Guest Blog Post: Pan Am Episode 2 Review and Contest

by on October 6, 2011 · 90 comments

in Guest Blog Posts, Pan Am the Show

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My sister-in-law Danielle is back again with a review of the second episode of ABC’s Pan Am. I suspect that, like her, many of you have been disappointed with the show’s bumpy ride so far, but take a look at her synopsis, and get in on the contest she talks about at the end!


Bonjour and welcome aboard to my week-two review of Pan Am; “We’ll Always Have Paris.” For such a romantic backdrop the second episode in ABC’s new series hardly got the blood boiling. I found myself feeling just about as dispassionate as the episode’s storylines as I perched on the couch preparing to write this post. So with nowhere else to turn I checked out ABC’s website for some inspiration and instead found one comment online that pretty much sums the show up for me at this point, “Where’s the turbulence??”

While it’s true that on a flight the last thing you want is a rocky ride, the opposite is true for a sexy new primetime drama, but the thrills just weren’t there this week … again. Here’s what did happen.

During the opening Maggie proves that she has a big mouth and a quick wit when she challenges the matriarch of the stewardesses in defense of Laura, who is chastised for gaining a pound and threatened with a review of her “personal weight limit.” Later in the show I did sit up a little straighter when a drunken first class passenger followed Maggie into the galley in pursuit of more than the lavatory. Maggie thwarts his advances by poking him with a serving utensil and scolds, “I am not included in the price of your ticket.” Later there is a predictable argument between the co-pilot Ted, and the same passenger – apparently the man has the power to get Maggie fired over the incident (an example of 60′s lack-of gender equality), but settles for another free drink before landing. Maggie expresses her indignation over this resolution since the unruly flyer didn’t learn anything from being forked and will go on to accost the next pretty stewardess. Interesting to note that Maggie claims that it is her job to know the names of each and every first class passenger – she also serves escargot and pâté. Imagine that: a time when flight attendants thought of passengers as individuals and first class was like a gourmet restaurant in the sky. Sigh.

Colette cozies up to heartbroken Dean after he gives her a lift to the airport. However, everyone’s intentions are all above board and instead of a sizzling scene between the sheets, Colette ends up escorting Dean around Paris attempting to track down someone who might know the whereabouts of his ex-girlfriend, the missing flight attendant Bridget. The scene ends with Dean and Colette slow-dancing in the street as they are both “lost” (Colette presumably after her fling with a married man in the previous episode). Then …nothing. Ah, Paris. The fun fact snuck into this story line? A restaurant maître d’ informs the Colette and Dean that Bridget was, allegedly, a married woman, and Colette explains (for our benefit I’m sure) that secret marriages were a necessity among stewardesses who wished to remain employed since airlines had a strict single-status policy for flight attendants.

Laura is still estranged from her parents and her fiancé after running out on her wedding to join big sister Kate as a Pan Am stewardess. But, after Laura’s mother surprises her daughters by showing up on their fight we learn that apparently Laura’s appearance on the cover of Life far overshadowed the embarrassment that leaving her groom at the altar caused her family, and now her mother wants her back. A yawn-inducing set of scenes follow where mom reveals that she has brought Laura’s ex to Paris to reconcile. After running from him a second time the two have a heartfelt discussion about life’s adventures and part as friends (with the Eiffel Tower shining through the window). Really?! The modern-day air industry takeaway from this set of events is that even so many years ago flight benefits were extended to family members. Maggie lets Kate and Laura know that their parents can fly for free, and during the flight Laura upgrades her mom to first class because there’s space.

Perhaps, the biggest disappointment? I’m just not that drawn (yet) to what is probably meant to be the most interesting plotline – Kate and her new role as an American spy. She finally finds out what happened to Bridget (after compromising her identity by not following orders, Bridget is discharged and relocated to Missouri) and despite hearing about how Bridget had to sacrifice everything for the “cause” and regrets it, Kate is still inexplicably compelled to continue her career in espionage. I guess that even with how “liberating” it is to be a Pan Am stewardess, it still doesn’t imbue the ladies with a real sense of purpose in life.

I’m still holding out hope that Pan Am will fly us into some juicier territory. I just hope that it’s sooner rather than later (as in, before cancellation) – because I’m beginning to wonder if spending an actual hour on a plane (in coach) would be more tantalizing . . . à la prochaine!

