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New fall TV shows reflect where pantyhose are in society


Robin Maryland, president, ActSensuous

 Never before have I paid as much attention to a fall TV series lineup, anticipating how much pantyhose would factor in the new shows. 

 Not surprisingly, it’s a mixed bag — win some, lose some.  Just as in real life, some characters who should be wearing pantyhose (career professionals) are, and some aren’t.  Then, there’s a pleasant surprise or two, such as Whitney Cummings, a young, hip, strong female character, who in scenes such as a wedding, wears, and in real-life venues, often wears during promotional appearances and talk shows.  Good for her. 

 Of course, two of the new shows were obvious suspects for displaying a lot of pantyhose — “The Playboy Club,” starring Amber Heard as a rookie Bunny in the 1960s-set mob drama at the famous Chicago Playboy Club, and “Pan Am,” featuring Christina Ricci, also in a 1960s-era drama about the world famous airline and its even more famous flight attendants, then-known as stewardesses.  

Amber Heard starred as a new Playboy Bunny in the 1960s-set drama already cancelled by NBC.

A “hare”-raising experience 

Sadly, “The Playboy Club” already has been cancelled, a victim of poor ratings, according to The Hollywood Reporter.   Well, that, and the whole hissy fit thing that the Parents Television Council (PTC) threw, calling for advertisers to boycott the show “for objectifying and degrading women.” 

Amazing the influence haters can have.  I suspect these PTC folks are the same as those pantyhose haters out there.  Too bad because many television industry types and viewers have come out in defense of the show, stating that it was in no way demeaning to women. 

 Some people must have nothing better to do than complain about nothing, and perhaps, it’s even sadder that the likes of Campbell’s Soup, Kraft, Lenovo, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Sprint, Subway and UPS Store all caved to the pressure and pulled their ads from the show’s second episode.  Then, PTC ramped up the pressure on Capital One, Chrysler and Samsung to follow suit.  Apparently, at least, Chrysler planned to continue adverstising on the show.  

 To their credit, the show’s executives pointed to some impressive ladies who were real-life Playboy Bunnies before they became famous in their own rights, including Lauren Hutton, a great actress and the world’s most famous supermodel (the first to earn $1 million a year).  Hutton was a Bunny from 1963 to 1964 at the New York Playboy Club.  Ever heard of Deborah Harry, lead singer of Blondie?  She was a Bunny from 1968 to 1973 at the New York Playboy Club.  And there was Dr. Polly Matzinger, a world renowned immunologist, who was a Bunny in 1969 at the Denver Playboy Club. 

 I guess if the whole concept of Playboy Bunnies is so demeaning to women, we should also feel sorry for all the famous women who are on record as having at least dressed up as Playboy Bunnies.  That list includes Cher, Farrah Fawcett, Sally Field, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Walters, Renee Zellweger, and Reece Witherspoon, to name a few. 

 And maybe we should offer therapy to some famous men who married Playboy Bunnies.  They include singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, Hall of Fame tennis player Jimmy Connors, and legendary talk show host Larry King.   And, let’s not forget some famous individuals whose mothers were Playboy Bunnies.  Better include some therapy for singer Jon Bon Jovi, actors Dean Cain and Corey Feldman. 

Models pose during a fashion show to mark the launch of the new Playboy Club London earlier this year in London, England. The show featured Bunny costumes dating back the the 1960s and the event featured an auction of one suit to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness in October.

 The costume designer, Isis Mussenden, for “The Playboy Club” TV show was meticulous in recreating the famous Bunny costume, matching the original specs for material, colors and the way they were designed to fit.  And, like the real-life Bunnies, Mussenden had her actresses wear two pairs of pantyhose under their costumes, a nude pair over the top of a black pair.  Obviously, it looked great, but I wish she had explained who originally came up with that idea and why it worked. 

 So, strike one show where we would have gotten lots and lots of pantyhose in each episode.  But, while “The Playboy Club” hops off the air, another hose-friendly show takes flight. 

Christina Ricci, second from left, stars in another 1960s-era drama, 'Pan Am,' about the famous former airline, its pilots and, mostly, its stewardesses.

High-flying drama 

Right out of the gate, “Pan Am,” starring Christina Ricci, captures the 1960s-era romanticism of jet travel and the international intrigue that goes along with it.  Of course, in the show, the stewardesses are wearing stockings, historically accurate for the time period, as pantyhose wouldn’t take off for a couple more years. 

During interviews with “Pan Am” costume designer Ane Crabtree, the attention to detail in accurately recreating the famous stewardess uniforms is a popular subject.  Here is an excerpt from one online interview:

Question: In the pilot, Miss Havemayer (Veanne Cox) warns Colette (Karine Vanasse) against wearing stockings that are too dark. Why is that?

