Thursday, May 15, 2008

Best and Worst of 2008 (So Far)

We see lots of highs and lows throughout the years at Playboy... times where the execs and editors don't really make the right moves, or when there are strokes of genius where everything comes together.

I want to take a look at all the highs and lows of 2008 so far, and look ahead to a wonderful second half, complete with plenty of things to look forward to.

Best: Jayde Nicole wins PMOY
Playboy really couldn't have made a better choice than Jayde Nicole for Playmate of the Year, the magazine's highest honor. Jayde was, all along, the most all-around unique girl of 2007, and her PMOY pictorial was refreshing and beautiful, and a welcome change from the flops of recent years.

Best: Ida Ljungqvist is Miss March
Ida was a great choice for Playmate, being a relative unknown. Her African-Swedish heritage also made her very exotic and an interesting twist, and her great posing talent brought her over the top. She also had a pictorial with plenty of variety and creativity, something that was lacking in the other months so far this year. Ida's curvaceous body certainly tops my list so far for PMOY 2009.

Worst: Sandra, Michelle, Regina, and AJ
While Ida was an excellent Miss March, the other months' Playmates so far can't really measure up. They have all been spectacularly beautiful and seemingly talented (especially Regina), but their pictorials have been horrendously boring. Single-theme, single-minded pictorials have been contagious for the Playmates, and it looks like Playboy has just been looking to capitalize on magazine sales and did little to appease fans by putting out quality, interesting material. Shame on you, Playboy!

Best: Centerfolds
While the pictorials of the Playmates this year have so far been pretty flat, their centerfolds have been very sexy. It all seems to be part of Playboy's plan to keep all their marketable materials intact: centerfolds make money, their magazine makes money, and fans and internet users aren't a great source of income. Although that's a sad prospect for us, the centerfolds themselves look very nice, from Regina's hot look in the mirror to Ida's curvy rear shot.

Worst: Meghan Allen flops
Texan beauty Meghan Allen started with a great Cyber Girl of the Week pictorial in September of 2007, and she looked so bright and beautiful that I anticipated her CGOM nomination for January '08 to be a great way to kick off the new year. Well, it didn't turn out that way. Meghan's four weeks were mediocre, and she changed her look enough that she simply didn't impress. One of the major disappointments for me so far.

Best: Trina Marie as CGOM
We trusted in Trina after her very sexy Cyber Girl of the Week pictorial, and she gave us the best performance from a Cyber Girl so far this year. If the rest of 2008 goes at the current pace, Trina should be a clear frontrunner for 2009 CGOY, which would grant us a whole year of gorgeous material from this stunning young talent. Can't get enough of Trina!

Worst: No love for Kortnie O'Connor
I thought last year's January CGOM would have made a fantastic choice for Cyber Girl of the Year 2008. At least, I thought she'd be in contention for the award. Well, that's not what fans thought, and she barely got a mention for the nomination. I thought her pictorials were some of the more intriguing ones of last year, and that she had plenty of natural, unique beauty to go around. Maybe an "Xtra" feature sometime?

Best: CGOY is Jo Garcia
The lack of support for Kortnie was balanced by the fact that one of the most amazing Cyber Girls ever was elected Cyber Girl of the Year. I cannot wait to see what Jo has in store for us, as such a dynamic poser is a real gift to fans of Playboy. Jo is really a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and she'll prove it every month with another wildly sexy pictorial. This alone might have made up for all the low points so far in 2008.

Worst: Brittany Fuchs fails to impress
Take a look at Brittany's Coed of the Week pictorial, and you'd think that this George Mason University student might have been the savior to an otherwise weakening and faltering "Coeds" section of the Cyber Club. She looked quite promising, what with her cute looks, petite frame, and overt sexuality. Well, with her inevitable Coed of the Month feature, she proved us all wrong. Sure, Brittany had a knockout body, but she delivered week-after-week of awkward photos, terribly boring themes, and just did every little thing wrong. She had so much potential...

Worst: Magen Lugo
Speaking of coed flops, I thought Magen Lugo's beautiful Coed of the Week pictorial would lead to fantastic things in the future. She seemed like a dead lock for the month's nomination, and she did win it. However, it didn't turn out anything like the weekly feature, as Magen looked too skinny and inexperienced, and just looked very awkward in all of her pictorials, with no sparkle in sight. She looked so polished in her COTW feature, it just took my hopes way too high.

Worst: Coeds
So Magen Lugo and Brittany Fuchs are only the tip of the iceberg, because this is a segment of Playboy's Cyber Club that's in dire need of a great star. After the Playmates and Cyber Girls, Playboy's Coeds of the Month are the premier ladies on the site, and ought to provide premier content. I mean, think of college girls in this country: there are loads of 'em, and there are some damn sexy ones. So what's with the trouble getting real quality girls? Eve Jewell? Amanda Adams? It feels like we haven't had a decent COTM since May 2007's Cristal Houston!

Best: "Girls With Girls" feature
This is a relatively new feature pictorial series in the Cyber Club; there are only 15 entries in the series, which is part of the "Special Editions" section. What we've gotten lately are extremely spicy, supercharged pictorials with loads of sexual (albeit tasteful) content with excellent model selection. Harmony and Candice are some Playboy favorites that have tons of chemistry, as did Anna and Jessica in this sizzling series. But it was the tried and true talent of Louise Glover paired with the extraordinary body of Emily Dean that led to this captivating girl-on-girl display, one with spectacular fireworks from the sparks that these two British babes provided. Keep it up at this level, and you've got a real winning series on your hands, Playboy.

Worst: Xtras
Playboy introduced the "Playmate Xtra" and "Cyber Girl Xtra" series to bring back a bit of nostalgia, offering fans a dose of old favorites that can still work it and offer plenty more content. Honestly, Playmates don't get a lot of content out to users; a couple pictorial photos and some cheesy "Video Jukebox" features just don't hit the spot most of the time. Xtras are a great idea: tons of pictures, videos, etc. But you have to question their selection... Katie Lohmann, Nicole Voss, Scarlett Keegan, Holley Ann Dorrough, and Shallan Meiers were selected as Playmates, and Shawn Hektor, Roxanne Dawn, and Megan Elizabeth were chosen as Cyber Girls. Makes me wonder who's sending in these suggestions. Aren't there TONS of Playmates we'd like to see more of? What is this garbage??

So, with the first half over, what can we expect for the rest of the year? Well, we've got a promising slate of Playmates on the agenda. June goes to Juliette Frette, who recently wowed me with her preview videos. She didn't look that great to me in her preview pictorial, but fans have raved, and after seeing the videos of her photo shoots, I'm convinced that she has a chance to be the savior of 2008's poor Playmate selection. After her, July goes to Laura Croft and August to Kayla Collins, with Valerie Mason waiting in the wings. I hope the Coeds feature picks up, and the current hot streaks keep it up.

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