The cast and executive producers of NBC’s new 1960’s-set drama, The Playboy Club, spoke to a crowd of reporters on Monday at The Beverly Hilton during the unveiling of the peacock network’s new Fall shows. They spent most of the time defending the series from comparisons to the other drama set in the 1960’s, Mad Men, and from critics who didn’t believe the female empowerment tagline: “Men may hold the keys but it’s the bunnies who have the world by its tail.” (It’s a corny tagline anyway).
Star Amber Heard thought that any notion that prevented a woman from showing “some skin” was “sexist” in its own way while co-star Naturi Naughton, who plays the “Chocolate Bunny”, claimed that the depiction of African-American women would be well-rounded as well.
While most of the cast spoke of their characters in broad and vague terms (leading to some confusion was to what the show was really about, even though we all know where it is set), Broadway veteran Jenifer Lewis, who plays the part of the African-American seamstress named Pearl, stole the show by not only talking about her character in detail but also being refreshingly honest about the show (“it’s sexy”), about her career (“I’ve been only known to do comedies”), and the fact that she may sing in an episode or two (it was quickly revealed that there will be a musical component to the show, with actors portraying legendary performers like Tina Turner and Frank Sinatra popping by to belt out a tune at The Playboy Club).
So, if the show doesn’t turn out to be any good, we at least have Jenifer Lewis to look forward to.
The Playboy Club debuts on NBC on September 19th at 10pm Eastern.