Crabtree: Stockings were to be worn at all times. From one of those old manuals, I read this great quote, “A subdued, light color beautifies and gives a natural good look to the legs.” So they didn’t want too dark, which is what Miss Havemeyer says in the pilot, and they didn’t want too light. They just wanted a subtle, beautiful color on the legs. A dark color wasn’t desired because it’s too fashion-y or too flashy, too tawdry. It’s always sort of rounding back to the not being ladylike effect.

Q: How many pairs of stockings do you go through on the show?

Crabtree: We wear real stockings that don’t have stretch. You know stretch would be so much easier, however, stretch will show up as shinier on camera and that wouldn’t be true to the period. They need to be sheer, but because they’re so sheer and so delicate, they rip. We go through two pairs of stockings per girl, per day. It gets very expensive because they’re delicate. We’re going up and down stairs a million times, doing all sorts of crazy things. So, you need doubles because they’ll shred when you are getting (in and out of your shoes).

  I love the look of the beautiful uniforms, and I just pretend that those stockings are really pantyhose.

Singer and film star Zooey Deschanel makes her TV series debut on 'New Girl,' about a woman who moves in with three single guys after a breakup with her boyfriend.

Four’s company?

I haven’t seen “The New Girl,” but I know its star, Zooey Deschanel, is a devoted pantyhose wearer, so I have high hopes for this comedy about a woman who moves in with three single guys after a breakup with her boyfriend.

 Actually, that doesn’t sound like my kind of show at all, but I like Deschanel because of her devotion to wearing pantyhose, although being from the United Kingdom, she calls them tights.  Here’s a quote from her website, HelloGiggles.com:

I am a year-round tights girl. I will wear tights even if it’s 100 degrees outside. Tights are my safety blanket. In them, I know that I can do a sweet row of cartwheels anytime, anywhere without anyone catching a glimpse of my knickers.

 Well, OK, whatever.  I just love reading the actual words of a celebrity who’s a true pantyhose lover.  Thought you would, too.

 Not surprisingly, there are some new shows this fall that fall short because their characters should be wearing pantyhose, but aren’t.

Kat Dennings, left, and Beth Behrs star in '2 Broke Girls,' a comedy about two waitresses looking to turn their lives around.

Two bear-legged girls

Actually getting some positive reviews, “2 Broke Girls” is a comedy about two young women who are down on their luck, waitressing at a diner.  They strike up an unexpected friendship and try to raise enough cash to launch a cupcake business. 

I’d never heard of the two actresses, Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, and after looking for photos for this blog post, and not finding a single one of either of them wearing pantyhose, I won’t be watching this show.  I don’t get how anyone would make a show about waitresses working at a diner, and not have them wearing pantyhose.  That just seems unrealistic to me, and it completely turns me off about the show. 

Charlie’s Grizzlies 

 I caught part of the first episode of the new “Charlie’s Angels.”  Of course, I wasn’t expecting to see the angels wearing pantyhose, but I held out some hope since Drew Barrymore is a producer of the show, and she has the class and good sense to wear pantyhose in her films.  Since every photo I’ve seen promoting the show has the angels bear-legged, I’m not impressed, and won’t be watching “Charlie’s Angels.” 

Bringing it home

 Of all the new fall shows, I think “Homeland” is going to be the most successful.  This thrilller tells the story of CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) who believes, based on intelligence she’s just gathered, that recently freed P.O.W. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) was turned by his middle eastern captives and was set free to carry out a terrorist attack on the U.S.  

“Homeland” also stars Morena Baccarin as Brody’s wife.  That’s right, Morena Baccarin, the gorgeous former head alien, Anna, of the recently canceled “V” (The Visitors), who wore beautiful dresses, high heels and sheer nude pantyhose during every single episode.  During the the first episode of “Homeland,” Baccarin and Danes had scenes where they wore pantyhose, and I’m hoping that will continue to be the case all season long. 

Returning hits 

Veteran TV actresses Jeri Ryan, third from left, and Dana Delany, next to Ryan, always look awesome in high heels and sheer nude pantyhose on 'Body of Proof.'

 Thankfully, we have a couple of reliable favorite shows back for a new season — “The Good Wife,” starring Julianna Margulies, who, along with Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi always can be seen wearing pantyhose; and “Body of Proof,” featuring Dana Delany and Jeri Ryan, seemingly competing for who has the nicer legs in pantyhose and heels. 

Of course, there are many new and returning shows I’ve left out of this post for space reasons.  Which shows are you watching, or already disappointed in?

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