Judge Gordon Sullivan is getting to be a rabbit with me.
Our reviews of The Girls Next Door: Season One (published August 9th, 2006), The Girls Next Door: Season Two (published May 9th, 2007), The Girls Next Door: Season Three (published January 28th, 2008), The Girls Next Door: Season Four (published March 23rd, 2009), and The Girls Next Door: Season Five (published July 13th, 2009) are also available.
Six times the fun!
Oh what a tangled web reality TV weaves. Initially, the attraction of The Girls Next Door was the chance to get an up-close look at the goings-on inside the Playboy Mansion. This secret den of iniquity has featured prominently in many a young man's fantasy (and plenty of women's too), and the best way to see it would have to be from the perspective of mogul Hugh Hefner's many girlfriends. Thus, The Girls Next Door was born. But we live in an era where celebrity comes along for a variety of reasons, and the women who started out being famous for being Hef's ladies suddenly took on lives of their own. Which leads us to the strange circumstance of Season Six.
Holly, Bridget, and Kendra may no longer Hef's special girls, but the trio were still signed for another season. The result is a show with six ladies, where most of the episodes focus on Hef's new girls, with occasional appearances by his old flames. Although these women have surprisingly different personalities, the nature of The Girls Next Door makes them fairly interchangeable, meaning this season will almost certainly satisfy fans.
Three new ladies have entered Hef's life—Crystal Harris and twins Karissa and Kirstina Shannon—but things are moving right along at the Mansion. Over a run of 10 episodes, we get to see everything from a roller-disco party to Holly's appearance in a Vegas burlesque show, plus a double length "bonus" episode. Season Six throws in a few curves in the usual Girls way, but the result is a run that keeps the formula fresh.
Generally, my position from the review of The Girls Next Door: Season Four still holds true: the airbrushed Playboy aesthetic just isn't my thing. But, between that review and this one I happened to see the 1979 production Playboy's Roller Disco and Pajama Party. It's 25 minutes of poor fashion decisions coupled with roller skating and appearances by the likes of James Caan and the Village People (who I never thought I'd be putting in a sentence together), which aired on ABC, and possibly even during prime time (so the most revealing attire is the occasional bikini). But the special was so darn innocent, so obsessed with having fun that I couldn't help but be won over by its bubblegum nature. Ironically enough, Roller Disco and Pajama Party shows up early on this season, as Hef organizes another disco event. This episode really put the show into context for me. Rather than being about a documentary approach to the Playboy lifestyle, or a voyeuristic peek into Hef's hyper-sexed world, The Girls Next Door is really all about having fun. It's still not my cup of tea, but if this brand of fun appeals to you, the show will most certainly deliver.
Longtime fans are probably wondering how the new girls fare when compared with the Holly/Bridget/Kendra trio. I can't claim intimate knowledge, but for my money the new girls make for better television. As compelling as the original trio were (and are), it always felt too much like they were playing roles that were expected of them. I don't want to say they came off as fake (cause that would be redundant), but "forced" might be a better word. Crystal and the twins are much more natural. Sure, it's all still a bit of a put on, but their responses seem more genuine, their behavior more free. It might be heretical to day, but the new girls keep the magic going as well, if not better, than their predecessors.
The Girls Next Door: Season Six comes to DVD in pretty much the same way as previous seasons. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is bright and clear, with nothing to complain about. The Dolby 2.0 stereo keeps all the girls audible and well balanced with the show's music. Bonus Features include commentaries with the girls on all the episodes (except for the double-length bonus, "Transitions") and deleted scenes.
The Girls Next Door is still all about showing women in various states of undress engaging in activities that would make the average third-world child weep for all the waste. Those with a mind to be offended or bored will find plenty to be outraged by.
The Girls Next Door is not my thing, but it's still not guilty.
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