Thursday, June 2, 2011

Waiting For Summer Heat...

To say that the change in the sheer quality of Playmates this year is shocking is an understatement. It's downright disappointing, given the great ladies who graced the centerfolds in 2010. The Class of '11 is about halfway through, with Miss June rounding out the first six of the selection for PMOY 2012, and we're still searching for the breakaway star that can really leave her mark.

Last year, I thought Amy Leigh Andrews, Katie Vernola, and Jamie Edmondson all were truly amazing entrants. Heck, even Claire Sinclair, our current PMOY, would have easily stomped the competition so far this year. Let's take a look at our two most recent Playmates.

Miss May, Sasha Bonilova
Miss May was Sasha Bonilova, a Ukrainian bombshell with some major assets. To get down to the point, and the entire premise of Sasha as a Playmate, it's her breasts. Her tits. They are absolutely gargantuan, and certainly the largest we've seen in more than a decade, perhaps even further back. Sporting her 36-inch DD cups (which look more like EE cups in her photos), it's hard to even notice much of her posing repertoire because of these massive distractions.

Now, to some, Sasha's boobs may be a fetishist thing. It's certainly not something we see often. Sure, large breasts are naturally more attractive, but this is something over the top. Sasha is more of a sideshow, a circus act that unfortunately looks all wrong. Although I'm entirely convinced that her breasts are absolutely 100% natural, it still doesn't make it any better. They simply look silly, and mask any semblance of class her pictorial might have. When you do get past the ridiculousness of her body, she really doesn't have much to offer, unfortunately.

Sasha is just an empty, vapid poser with little facial expression whatsoever. She never so much as cracks a smile, instead leaning on a drab, distressed look to go along with her Eastern European posing shtick. That tired old squinty-eyed look just doesn't cut it these days, with serious talents relying on a large variety of active posing styles to really turn up the heat.

  • Face: B
    Although certainly not unattractive, Sasha never smiles or changes her facial expression throughout her entire collection, choosing to look absurdly dull.
  • Body: B-
    Whatever semblance of a sexy figure she has (and she does have it when you look beyond), Sasha's breasts are just too distracting. In an era showcasing tight, chiseled Playmate bodies, Sasha just looks like a joke, and a relic of the 1980's.
  • Talent: C+
    Sasha shows absolutely no sign of posing talent throughout her pictorial, and that's just the truth. She never changes up her style or takes even a semblance of a risk, instead choosing to look dull and disinterested, costing her a chance to use her rather pretty face for some good.
  • Pictorial: B-
    The editors tried to do as much as they could with this disaster of a model, but ultimately failed due to the subject matter. You can't blame them, as they tried every fancy technique possible on such a passive, boring poser. It turned out miserably.
  • Centerfold: C+
    A full-on body shot only failed to conceal the ridiculous proportions, and failed to look beyond them to the possibly cuter girl deep down. Nice effort on the rare (albeit goofy) smile, though.
  • Overall: C+
    I know I've been harsh on young Miss Bonilova, but really it is difficult to put it any other way. After waiting a few months for a good Playmate entry to come around, it just got drastically worse with Sasha. Her colossal breasts may be a draw to some, but to me they are huge, dangling gimmicks, and a mask on top of a completely talentless model. She could have fared much better had she backed up her chest with some skill, but she is ultimately destined for the bottom of my yearly rankings, barring some other unfortunate entry.
Miss June, Mei-Ling Lam
Then came our current Playmate, Miss June Mei-Ling Lam, our first Playmate of Asian descent since 2008's Grace Kim. As I've said in the past, I'm never opposed to Asian Playmate entries. Several have been more than decent, including Lynn Thomas, Hiromi Oshima, and hall of famer Jodi Ann Paterson. It's always exciting to see a newcomer try and crack the mold, and I was understandably excited when I saw test photos of Mei-Ling float around the Cyber Club. To my dismay, she just couldn't pull through.

Just as with her predecessor, Mei-Ling never had the talent to make a push as a serious Playmate in the first place, and the choice is another mystery so far in 2011. She turns out to be an extremely passive and rather awkward poser, often waiting for the camera to turn out pictures rather than create some of her own. Although she does benefit from an oftentimes cute face and a tight little body, she wastes it by offering up an oddly paced pictorial. She never explores her sexuality, never draws the audience in, and only meanders around with a clumsy dress. She fiddles with it with a confused expression, never figuring out what she's supposed to be doing.

It is also again rather odd that Playmates are starting to get more prude with their pictorials' sexual content as we move on. Jaclyn Swedberg disappointed me earlier this year, but Mei-Ling truly takes the cake in the "no-pussy" department. She just refuses to show a single shot of her labia, settling on a variety of oddly focused butt-shots of a nonexistent butt. Her body is nice and slim, but she tries to expose curves she just does not have. Although shots accentuating her body using the usual lighting tricks are good calls, they fall flat at the end.
  • Face: B
    Mei-Ling has a pretty face with a nice smile, but often wastes it with some awkward looks at the camera, complementing the fact that she just often looks lost.
  • Body: B
    Mei-Ling's physique needs to be enhanced using pictorial tricks, as she really doesn't have the curves of most modern Playmates. And while that's perfectly fine to have a petite body, the photographic angles never do a good job in using that spunkiness to her advantage.
  • Talent: B
    As we saw with Sasha, Miss Lam is an average talent at best. Although she does offer a much more bubbly and dynamic look than her predecessor, she suffers from the issue of not knowing how to handle her pictorial and often looking lost and disoriented.
  • Pictorial: B-
    One of the more poorly executed pictorials we've seen so far in 2011, Mei-Ling was definitely not given the star treatment by the Playboy editors. While she is a nice model with some manageable talent, the pictures betrayed her with totally unimaginative costuming and a lack of any real sexual zest. She never reveals enough to draw in the audience, to say the least.
  • Centerfold: B+
    In what is again an unrevealing choice for a pose, it still is polished and cute, and she is in her best setting of the entire pictorial series.
  • Overall: B-
    There is not a whole lot to say about this forgettable performance. Mei-Ling should fade to the back of the pack in any normal Playmate class, but in 2011 she could find herself in the muddled middle. There simply hasn't been any more-than-decent talent so far, and Mei-Ling doesn't help the case at all. She has very little intangible quality, and does not get a chance to exhibit her petite physique and naturally attractive qualities at all. It's a bit sad, since she is a cute girl, but I say good riddance. Let's turn our attention to the latter half of 2011 and hope for the best, since duds like Miss Lam need to be pushed to the rearview mirror.

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