Pan Am

When they didn’t charge you $25 per bag

Network: ABC
Day/Time: Sunday 9:00pm Central
Where are we?: NYC-based flight crew

Remember when your mom would make you get dressed up to fly, and they actually gave you the whole can of soda?

In what I can only imagine was a pitch session that went like this:

“What have the most popular shows of the last decade been? Answer: Lost and Mad Men. We take the plane part of Lost and mix it with the sexy ’60s setting of Mad Men, and what do we have? Planes. ’60s. That’s right. Pan Am.

It’s definitely a fun world to be sucked into – pretty stewardesses who aren’t shitty to you when you’re not quite ready to throw out your 5 oz. pop cup when they come around with that garbage bag. They’re at Worldport at JFK (seriously, click the link. That building was pretty sweet back in the day. Now. . .notsomuch). Our ladies are getting ready to fly one of the planes for the first time on a flight to London. Most of them are being told by the Bunny Mother. . .oops, wrong show. . .Miss Havemeyer to “wear your girdle” and “don’t wear dark stockings”. Apparently dark stockings are slutty. I like to think of them as buying me an extra day of not shaving, but to each their own.

New stewardess, Laura, unknowingly had her pic taken to appear on the cover of Life Magazine. All the other girls are like “That’s so great. . .for a stupid newbie.” They make comments about it being great for finding a husband, this other girl, Kate, makes comments that make it sound like Laura is into women, but we learn later that’s not what she meant.

Kate is told by some shady man that she needs to keep a man in a certain seat detained at Heathrow customs by switching out his Visa. And she’s like “Ok, will do!” Is this why they ask you if you’ve been approached by anyone to carry their stuff? Do they still ask that? Come to think of it, I haven’t been asked that in at least ten years.

The show, in a series of flashbacks (now where I have seen that before. . .?), shows us how our lovely Stewardesses got where there are. First up is Maggie (Christina Ricci) who was grounded for not wearing her girdle (amen, sister), and they’re missing a stewardess, so they call her up and tell her to catch the helicopter at the top of the Pan Am building in midtown Manhattan to JFK. Apparently this used to be a thing us plebs could do until a chopper broke in the ’70s and killed a bunch of people. Ick.

In another flashback, Kate was a Pam Am stewardess and attending her sister, Laura’s wedding. Mom makes some snarky comments about Kate flitting about the world, while Laura has a breakdown about getting married. Kate and Laura take the car and go straight to JFK to sign up Laura for a life of adventure! Also, since their parents don’t know where Laura is, she’s super nervous that they’ll see her on the cover of Life.

They prepare for takeoff, and what sucks about period pieces is that when taking off into ’60s NYC, all the CGI folks have to work with are blurry, badly-colorized pics of  ’60s NYC. There had to have been a way to get around that, right? They also have to take off to some sweeping music. If only that happened in real life. . .since we can’t use electronic devices at that point in the flight.

FLASHBACK! Kate is meeting overseas with a man who she learns is an intelligence agent. Bridget, another fabulous Pam Am stewardess shows up and leaves those two to talk. This will be important later.

Also, apparently Pan Am helped evacuate Bay of Pigs prisoners (which may have been made up for the show. . .there’s nothing on the Wikipedia page about it. . .and if it’s not there, then it’s not real!). During this chaos, the pilot proposed to Bridget. She declined (I think. . .she at least put him off for a little while).

Back on the plane, Colette (man there are a lot of these stewardesses. How come every flight I’m on only has like two?) runs into a man she had a past with. What kind of past? Well, let’s learn it via a. . .

FLASHBACK! After a long way of winging her way across the ocean, Colette catches the eye of a hot businessman and they have hotel rooms next to each other. They both unlock that door that’s between the rooms, lock eyes and do it against the wall.

Back on the flight (where it appears they did not do the security speech. For shame! Where are my exits? What are these yellow cups that are dropping from the ceiling? How does this seatbelt work?!), Colette sees the man. . .and his wife. . .and his little boy! Awkward! She ends up taking the boy to see the cockpit and sits with them and sees his drawings, while the wife is super nice and makes chit chat. Phew! That could have gone so much worse!

The whole switching the Visa thing has some expected complications, but she gets it done. Not without fighting with her sister and saying terrible things. As an older sister myself, I can say that sometimes that happens. It makes the younger ones stronger, right? No? It’s actually quite damaging? Whoops. . .

They land in London (to more sweeping music. . .usually the music in my head is “pee pee time. Why did I drink the whole can of soda? How can I get ahead of all this idiots with their rollerbags to get to the bathroom? I hope this airport has those plastic seat cover things that you push the button to change, so I don’t have to squat. OMG, the change in air pressure is making it worse. Damn you, Coke Zero! Damn you!!”), and as they deplane, the wife of the man Colette sleeps with realizes she left her purse on the plane. Colette asks if she wants the picture her son drew too and she responds “Keep it. Maybe it will remind you not to sleep with other women’s husbands.” DAMN. Well played lady, well played. The crew heads to the hotel, the pilots make some Darwinian comments about the stewardesses, as they sit at different tables for dinner. Pilot tries to call Bridget, who we learned mid-flight had quit Pan Am, and her phone is disconnected.

Kate stumbles upon a Slugworthesque Russian guy. . .the one whose Visa she was switched, so how the hell is he here now? It’s actually another intelligence operative. This was her test and she passed. . .but only barely. . .which apparently is enough for the CIA. Congrats! And Bridget helped them pick her out, so she’s gone now, presumably to other CIA operations. So D student Kate is their girl now! We’ll be in safe hands.

So, for the last seven years, I’ve watched Desperate Housewives every Sunday night. I need my show to ease me into my work week. With this being the last season of that show, I’m trying to find a suitable replacement. We’ll see what comes out next year, but I found Pan Am enjoyable.

It’s totally cheesy, and some of the dialogue is cringeworthy, but it’s fun. I have to believe, that, like The Playboy Club, the lives of these stewardesses are greatly exaggerated. I also hope this show is on long enough where we progress to the point where the ladies had to wear this lovely getup. It’s not amazing tv, and I don’t expect it to make me think, but it’s colorful and playful, and scheduled well. It’ll take you to another time and place for an hour, and sometimes, that’s all we need.

What it’s against on Network TV:
CBS: CSI: Miami
NBC: Sunday Night Football
FOX: Local News
CW: Local News

What it’s against on my DVR:

Verdict: I’ll add it. . .mainly to have something to tide me over on Sunday nights in case the show that replaces DH sucks.

Prediction: There really aren’t good options on for women at that time (unless your football team is playing that week. And as a Browns fan, that ain’t happening.), so I think it’ll do ok. I predict a Season 2.

The Breakdown

Person whose relative is a reference to Bernie Madoff: Nope!

Appearance by an incidental cop: I didn’t see one. . .

Weight comments: Yes! Can’t weigh that plane down!

Pearl of wisdom: “Word of advice, wear the girdle!”

Weird Local News Promo Content: “Gas prices are going down!”

Oh my gosh! That’s: Casper’s friend!

"I want to be a stewardess when I grow up!"


About gluedtothetube

Who loves tv? Um, everyone! Especially me. I'm always looking for the next show I actually watch live (vs. DVR), so why not let me watch for you and tell you what's awesome (and what's. . .well. ..notsomuch. . .)
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3 Responses to Pan Am

  1. Michael says:

    Yes, the JFK Worldport appears to have been nice back in the day. Too bad I still have to use that terminal to fly Delta and the building hasn’t changed since 1960 which makes it like flying from a third world country (complete with pigeons and pigeon poo).

  2. Pingback: Who Got Renewed? | Glued to the Tube

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