, “I am not a hooker, and I am not a waitress, either. I’m Bunny Janie.” A black bunny aims to become “the first chocolate centerfold” because — shaking her mammary glands — “you can’t discriminate against those babies.”

Bunnies evincing lack of self-worth: A bunny has trysts with a customer in the bathroom.

Verdict: Boycott! The show depicts tawdriness but adds a female self-empowerment veneer, making the bunny career path seem like a smart move.

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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Dr. Andrea Bonior · September 12, 2011