PS: There is a contest going on at the moment that can win you one of those glam Pan Am bags I mentioned last week. Simply follow the show @PanAmABC on Twitter and tweet them a message (up to once a day) with the hashtag “#panam” before 1pm Eastern Time on October 7th, 2011, to be eligible. Official rules and regulations.

The chances of a TPG reader winning that are small, so Brian has agreed to give an Orion bag (in the color of your choosing) to a lucky TPG winner. All you need to do is comment your thoughts on this show (or why you don’t watch it) on this blog post. Winner will be announced in my next review. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jimgotkp

    I think the show is great but not a fan of the espionage aspect.

  • ian

    Zero comments so far? Gotta change that!

  • HT

    I love the espionage aspect of the show! How else are the producers suppose to come up with something exciting every week about a flight crew? It’d be reduced to desperate housewives but only in the air.

  • BigR3dBears

    I think it would be a great show, but didn’t get around to watch it yet

  • Liberatr

    I think the biggest problem with the show is the lack of a “juicy storyline”. The espionage aspect is the most appealing to me so far but seems almost like a side story in the show. Hopefully this turns around!

  • Mjones

    I think it’s a great show. Should be interesting to see this season’s storyline unfold!

  • Sara

    I was born in the 80′s and I love watching the show just to catch a glimpse of how things were in the 60′s. How people dressed and spoke and FLEW!!!! I agree though, it needs some spice!!

  • Karen Bernhardt

    Between Playboy Club and Pan Am, Pan Am definitely wins the 1960s new-show showdown… although I still think Pan Am has room to spread its wings. Lots of promise, so my fingers are crossed!

  • aussieflyer

    Although travel related so interests me more I’d rather be flying myself or working on ways to get in the sky, them wasting my time.
    So no watching for me.

  • Wissou

    I started watching this show because it’s just so entertaining to see the beginning of mass transportation, the society at that time… it’s like Mad Men but in the air !

  • Heels05

    This has potential to be a great show visiting a new location each week and see the way flying used to be.

  • MG

    I love the show! It is a great addition to the era of Mad Men and Playboy Club.

  • Allen Wong

    Don’t watch the show, but that is a pretty sweet bag.

  • DJ Flem

    Being a frequent traveler myself, this show makes me wish I was alive during the Pan Am heyday where everything just seemed easier with Airline travel. To look at what goes on now to the way things used to be, it’s amazing how different Airline travel has become in 50 years.

  • sfobuddy

    I don’ watch the show because it depresses, when I compare it the current state of travel…

  • Matt

    My grandpa worked as a mechanic for Pan Am from the 40′s through the early 80′s, and flew around the world multiple times as he was able to fly for free. One story he used to tell was how his coworkers one time asked him what he did over a long weekend, and he’d reply that he flew to Hong Kong to buy a suit. My dad and his sister flew around the world when he was 18 and she was 21, and they visited places like Afghanistan and Iran all while staying with Pan Am ‘friends’. It’s these stories that has inspired my love for travel, and I love watching the show to see what it was like back in the golden age of flying.

  • Katie S

    I like it so far. It is fun to think about how travel used to be. I am young enough to have not seen those days. It must have been quite the thing back then!

  • Dayna

    I am enjoying the show so far. I am in my mid 30′s and I see these women as paving the way for the rest of us!

  • Steveg22

    I was disappointed with the 1st episode and will move on to other shows. Not sure this will make it a full season unless ratings improve.

  • Anonymous

    I like the show – and love how glam it makes airline travel look. I always wanted to be a flight attendant, and this makes me wish I was born in another era so that I could be one in the best time to work in the airline industry!

  • Connor

    Like the show, LOVE the bag (hint hint). Actually, I do agree that this show is a bit less juicy than I’d hoped for. But I live the nostalgia and seeing all those empty middle seats on board. Oh how I long for the empty middle!!

  • Sean

    The show is decent. I’ve seen both episodes and haven’t deleted it from the Series Manager in my DVR. I hope it delves more into espionage and the cold war.

  • Alexis L

    I haven’t seen the show but I like the concept. Nostalgic shows are always fun to watch!

  • Angela

    I think the show is interesting and have it DVR-ed!

  • Chadda Manish

    Me and my wife love the show actually, we think it could develop into a great series and are really hoping it doesn’t get cancelled. I love seeing what air travel used to be in the “good ‘ol days”. My wife is actually dressing up as a pan am flight attendant for halloween….that bag would make the costume!

  • Joel

    The show is visually appealing, however, I feel the content is lacking the “oomph” it needs to remain in/on air.

