A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Playboy is a magazine, a business, and a brand. The sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, Vietnam all are addressed, but social awareness is often overshadowed by misogyny.
Positive Role Models
Hugh Hefner is a publisher, businessperson, playboy.
Violence & Scariness
Arrests happen; news footage of violent protests, assassinations discussed. Suicide, murder discussed in some episodes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of female nudity; brief images of sexual activity. Infidelity a theme.
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Some cursing, including "s--t" and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
The Playboy logo prominently featured; magazines such as Esquire and Penthouse visible.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of drinking, cigarette and pipe smoking. Marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine visible; drug dealing, addiction discussed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story is an adult-oriented docudrama that chronicles the rise and success of Playboy Enterprises. It contains lots of female nudity, drinking, and cigarette and pipe smoking, as well as some cursing. Drug use is visible in archival footage, and drug dealing is a theme in one episode. Infidelity, suicide, murder, and the assassinations of prominent figures such as JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. are themes in some episodes. Civil rights, feminism, and other major social issues also are addressed. All of this is offered in context, but it's not meant for kids.
Is It Any Good?
This compelling series offers an interesting account of how Hugh Hefner's DIY business grew into an international enterprise thanks to his business savvy and understanding of popular culture. His work is contextualized as a successful attempt at redefining masculinity in the magazine industry. It also reveals how Playboy, which constantly tried to challenge the status quo, has historically sought to address serious social issues, including racial discrimination, the Vietnam conflict, and womens reproductive rights.
However, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story celebrates the fact that much of Playboy's success, and the controversies surrounding it, is due to how Hefner positioned women in a male, heterosexual world. Some of the more interesting archived footage is eclipsed by the images of the magazine's celebrated centerfolds, as well as the dramatic reenactment of Hefner's life. All of this is offered in context but makes it more entertaining than informative. Nonetheless, adults interested in the topic will find it worth watching.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.