GETTING Play

Article excerpt

IN NBC'S NEW '60S DRAMA, THE PLAYBOY CLUB, GAY TWISTS FIND AN UNUSUAL SETTING.

It takes about five minutes for the hetero veneer of NBC's new fall drama, The Playboy Club, to yield to campier gay sensibilities. The moment arrives when one of the story's main bunnies (out actress Amber Heard), cornered in a dark storage room of the club, overpowers her attacker and frantically tramples him, leaving a blue satin pump lodged in his skull.

"If you're doing an accidental murder at the Playboy Club, why not have it be a death by high heel?" asks the series' gay creator, Chad Hodge, who took on the NBC project with no limitations other than the setting and time period: the first Playboy Club, 1960s Chicago.

At first, the show - which details the lives of cocktail waitresses clad in those iconic, cotton-tailed onesies - may seem like the network's desperate attempt to cash in on the Mad Men craze. Hodge argues, however, that he's using this opportunity to explore the shifting political and social mores of the decade. "We've been very careful to tell stories that are socially and culturally relevant to the time," he says. "We're not being nostalgic."

Judging by the pilot, one of Playboy's focal points is the proliferating gay rights movement, told through the story of lesbian bunny Alice (Leah Renee) and her gay husband, Sean (Firefly's Sean Maher). …