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Danielle returns for the Week 6 Review …
After coasting along for well over a month Pan Am flies full speed ahead down to Rio de Janeiro and into turbulence with this week’s episode! “The Genuine Article” was anything but; touting tawdry affairs, counterfeit resumes, less-than-honest intentions, and even, knock-off handbags. The horror!
The sultry destination of Rio was the backdrop for this episode’s cascade of fraudulent revelations and the backstory was all about Maggie. We learn that years before Maggie got a job with Pan Am by flashing a fictitious college transcript from Berkeley and using her charm. When her serial outspokenness puts her in the direct line of fire with upper management, Maggie’s self-serving and devious survival instincts surface yet again – it appears she sells out Dean’s affair with Ginny, the kept woman of a Pan Am VP whom we met in last week’s episode, in order to keep her blue coat. For his part, Dean is getting tired of sharing Ginny with her other lover, but he’s not calling it quits quite yet. In the meantime, Kate continues seeing her Yugoslavian hottie Nico with both a personal and professional agenda. Tasked with the mission to decipher his diplomatic standings by any means necessary, Kate finds it tricky to draw Nico out without drawing herself in. And flighty Laura once again finds herself in the unwanted glow of the limelight when Life Magazine sends a photographer to shadow her as part of a follow-up piece on a day in the life of a Pan Am stewardess, but ends up in jail because she and Maggie buy a counterfeit Rolex and alligator bag, and Ted has to bail/bribe their way out.
What it Takes to Fly
So, six weeks in and we are finally getting a sense for how these famous ladies of the skies made the Pan Am cut and earned their wings. Maggie breaks it down when she pleads her case to be hired; “I’ve been training my whole life for this job – I know both elbow grease and elocution … [I’m] good company for the journey and a fast friend” … those are the bones that create stewardess who display, “Confidence, leadership, and diplomacy; all done with style and poise,” according to the Pan Am manifesto.
Also required is an education that includes bi/tri lingual skills (Maggie feigns fluency in Portuguese) and physical beauty. In a time when careers for woman were limited, and female education was an afterthought, no wonder stewardesses were lauded as superwomen! And how fitting that in the beginning of an episode where a desperate Maggie cries, “there is nothing better, this is it. I can’t lose Pan Am!” the writers mention Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique – a controversial work about the unspoken unhappiness of unfulfilled housewives in the 50s and 60s. Undercutting its significance, however, is the fact that Ted admits to mentioning the book as part of a pick-up line.
Although Pan Am’s first month on air was filled with milktoast episodes and lukewarm exchanges, I feel like the show is finally showing some substance. Life is no longer simply a series of mini-vacations to exotic locales for the crew. Kate and Nico’s political and romantic storyline has the potential to be rousing, and Dean and Ginny are certainly fanning a flame with their bedroom drama. I also foresee Laura and Ted as a couple down the line, though scenes from next week’s episode depict something much more racy. I hope so, because in week 6 the show is still plagued by fluffy dialogue and scenes that run 2 minutes past their prime. We’ve also lost sight of Colette, who had a moving storyline while in Germany in week 3, but has since practically disappeared. I vote for more from soft-spoken sophisticated Colette, and much less airtime for Christina Ricci (Maggie), whose wide-eyed innocence just comes off as bulging-eyed mania, especially after we delved into her frantic and deceptive past this week.
The “Good Old Days of Travel” Contest
The real treasure in watching Pan Am has been in spying some authentic glimpses into the golden age of flying. So in the spirit of nostalgia, I’m running a small contest around the “good old days of travel” during the Jet Age. To enter, tweet @ThePointsGuy
what aspect of Pan Am era flying you would like to bring back with the hashtag PanAm. Three winners will be selected and announced during next week’s review. Your prize will be a Pan Am passport cover in your choice of color for you to sport on your next international flight!
Até logo, Danielle