The new The Playboy Club TV series has been cancelled after only three episodes. Feminist Gloria Steinem, who went under cover to work as a Playboy Bunny for an expose in 1963, and a pressure group called The Parents Television Council are all claiming that there efforts resulted in the show's cancellation.
Gloria Steinem, er , undercover in 1963
In fact, it was much more likely to have been its very poor ratings which got worse with every broadcast. It seems to have been partly hamstrung by the notoriously conservative US network guidleines so, despite the protests, was not pornographic (or anything approaching it). Perhaps it would have done better on a cable channel although the consensus (and the views of our particular friend S in Vancouver) was that it just wasn't very good. There weren't even enough episodes to make a DVD release as they stopped filming halfway through episode six. Apparently, the other sixties-set new series, Pan Am, isn't doing that much better either and is looking very vulnerable too in the cut-throat world of American network TV.
As regards the conservatives' protests, these were largely about the promotion of Playboy (who were very involved in the show) as a company, focussing on their hard core TV station rather than the content of the TV show per se, although their were accusations that the show glamourised prostitution.
Triple P was always faintly amused by the strict TV censorship on network TV in America compared with Britain, Germany, France, Italy (or frankly any other country in the western world). We reasoned that it must have something to do with America's Puritan origins ("Lets face it", as S has said, "America was founded by a bunch of people who were forced out of England for being too old-fashioned and ultra conservative in the early 17th century!"). Whatever, the reasons for America's peculiar attitudes to sex and nudity (bad) as opposed to violence (good) we are starting to see worrying signs of increased censorship here in the UK.
Only this week, the government announced that people signing up to internet services from four of the major providers would have the ability to opt out of all "adult" subject matter for their service. There is now pressure on TV shows such as The X Factor not to allow performers like Rihanna (Christina Aguilera and Rihanna were both critised for their inappropriate performances in last year's X Factor final) indulge in "raunchy" (their favourite word) routines during peak-time viewing and threats of sanctions against TV music stations for showing racy videos (which would be most of them, by their definition). I have also noticed that some supermarkets (notably the Coop) are putting "modesty covers" over magazines with pictures of girls in bikinis (not just nudes) on the cover in their shops. Interestingly this only happens to magazines aimed at men. Identical types of shots on the covers of women's magazines go uncovered, bizzarely.
This is all about protecting children, apparently, although why no-one has questioned why sexuality (a major driving force of human life) is something children need to be protected from does not seem to have been discussed much. Anyway, it seems unlikely to address the the biggest problem relating to children and sexuality in tthe UK which is the fact that we have the highest rate of underage teenage pregnancy in Europe; a Europe that is much more relaxed about depictions of nudity and sexuality than we are (and we are streets ahead of the Americans). Its all a bit odd!