Curse Of The Chippendales is a four-part docuseries concerning the speedy rise in recognition of Chippendales, the male strip membership that began in Los Angeles in 1979 and ended up with a touring present and golf equipment all around the U.S. inside a couple of years. The “curse” was largely about how the corporate’s founder, Somen “Steve” Banerjee, let his firm’s exploding progress cloud his enterprise choices, main him to be accused of hiring a hitman to kill his enterprise accomplice and choreographer Nick De Noia. That led to Banerjee’s jail suicide in 1994, shortly earlier than he was sentenced for the homicide.
Opening Shot: Pictures of downtown Las Vegas. Then we hear somebody on a cellphone recording say to another person “Possibly you are able to do it with a hammer or one thing.”
The Gist: The primary episode concentrates totally on the male dance revue’s explosive progress. In an effort to get crowds into his night time membership, then known as Future II, throughout extra days of the week, he got here up with the novel concept of constructing a male strip present, and solely ladies can be admitted. It additionally dives into the Dorothy Stratten case; the 1980 Playmate of the 12 months was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Paul Snider, in August, 1980. Snider was one of many first folks to work with Banerjee to advertise the membership and its male revue.
Distinguished dancers of that early period, like Michael Rapp, Robert Menache, and others are interviewed, together with frequent patrons like Nany Dineen (who married and divorced Rapp), and 1977 Playboy Playmate Sondra Theodore. Additionally interviewed is Bruce Nahin, the lawyer for the membership and Richard Barsh, the MC who created the assorted characters that the dancers embodied, which matched the assorted fantasies of the five hundred ladies who packed the home every night time.
They painted an image of a phenomenon that exploded in methods Banerjee and the individuals who labored for him couldn’t ever think about. Even little particulars, just like the white cuffs and collars cribbed from the Bunnies who labored Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Golf equipment, labored spectacularly for the membership (Hefner was the one man to be allowed within the membership to see the revue). However when Stratten was shot and killed by Snider, it set off a interval the place Chippendales acquired nearly too large, resulting in the 1991 FBI investigation that pointed to Banerjee’s accountability for De Noia’s demise in 1987.
Our Take: There’s a cause why we by no means heard of a “curse” round Chippendales earlier than; it’s as a result of the so-called “curse” is the truth that Banerjee employed somebody to kill two dancers who he perceived have been competitors, and when that employed killer opened as much as the FBI, that opened the De Noia case again up. Anything that surrounded the membership and dance troupe — medicine, cash, intercourse, and so forth. — was extra of a pure outgrowth of a enterprise that exploded in measurement and recognition earlier than its proprietor may determine the right way to handle that progress.
Tying the Stratten homicide to Chippendales was supposed to point out that this was the start of the so-called curse, primarily as a result of Snider was one of many first people who Banerjee labored with to get the male dance revue off the bottom, but it surely feels largely disconnected to Chippendales. Whereas it was good to inform the story of Snider’s connection to the corporate, it felt like a little bit of a stretch to make it linked so strongly to no matter else went on through the ’80s. Was it a darkish portent of what was to return? Possibly. However the first episode doesn’t deal with it as simply that.
That being mentioned, the docuseries is entertaining regardless of its structural machinations, as a result of it takes the phenomenon of Chippendales as critically appropriately taken. Sure, it minted cash, particularly originally of its existence, but it surely did so on the premise of oiled males in thongs and the aforementioned collars and cuffs. The primary episode strikes the best steadiness of celebrating the phenomenon for what it was and preserving the solemnity to a minimal.
What we hope is that steadiness continues, even because the story begins taking darker turns. In any case, it’s not like the corporate is out of enterprise; it’s still going strong, regardless of what occurred with Banerjee.
Intercourse and Pores and skin: It’s Chippendales, for heaven’s sake, although the one factor we see stuffed in these G-strings is greenback payments.
Parting Shot: Former dancer Steve Peterson talks about an settlement De Noia scribbled on a diner serviette that Banerjee agreed to, giving De Noia the flexibility to take the Chippendales present on the highway “in perpetuity.” “That serviette modified Chippendales perpetually,” Peterson says.
Sleeper Star: The sleeper star of Curse of the Chippendales is time. Boy, 42 years does so much to an individual, doesn’t it? It’s particularly evident once we see an image of Nahin within the ’80s in comparison with now. However the dancers who’re interviewed, all of whom are probably approaching or over 60, don’t appear to be they’ve aged notably properly, both.
Most Pilot-y Line: We’re sticklers for music matching a time interval. When the present goes again to 1975 to speak about why Future II was in style within the burgeoning years of the disco period, the music performed, “Makin’ It,” is from 1979. What, they couldn’t get rights to “The Hustle”?
Our Name: STREAM IT. Whereas we wouldn’t say that Curse of the Chippendales is pure enjoyable alongside the strains of McMillions or Lady and the Dale, it nonetheless has a superb sense of what its material is and the way reverently to deal with it.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he doesn’t child himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Occasions, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Quick Firm and elsewhere.
https://decider.com/2021/09/26/curse-of-the-chippendales-discovery-plus-review/ | Stream It Or Skip It?