Trailer ‘Welcome to Chippendales’ shows the dark side of stripping


When you think of Chippendales, you probably think of muscular, shirtless guys in tight pants, with bow ties around their necks for good measure. (That, or you think of the iconic Saturday Night Live sketch that the entire company sends.)

Hulu’s new ’80s drama about the infamous house of male strippers, however, is likely to challenge that impression. With Kumail Nanjiani as the founder of Chippendales, Somen “Steve” Banerjee, Welcome to Chippendales is a true crime-like retelling of the company’s rise and fall. Nanjiani is joined by other big names, such as Murray Bartlett, Andrew Rannells and Juliette Lewis, to tell the sinister tale.

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The series’ first teaser is almost a parody of the incessant “true story-based” genre – unsurprisingly, coming from the creator of Hulu’s Pam and Tommy. Set to the chillingly slowed-down flows of “Any Way You Want It,” the teaser shows Banerjee reigning over his sleazy strip club. It is a ‘world of luxury’, he calls it. But that’s an ironic, ominous decree, since the entire teaser is composed of dark lighting and awkward close-ups.

Why is a crazed, dressed businessman interested in starting this kind of business anyway? Well, as he’s been told repeatedly, he can make a lot of money parading these hot guys around. Money is everywhere: ominously folded up in suitcases, or represented by Banerjee’s sprawling Los Angeles mansion. But his business associates aren’t happy with Banerjee’s financial plans, and the teaser warns that not every American dream “has a happy ending.” (Hence the shotgun is all at once on the floor next to Banerjee’s bed.)

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In real life, Steve Banerjee eventually hired a hit man to kill three former Chippendales dancers, who split from the company to start what he considered a competitor. The plan failed, and Banerjee pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder, arson and racketeering. However, while in a cell before being sentenced, Banerjee died by suicide.

Or Welcome to Chippendales stays so close to the real story, that remains to be seen. However, it’s reasonable to guess that the answer is an emphatic “yes”; after all, it’s a real crime. We’ll be sure to find out when the series premieres on November 22.

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