Monday, September 26, 2011


As yet another addition to the period-specific dramas ("Mad Men," "Boardwalk Empire," and "The Playboy Club") that focus on one profession to tell the history of a certain age, "Pan Am" illustrates the Cold War period as a time of revolutionary change through the eyes of stewardesses. Some were intellects slash activists, some were natural born nomads, and some were spies.
"Pan Am" was the first global airline and as such was protected by the Geneva Convention against any political restraints, allowing them to participate in rescue missions and giving them access to forbidden locations. Its stewardesses and pilots were some of the most well-traveled and most trusted professionals in the world. They lived by a code of perfection and were considered the best in the business. According to the series, their limitless access and pristine reputation inspired the government, both CIA and MI-6, to use them as secret agents, passing information and acquiring it. And when they weren't swiping passports and conducting clandestine meetings, they were wading in the tumultuous waters of love—some falling to the whims of secretly married men and others forgoing the white picket fences of the American dream for a life of exploration.

In the series, each stewardess has an interesting backstory, explaining what led them to pursue a corner office in the sky. Laura (Margot Robbie) is a runaway bride. Her sister Kate (Kelli Garner from "My Generation" and Going the Distance) is tired of living in her shadow and eager to no longer be underestimated. Maggie (Christina Ricci) wants to see more of the world and one day change it. Colette (Karine Vanasse) is a carefree soul, who once unknowingly had an affair with a married passenger. And Bridget (Annabelle Wallis from "The Tudors") fell in love with pilot Dean (Mike Vogel from She's Out of My League) while secretly working for the government. When he proposed, she had to disappear and recommended Kate as her replacement to the G-men, and Kate gladly accepted the challenge. Meanwhile, Maggie waits in the wings, hoping Dean finally notices her affections for him. (It's like "Grey's Anatomy" on a plane.) Ultimately, their ambition to be apart of an elite sorority of professional women and the hope for more to life sucks you into their world. It's like co-pilot Ted (Michael Mosley from "Scrubs") says, "They're not like normal women. They're mutations…They don't know that they're a new breed of women."
I know at first it all looks and sounds like a commercial for why you should fly more often, and, much like "The Playboy Club," a glorification of an objectifying profession, but that's not why you should watch. You should watch to join these ladies on what seems like the beginning of a great adventure.

1 comment:

  1. ..........i could not get into this. like, at all. i thought it was unbelievably boring.