Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Christina Ricci is God. For me, she can do no wrong. And her very involvement in tv's new series, Pan Am, naturally captured my interest. The series pilot, entitled "Pilot," took its maiden flight Sunday night. Frankly, I loved it (and I don't enjoy much network programming). If you missed the first voyage, check out the episode at ABC.com.
Set in the Swingin' Sixties, Kennedy Era, Pan Am's soundtrack punches across the retro quality of its main conceit beautifully. Blatantly the distaff side of Madmen, the show's milieu showcases the glamorous career of stewardesses of the time. Flying was still an elitist enterprise; men and boys could not board without jackets and ties, and ladies had to dress stylishly. Sexism ruled, and flight attendants needed to be female and of a certain build and look (eye candy, or Playboy Bunnies of the air... though in classier uniforms). The show makes a point of the importance of a girdle in the still buttoned-up time period. It was a very rigid epoch and yet, while recently flying, I observed the tastelessness and slatternly appearances of passengers and the frazzled, harried and sometimes slovenly attendants, missing Pan Am's golden days of air travel. Today, it's just an overpriced flying bus, I'm afraid. Back then, it was a whole experience.
Attention to detail is very good in terms of costumes and set design. Thomas Schlamme's (Christine Lahti's hubby) direction is solid as the soap operatics unreel with much flahbacking. (Ooo, even the Bay of Pigs with Christina there! I've been to the bay of pigs, by the way, but it wasn't in Cuba, I can tell you that. Side note: I was conceived in Guantanamo. But I digress.) Drama and intrigue abound during this nearly 45-minute episode and, though it can get trite at times, it is a bit of a camp romp that evokes such '60s big-screen soapers as Three Coins in a Fountain and The Best of Everything. A refreshing retro delight for today's tv.
Margot Robbie, Karine Vanassi and Kelli Garner join Greenwich Village bohemian Ricci (in Pan Am drag, and woefully seen too little in this pilot) in the manufactured turbulence provided. I say tune in and turn on, fasten your seat belts and keep a cocktail on hand for a fun but bumpy evening.