Monday, September 26, 2011

Pan Am Premieres!!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

When I first heard about Pan Am, I admit that I was only kinda interested. I fly a lot, though I never had the chance to fly the legendary airline. Plus, I enjoy period television when it is done well and in a way that I get to learn things. (Yes, as much I as love uneducational shows like How I Met Your Mother and Teen Mom, I am also thrilled when I can gain new knowledge about anything from airline histories to uniforms to foreign slang.) The show niggled at me for a few weeks as I learned about the dozens of new shows to air this season. However, the casting is what ultimately pushed me into giving the show a chance. Between Christina Ricci (I've been a fan since I was about ten years old) and the late-add Mike Vogel (loved him as Dr. DeLeo on the short-lived Miami Medical a couple years ago), I was ready to commit. And, here we go with the first episode. [I'll even spare you the pilots-in-the-Pilot jokes.]

Pan Am "Pilot" (S01E01): We start off with a great soundtrack and whirlwind view of the bustle in an airport. Some basic information about the ladies who work for Pan Am is relayed through some girls reading a magazine article in the background (PanAm stewardesses are all college-educated, under age 32, and unmarried). There are also weight requirements, nail requirements, girdle requirements, and you must not have any runs in your stockings. [I'm sure we'll hear more about these as time goes on.] There's something strange going on when Maggie, Christina Ricci's character, is home and suddenly gets a call asking her to volunteer to be on a flight from New York to London immediately. (This is particularly strange because Maggie is on probation of sorts for violating a wardrobe requirement - most likely not wearing her girdle.) So, she rushes to the airport (helicoptered from the Pan Am HQ, actually), as the purser (chief flight attendant) for the flight. [and yes, there seemed to be an editing issue with her hairstyle as everyone else on the internet has noted.]

Then, we meet the pilots: captain Dean and co-pilot Ted. Dean has recently been promoted to captain, and is flying this maiden voyage on the newest clipper jet. He's rather preoccupied as he flies, however; it seems that Bridget, the purser who was supposed to be the purser on this flight, is missing. They later receive word via radio that Bridget has unexpectedly resigned, and Dean believes it might be because he proposed to her recently (in Cuba, as they were transporting released prisoners), though she has not yet accepted. [Interesting. I mean, you hear a lot about pilot-stewardess relationships, but still... so stereotypical in the first episode? Also, I'd like to learn more about Ted...]

There are three other stewardesses on this route, assisting Maggie. The first is Kate, a veteran stewardess who speaks three language (English, Italian, and possibly French?), who has some sneaky footwork going on. It began back in Rome a few months ago, where she met someone whom Bridget arranged for her to meet. (It seems that Bridget worked for some US-British Intelligence organization while with Pan Am...) Now, she must swap out a Russian passenger's passport, but it ends up only being a test - the passenger in question turns out to be a British contact for her new side work. [I didn't see this coming. All this espionage-esque stuff has me on the edge of my seat!]

Photo: ABC's PanAm on Facebook
Laura, Kate's sister, is a new hire, and already on the cover of Life magazine, posing as the face of Pan Am stewardesses. She's asked several times throughout out episode if it is her on the cover, as seen to the right. Laura turned to the world of flying after she walked out on her wedding in Connecticut six months prior. We don't yet know too much about what happened, aside from the fact that their mother does not approve of Kate being a stewardess, and that Laura envied her sister's world travels and wanted to do the same.

Then, there's Colette, who had relations with a man aboard the plane three months earlier (in Rome), but this time he's traveling with his family so he must be discreet. The wife/mother figures out what went on, and says something to Colette as she exits the plane, though as least she doesn't make a scene. [eh. Colette isn't winning the early-favorite slot with me...]

After they land in London, Dean calls Bridget, who lives in the city. When he finds out that her number has been disconnected, he goes to her apartment and uses his key to enter. However, she isn't there and most of her possessions are gone... though she did leave the wings that he had given her. [awwww!] The viewer isn't sure if Dean is aware of Bridget's involvement with the Intelligence folks, but it sure doesn't look that way, especially when Bridget is outside the bar, looking in as Dean and Ted have drinks. [what's with that? Is she going into hiding or something??]

Other thoughts: There is a LOT of space on these flights... having space to yourself, to draw, to lay out your work, etc. The flashback to the Bay of Pigs' Cuban prisoners release was kinda strange. I thought it felt rushed, but I guess that's what really happened. Perhaps we'll learn more about that day at some point. I thought the music was great, and that seems to be a big gripe for many. I look forward to more vintage fashion, historical information, and great storylines. I'm most curious about the guy working on his dissertation at Maggie's apartment, and what's going on with Bridget. What were your favorite parts of this show, and are you going to tune in again?
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