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calendar   Saturday - October 22, 2011

Time Filler

Ok, I’m about done in at this point. I’ve got 75% of the concrete out and the room all cleaned up. My hands are pretty sore from wielding the rock hammer and chisel all afternoon. More of it tomorrow, and the next day, and maybe some Tuesday or Wednesday, but this isn’t that big or involved a project so it should go pretty quick. Nothing much to go wrong (crosses fingers).

Took a little time to veg out in front of the TV. Since we’ve caught up with all of our shows, and it seems to be one of those rerun weeks with no new episodes of our faves, we sat and pulled up the new series Pan Am. I guess it’s jumping on the Early 60’s Bandwagon that Mad Men is driving, but with a bit smaller dose of reality and much more girlie drama. It’s cute, and a bit of fun, but I’m not sure if it’s going to *ahem* take off. For whatever reason, ABC is billing it as a Christina Ricci vehicle, though she’s just one member of the cast and doesn’t seem to get more time on camera than anyone else. The show is set in 1963, yet hardly anyone is seen smoking. But you do get to see all those old cars, old clothing styles, and CGI renderings of those old jetliners. Mostly 707s, but I think I saw a 727 in an airport scene. The pilots actually have to fly the planes too; no computer driven everything, so we’ve had one nearly sideways landing in the rain that came out alright but earned the pilot a black eye. Hey, it’s the early 60’s, so let your fists do your talking, then go out for a scotch.

You can tell it’s the long-ago past: airport security is non-existent. Embassy security is non-existent. Heck, in one episode JFK is giving his “I am a jelly donut” speech in Berlin, and one plucky stew who really wants to meet him (Ricci) runs across the airport tarmac at night to Air Force One and gets right to the base of the stairs before anyone stops her. With her Cuban cigars no less. He got the cigars, she got a wave, and she didn’t get tasered or shot at all!

So far it’s pretty people flying planes with little stopovers all around the world, but there are several plot lines. Our young and dashing Captain gets flack from the older generation of WWII vet pilots, but his heart was broken by the mysterious Bridget Pierce, a stewardess that just suddenly disappeared. That’s because she was secretly a CIA courier who screwed up, and they canned her. Or so we are lead to believe. Our co-pilot has a dark past; a former test pilot who got tossed from the Navy, but with a rich daddy in the military industrial world who got him the airline job. Ricci’s character Maggie is the purser, kind of the lady in charge onboard, but at home she lives in some Beat Generation co-ed flophouse. It’s 1963, M’kay, so the Beats aren’t out Occupying anything, or even having a Protest or a Love-In. They’re trying to change the world by writing college theses quoting Marx and Engels. Not much bo in these bohemians. Then there’s the hot redhead, the sorta Gina Davis looking character Kate Cameron (actress Kelli Garner), who has always been the rebel child of rich parents and is going her own way through life. She’s also been recruited to be the next bag lady for the CIA now that Bridget is absent, but almost screws up every assignment. Almost. Under her wing is her high society little sister Laura, who ran away from her own wedding to go out and live life to the fullest. Guess marrying Mr. Handsome and his family fortune was just too sticky, so she and sis do a Thelma and Louise at the wedding and the next thing we know, little sis has the blue uniform too. Big sis is having a hard time letting her little sibling spread her wings, which leads to several sisterly squabbles. Our last flying adventuress is Colette, played by Canadian actress Karine Vanasse. She’s French. She is gently adorable with her bangs and her great big eyes. She like surprises, but meeting her lover on the plane accompanied by his wife and son isn’t the kind of surprise she was thinking of. A few episodes later at the American Embassy in Berlin, the former Luftwaffe headquarters, the German ambassador compliments her on her excellent German. Thanks, she says, I was forced to learn it when I was 10. She then grabs the spotlight and sings the crowd the Deutschlandlied ("Deutschland über alles"), which is a total dis - very French - because it was the song of the Nazis and was actually sort of illegal to sing it in 1963. Well, the first verse anyway, which is what she sang. The fairly new country of West Germany had adopted the song as it’s anthem, but only the third verse. But the Nazis killed her parents, so she hates the dirty boche forever. Colette is quickly becoming my favorite character.

So it’s a cute little show, with plenty of eye candy. They’re all good looking, though Ricci isn’t my type. I thought at first that the actress playing Laura was Jamie Pressly, but it’s not. That role went to Australian actress Margot Robbie, who looks like a younger improved version. Yeah, as if Jamie Pressly is old, or in need of any improvement. Not. But Robbie is stunning ...

image
Margot Robbie plays Laura Cameron



Whether Pan Am turns into a high altitude soap opera or a Cold War spy drama, or a lose-the-corporate-required-girdles-and-high-heels proto-feminsta show, or a leading-edge-of-the-sexual-revolution show, remains to be seen. So far both pilots, a newspaperman, and a drunk passenger have all hit on the ladies, and all have been rebuffed to one extent or another. One even got stabbed a little with a cooking utensil. Although the pilot may have scored with Colette. He was really drunk and can’t remember anything other than his clumsy dancing, and she’ll only say that they had a nice moment. She is French you know, and they were in Paris.

In the meantime, it’s not hard to watch.


image
Karine Vanasse as Colette Valois

No, not hard to watch at all.


Pan Am has been reviewed all over the place, because TV writers need to make a living too. Is it retro, is it just a costume drama, is it sexist, is it this or that? Pining for a lost Golden Era of Innocence? Read all you want. Or just look at the pictures of the pretty people. Pan Am airs Sunday nights.
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1223538944/nm3053338
http://tv.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/arts/television/pan-am-takes-off-on-abc-review.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/flights-of-fancy-a-new-tv-series-celebrates-the-swinging-sixties-era-of-pan-am-stewardesses-2362571.html
http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-alan-watching/posts/pan-am-ich-bin-ein-berliner-deutschland-ber-alles
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Entertainment/20110919/karine-vanasse-pan-am-110919/


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/22/2011 at 10:08 PM   
Filed Under: • Television •  
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