The news that Marge Simpson will be Playboy’s Ms. November is more than an unlikely pairing of cultural icons, it is desperate grab for relevance in a changing world.
The digital age has left Playboy plodding along like it’s run by an 80 year old guy who hangs around a house all day in his bathrobe and slippers. Pursuit of other business models is a tacit admission that the heydays of Playboy and other girlie mags are over. Taking a peek into the Bouvier boudoir – and making the issue available only at newsstands – will likely give Playboy a temporary uptick in sales and find their way into the news pages and blogosphere for a day or two.
Marge’s centerfold also gives The Simpsons a chance to re-assert their pop culture street cred in their subtle rivalry with Family Guy – but Playboy clearly needed the boost more.