Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flying the Firendly Skies

Well color me surprised. Pan Am may be a Mad Men rip-off, but it's actually good. Not only that, it's also delightfully different from Mad Men. Shocker.

The show follows the lives of (so far) four Pan Am stewardesses in the 1960s. Unlike Playboy Club, which tried to get me to swallow the idea that being a bunny was a way for women in the 1960s to assert their independence and break free of the cultural restrictions of the day, becoming a Pan Am stewardess legitimately was a way for some women to gain some measure of freedom. Sign up and see the world and all that rot.

The show looks great; it may not be as "realistic" a portrayal of the 1960s as we get with Mad Men (not as much smoking and drinking and bleakness), but it's a colorful, slick, and rich show. The women are all beautiful with perfect hair and makeup, and the men are all hot and pilots.

Our leading ladies. Other good news about the show: it's a real ensemble and doesn't revolve around Christina Ricci. Not that I don't love her, but it's nice they let the unknowns play too.

It could have easily lapsed into The Love Boat on an airplane, but there's some subplots involving the mysterious disappearance of one of the stewardesses and some Cold War international intrigue (seriously) that makes things a bit more compelling. But even without that, what's not to love about fabulous vintage clothes, romantic entanglements, and the thrill of jet-setting across the world in the era when jet-setting was new?

That's something else about the show I really loved: there's very little cynicism. I love Mad Men, but when watching it the sense of "things were not all they were cracked up to be SEE WHAT I MEAN" is palpable. With Pan Am, at least so far, you don't really get that. It's all powder blue uniforms, perfect lip gloss, and dreams of a better life. With a side of spies that is.


So chalk this one up as another Maggie recommendation. I've had pretty good luck with the new shows this fall, more than I can remember in recent years in fact. Next up for tomorrow: Terra Nova. Will it live it up to the hype? Check back and find out!


Whitney said...

yay...i was hoping it wouldn't suck

Maggie Cats said...

Indeed, it does NOT suck. Hurray!