  • Vespa_girl

    Every time I see the billboard advertising the show, I get Frank Sinatra playing in my head…
    Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away
    If you can use some exotic booze
    There’s a bar in far Bombay
    Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away …

  • Jane

    I watched the show, Pan Am, because I was a part of this era. I flew for TWA in the late 60′s based in NYC. I lived with 2 PanAm girls and many of the details of the show have brought back many memories. We wore girdles, hats and gloves, dreaded weight check, worked a detailed service even in coach, and knew we had a job people envied. The disappointing part of the show is the plot, which is so ridiculous it is unbelievable. We were just regular girls from small towns around America, who had a love of travel and enjoyed people. I never knew a spy, although many of the girls left behind a sad boyfriend to follow her dream. We worked harder than any flight attendant does today, but I wouldn’t change a minute of that magical time when flying, even to Peoria or Wichita, was always an adventure.

  • Marina

    After reading this blog post, I think I’ll start watching the show. It may not be the best one out there, but its being about air travel will surely appeal to an airplane/travel geek like me. :)

    Maybe you should start posting more reviews of films & shows with a focus on flying, perhaps as guest posts? I’d definitely like to see some new ones, particularly since they are so few and far in between.

  • Jessica Kramer

    I have been disappointed so far in the show, but as the wife of a commercial pilot I feel obligated to watch. ;o) Even my husband is watching the show which is unusal for him. He was happy that the show at least used the correct cockpit for the PANAM aircraft. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the show picks up a bit and keeps me interested. Otherwise, at least I am DVRing it and can fast forward.

  • Eddy

    I’m a fan of the show. As much as I enjoy flying now, I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it even more back then. Random side note: it blows my mind that Christina Ricci is in the show — I still remember her as Wednesday from The Addams Family movie!

  • Benthelefty

    I was initially intrigued by the show but haven’t watched because it looks to be a drama, airline version of Desperate Housewives or something (a bunch of people sleeping around and what not). Of course this is a surface level perception but that has kept me from watching. As others have stated, the air/flying part is intriguing, so maybe I’ll re-read the analysis and give it a go!

  • Trev

    I watched the first episode, but Mad Men is better

  • Henkelri

    I need to watch this show, I’ve been hearing mixed reviews. I loved Mile High, the british campy series about flight attendants and the travel industry, I just feel like nothing can compare. But…I need to give it a shot.

  • Amanda

    I like the show, but mostly for all the little details about being an independent-minded woman getting to travel the world in the ’60s. I feel like if I had lived then I would have joined them for a life of adventure in the skies!

  • Heather ✈

    Honestly, I haven’t even heard of the show. So that’s why I haven’t been watching it. But it looks pretty cool!

  • Diane

    I actually really like this how! I love the retro look and feel of the whole show and great production quality!

  • Michael

    I’ve watched the first two episodes and I’m a fan! It’s awesome to have a show that focuses on the airline industry. From the first few episodes, it feels like it’s going to be a mix of Alias (undercover identity) mixed with the thing we love – flying! Just a nice series that brings you back to that excitement of traveling and often times some of the – not so good – side of flying.

  • Valerie Glassman

    I love the show! The drama of women and men at 30,000 feet, the gender inequity… it’s a fascinating commentary on the 60s!

  • Hnthompson

    I admit it, I got sucked in too!

  • bradley (“Carberrie”)

    I have not watched this show yet. In spite of all the negative reviews, I really want to watch it! I just haven’t had the time to yet…

  • HeatherC

    I love watching Pan Am, even though the story lines are rather far fetched. I love the contrast in times, and the glamour. It feeds my obsession with travel, which I don’t get to do much of these days.

  • tiffany

    the show makes flight travel seem glamorous.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t been watching but after reading the review maybe I will start.

  • Bradley B.

    It hasn’t even occurred to me to start watching it. The one thing that might change my mind is your on-going reviews.

  • Rob S.

    Show started out slow, but I’m a fan of it so far. I’m a big fan of Mad Men, and watching Pan Am got me thinking -would it have been more fun to be a Pam Am pilot or an Ad Man in the 1960s NYC? Probably an Ad Man.

  • Corinne L.

