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NBC's forthcoming drama, The Playboy Club, is continuing to draw controversy from a variety of morality groups.
Starring Eddie Cibrian and Amber Heard and set at the original Playboy Club in Chicago in the 1960s, the series already sounds like a pretty blatant attempt to cash in on the runaway success of that other super-stylish show set in the '60s featuring sexy people sexily screwing each other over in a variety of sexy ways. The one with the hats and the redhead.
The Playboy Club already survived the pseudo-drama of being boycotted by KSL, a Church of Latter-Day Saints-owned Salt Lake City affiliate, when it was picked up by another station in the area, but now two new religious groups are in a tizzy over the show's allegedly racy content.
Pink Cross, a public charity founded by Shelley Lubben, a former adult-film star turned religious anti-porn crusader, is participating in an online boycott of the show, with Lubben going so far as to allege that "NBC is breaking the law with this show" and "not meeting FCC standards." More on that in a minute.
Meanwhile, Morality in Media, another religious group, is joining Pink Cross in their crusade, charging that "Since the 50s, sleazy Hugh Hefner and his Playboy Magazine has [sic] pushed a philosophy which dictated that, to the 'sophisticated man,' the female is a mere toy to be used, abused and discarded."
Ironically, Morality in Media acknowledges in their own statement that Playboy falls into the "soft-core" pornography category. Which is a problem, because the FCC only forbids broadcast of hardcore porn, a fact that seems to deflate Pink Cross's main point.
Frankly, the whole thing is starting to seem a little reminiscent of MTV's Skins controversy, which, as you'll remember, was a lot of hot air over the underage sex 'n' drugs that the show was set to feature. However, Skins turned out to be the teen-hipster equivalent of The Great Gatsby (vaguely debauched existential angst), only, you know, not nearly as good.
The cast of The Playboy Club is stocked with tabloid fodder, at least — Cibrian famously carried on an affair with LeAnn Rimes before leaving his wife to marry the singer, and Heard recently came out as a lesbian. So there you go: low-grade gossip on par with whatever faux-shocking content the show will end up featuring. Let's not forget this is going to air on NBC, after all — you're still not going to get anything more shocking than what your mom watches every night on Law & Order: SVU.