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“Welcome to Chippendales” to the rescue of fans of the 1980s and male striptease

In the late 1970s, Indian Somen Banerjee (Kumail Nanjiani of Silicon Valley and The Eternals) worked at a Los Angeles gas station. He saved almost all the money, saved, ate expired sandwiches – and saved up to realize his old dream.

Hugh Hefner was his hero, but he did not immediately threaten to compete with the father of Playboy. Steve (as Banerjee adapted his Indian name) decided to start by opening a backgammon club. Not the most obvious idea and in practice turned out to be not very profitable. The rebranding into a disco club was also unsuccessful (despite the fact that the disco era was raging outside the doors of the institution in full force). But one day, almost accidentally hired mustachioed promoter Paul Snyder (Dan Stevens) and his wife Dorothy Stratten (Nicola Peltz Beckham) took him to a male striptease. The new business plan came as a revelation, the dancers were recruited from the street, and Banerjee placed the name of the English furniture maker Thomas Chippendale on the signs. It is impossible not to recall that the name of the largest franchise of strip clubs for ladies later gave the names of the famous Disney chipmunks Chip and Dale (there is a special footnote about this in a recent feature film about them).

The affairs of the club went uphill, but something (or rather, someone) was not enough to break through. That person turned out to be choreographer Nick De Noya (Murray Bartlett from The White Lotus) wandering into the club. Acquaintance with Steve at the two-time Emmy winner coincided with creative downtime and divorce, which means that he took up the matter with tenfold zeal of a person starting a new life stage. The Chippendales has rapidly become one of the most popular places in the city. And just as sharply, the ambitions of a modest Indian went up, who increasingly began to use managerial techniques, peeped in The Godfather.

“Welcome to Chippendales” is based on a non-fiction novel by C. Scott McDonald and Patrick Montesdeoc with a much more eloquent title than the TV series, “Death Dances: Murders in Chippendales”. The bonfires of ambition, which eventually burned down the life and fate of Somen Banerjee, have already been the focus of attention of smaller television projects (including documentaries). Now, the biography of the Indian criminal businessman has received a real big screen adaptation. It was led by Robert Siegel, the screenwriter of The Wrestler and the recent Pam & Tommy. By itself, the new series continues the line of Hulu series based on real events, both in content and in many ways and stylistically.

At the moment, half the season has aired, so the plot has only begun to take a fatal dramatic turn. The future drama is hinted at by the criminal events that still remain on the periphery of attention and the spectacular passages of Nick De Noy – along the corridor of the club or the airport building. Otherwise, the series so far gives you the opportunity to dive headlong into the signature euphoria and playfulness of the 1980s. The heroine Juliette Lewis is responsible for the nervousness – a broken dresser who carries a bottle of cocaine with her, conducts bed castings of new dancers and gushing with crazy and brilliant ideas. She also owns one of the best scenes – when her Denise discusses with Nick the just viewed Spielberg’s “Alien”. There is also another significant sign of the era – the episodic appearance of Peter Bogdanovich, played by Philip Shahbaz.

Otherwise, the authors do not abuse the fetishization of that beautiful era, and this restraint is, perhaps, the only noticeable drawback of the series. “Welcome to Chippendales” with due courage and ingenuity of the creators could be a television version of “Boogie Nights”. However, even without formal brilliance, the story of the transformation of a quiet tanker into a cunning monster looks more and more interesting with each episode. Especially considering that the background for this plot is impeccable – it is a pleasure to look at the outfits and mustaches of the characters.

Photo: Hulu

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