    Being a collector of vintage magazines from the 60′s and crazy for anything nostalgia inducing made me jump on the bandwagon for Pan Am. I am in the same boat as most…love the idea of it, but wish the drama and suspense were kicked up a few notches before it leads to network execs pulling the plug. I do think there are a couple of solid storylines going on (Will there be a Collette/Dean/Bridgette love triangle? Will Kate have to change her identity and suffer the same fate as others?) I think the writers need to find a better way in linking everything together and bringing the cliffhangers on a weekly basis. My husband and I love traveling and I do believe that this show gives you what you crave when it comes to airline nostalgia. What would it be like to travel in the Kennedy era 60′s? To dress in a suit and tie or a dress and furs to travel? The thing I like about the show the most is that it transports you back to a time, that someone who is an 80′s baby like myself, never experienced or will ever get to experience. I still buy old Life magazines on ebay for the sole purpose of all of those wonderful retro ad’s that bring you to another time and place and that’s why I’ll tune in week after week until the t.v. executives decide otherwise.

  • doraemon kerpal

    My family watches the show but I haven’t picked it up yet. Thanks for the reviews. Now I can jump in anytime and know what’s been going on in the show. The Playboy Club was already canceled. I wonder if this one will survive.

  • Andrew

    The interesting thing about this show is the level of outdoor advertising I’ve seen for it. Every time I rode MTA for a month I spotted their ads.

  • Richard Dimperio

    I’m only one episode in and not ready to declare mayday just yet.

  • Jackie

    I am enjoying this new show, not loving it, but liking it… and I am hoping for more. Nostalgia for the more glamorous days of flying helps keep me interested!

  • edog

    Have not watched the show yet. But would start if I had a slick bag like that to put my popcorn in while watched.

  • Moshe Billet

    Haven’t watched the show and probably won’t. I got rid of TV six months ago and recently got rid of Netflix in solidarity with all the people who now hate them. I spend my free time instead reading TPG’s blog.

  • Dago Fonticiella

    I like the show. First episode was more exciting. They even mentioned Cuba!!

  • Lifeandstylemadrid

    This week bored me. I am going to give it one more week to see if I can get hooked in! Now you want something addicting? Try watching ´Revenge´…

  • Tom

    I thought the first episode was a bit better, but it’s still early to tell. Will be interesting to see if things click – hope they do!

  • Sam

    I totally agree with your review. The show is a bit lame and could use a bit more excitement. But I will keep watching because now I’m hooked!

  • JRG

    I prefer to not watch it; would rather remember Pan Am as it was……

  • LikeBright

    There is so much potential for the show, the concept is cool and sexy, but it lacks that it factor.

  • oldmanpeabody

    I agree with LikeBright. I tried to make it through the first episode but after 20 minutes I was done. It felt like Mad Men on an airplane without the cleverness (and with the relatively clunky-looking CG planes).

  • Sajer Guy

    The style and production quality is great, but it needs a littler more controversy to keep it interesting. BTW, those Orion bags are eye-catching, sort of like the show!

  • Cassie

    It seems they’re trying hard to emulate other period pieces (thinking Mad Men), but so far it all seems very cliche and the dialog forced at times. I’m still hoping it will pick up after a few episodes.

  • Suze

    Like the look and feel but it needs more storyline and action. Something to make us more vested in the characters and the plot.

  • JD

    I don’t like the Kate the spy story line. I like what’s happening with her and Laura, so it’s not that I dislike Kate, but I wish they had chosen to do something else with her. Otherwise, I love Maggie and want to see more of her.

  • ksh1111

    Really trying to like it, but not grabbing me yet!

  • RampWidget

    Good point Rob… I love the Mad Men scene too. But – I’d have to go with the fun of the Pan Am flyboys. You commanded a multi-thousand pound kerosene-drinking screaming piece of sculpted aluminum around the globe. The envy of every wide-eyed young boy and the object of desire of sophisticated, intelligent & beautiful women. Porters to carry your luggage to your luxury layover hotel in Naples… my mind’s made up. Now where DID I hide that Way-Back machine that was in the garage? It was there last week, dammit…

  • Jason Kitchens

    I haven’t watched the show yet (I get all of my TV on Hulu and ABC is the last man standing that doesn’t stream to Hulu) BUT I’m using my Amex MR points to get to Key West next week, thanks to your blog, which happens to be home to the inagural flight of Pan Am… definitely going to check out the original building. One of those bags would be a great way to get my carry-on’s to the birthplace of Pan Am!

  • bobo07666

    The women look good but as many others have noted – the show is slooow. Better pick it up before the novelty wears off

  • MSPpete

    Show is nicely filmed, but plot needs a lot of work for it to be interesting. Likely will be cancelled in a few weeks.

