A reality show starring the main girlfriends of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner initially seemed to promise nothing more than the convergence of the worst aspects of television — sex, partying and stereotypes. And while The Girls Next Door did give us all of that, we also saw a sweeter, sillier side of the Playboy world, largely due to Hef’s surprisingly likable girlfriends, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson. Yet the sixth season of The Girls Next Door started off with a major change: the cast.
Each episode of the show’s first five seasons had featured an introduction with bobblehead cartoon versions of the three girls. The bubbly blondes had earned a large following through the first seasons of the show, making the show, which offered a glimpse inside life at Playboy Mansion, a hit. Yet as Hef’s romantic relationships with all three women evaporated, he moved three new blondes into the mansion — 23-year-old Crystal Harris and 19-year-old twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon — replacing the original girls next door.
In 2009, the sixth season’s intro featured cartoon Holly, Bridget and Kendra briefly, before they’re butted aside by cartoon versions of the three younger models. The intro reflected not only the cast change but also the tasteless interchangeability of Hef’s paramours. Harsh, yes, but not entirely unexpected in the world of a playboy.