  • sushidoctor

    love it so far, if not only for the costumes!

  • Ilimas

    Cool and glam, but boring. I so wanted to like this show.

  • Nate

    I hope the show picks up soon. Getting really bored watching it.

  • Charles Clarke

    I think the review done here by Danielle shows adequately why I don’t watch this show. If I wanted to watch cute girls with attitude, there are plenty of better ways.

  • Jen

    I love the costumes and the theatricality — but agree that it hasn’t really taken off yet. Still, it’s a fun escape!

  • Benstephens

    I watched the first episode, but it didn’t pull me in.

  • Jeff B

    Really want this show to be great. Thought the first two weeks were ok, but not hooked yet. Will give it a couple more weeks before giving up though.

  • Dale Rausch

    Now that the Playboy Club is cancelled, this is the only period show worth watching, until Mad Men comes back.

  • Lyssa

    I’ve watched the first two episodes. I really want to like this show, but so far it’s just really slow moving. On another note, I think this bag would be super cute, I really like the light blue!

  • Rachel

    It’s alright–I’ll keep watching through the end of the season. Love the CGI and uniforms, though!

  • Elena

    I really enjoy this show, maybe not as much as Mad Men, but definitely transports you back to a time when flying was glamorous.

  • Jenny N

    I’ve really tried to watch the first 2 eps and like it, but nothing has really captured my interest in it. Disappointing because it looked so good in the previews, I was pretty excited for it.

  • Lauren

    your review has convinced me to try watching it this week!

  • Jenny

    I was really excited about this series and watched both episodes. But the plot is a little weak and has not been drawing me in… I think I’ll give it one more try with the 3rd episode, but not more than that.

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  • Tanya Sydney

    I like the show so far, but perhaps that’s because I’m a former Pan Am
    stewardess, so the show is bringing back many wonderful memories for me.
    I loved the company and I loved air travel in those days. Now it’s
    absolutely horrid. I do hope that the story lines get a bit more
    interesting though. The one thing that is really annoying is that the
    pilots in the series are all young. Pan Am hired only very experienced
    senior pilots with many miles of flight experience in the military, not
    some young just out of college hunks.

    Also, the crew never stayed together after a flight, but instead flew
    one assignment and then parted ways and got assigned to a totally new
    crew for the next flight. But I suppose it would be challenging to keep a
    storyline together if new actors were constantly needed for each show.

    What I love the most about the show is the wonderful “look” of it….
    the planes, the uniforms, the airports. And I just love that the
    passengers standing in line to board the planes are all dressed up as if
    they’re going to the theater or out to a fancy restaurant. That’s
    exactly how I remembered most of the passengers dress. Air travel was a
    very special occasion for people in those days. Off course, the tickets
    cost a lot more too, especially overseas which is the only place Pan Am
    flew, so only those with some financial means were able to fly.

    This last episode was just a little bit more interesting than the
    previous two, so I hope this is an indication that the show will bring
    us some intelligent scrips in the future, and not just cotton candy
    fluff. I’m not sure that I agree that the show needs to show more “conflict
    between the characters” to make it more interesting. We can see character
    conflict on many other TV shows. What’s special about this show is that it takes
    place in many different countries around the world, during a very interesting
    historical period in the US – that is what should be the focus of all the episodes.

    For starters, I could easily write half a dozen scripts just on the drama of flying
    as an honorary 2nd lieutenant in the Army, when Pan Am planes were chartered
    by the US military to fly combat troops in and out of Vietnam. THAT will give you drama, excitement, reality, and history. Then there were flights into Beirut, during the war in
    that region, seeing tanks lining the airstrip as the planes landed, and stewardesses literally
    risking their lives walking around the marketplace alone and unescorted. Then there was Paris
    in the moonlight and the Moulin Rouge….ahhh. Ok, I’d better stop, but you get the picture.
    There were sooo many interesting experiences shared by many Pan Am stewardesses, that the producers have absolutely no excuse not to be able to come up with some compelling TV drama.

  • Richard Bolein

    I watch it here online without a TV or Netflix :)

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  • Secondtonone2004

    I loved the show and still do I disagree with your comments that it is boring ! I am really tired of watching shows where everyone is jumping into bed with everyone,at least the shows has some real life situations to it that is the way it was in the 60s and I am totally hooked and I am not the only one sometimes I wish I was a teenager or a little older ,today people just hook up and no real romance it is a shame ! does a man even know what whooing or romancing a woman really is !

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