Pan Am: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Posted on December 05, 2011

One thing kept running through our minds (and therefore, out our mouths) as we watched Dean and Colette drive; Dean and Colette buy apples; Dean and Colette have a supremely uncomfortable moment with his parents; Dean and Colette argue; Dean and Colette kiss; and Dean and Colette have a literal roll in the hay: “Did NO ONE think to put a stop to this?!?”

Throughout all the plotting and scripting and story meetings and rewrites, through all the run-throughs and shooting days and even once the footage got passed on to the editor, can it really be true that no one involved in the making of this episode stopped and said, “Wait. Why are we spending so damn much time on these two? They’re boring as hell.” And what a shame that is, because Colette was a bright spot on this show when she wasn’t furrowing her brow at Dean all the time. Now she’s as dull as dishwater. We don’t know a thing about the actor who plays Dean, but he’s like watching a bowl of oatmeal slowly come to room temperature. You couldn’t find a blander person if you tried. He’s so bland his blandness is communicable, turning the former Deutschland Uber Alles-singing mystery girl into The Girlfriend.

And can we just talk about how ludicrous it is that in the middle of the day, they just disrobed and had sex in the barn knowing his parents were there?

In other news, half the cast got laid this week. Ted with his former childhood sweetheart, but oh no! Laura realized she let a good one get away from her! Complications! Truth be told, we wouldn’t actually mind this plotline further explored. If they absolutely have to have flight crew sleeping with stewardesses – and we’re not arguing that it’s dramatically unlikely. Quite the opposite; it’s too expected – then Ted and Laura playing the “Will they or won’t they?” game isn’t the worst idea in the world. He’s grown on us as a character and she desperately needs something to do. We wanted to see her define herself without looking to a man, but there’s probably only so much feminist self-empowerment you can plausibly inject into a story about Pan Am stewardesses and right now, Maggie’s got the empowerment storyline locked up.

But we can put that alongside Dean and Colette as a development that fails to excite us. No matter what they do with Maggie, unless it’s astonishing somehow, it’s probably too late at this point. They waited too long to figure out a way to define this character and now it seems they’ve settled on “reckless and gaining a political awareness.” That’s not exactly as scintillating as the writers seem to think. Besides, much like feminism, it’s kind of hard to plausibly inject leftist politics into this setting. She’s lucky the congressman likes her so much, because she can’t keep going around burning down hotels because of her principles.

In other news, the Kate story had us mostly bored throughout the episode until the last couple of seconds. Soapy? Sure, but we’ll take a development like that to fuel the storyline. It was the most interesting thing to happen the entire episode and we’re more convinced than ever that they missed an opportunity to do a fun escapist show that was all about Pan Am stewardesses working as spies. Sure, it would have been pretty silly, but pretty silly sounds like a lot more fun than plodding and boring.

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  • Anonymous

    GROAN!!!!!!!!!! I had such high hopes for this show to keep me mindlessly entertained for one hour a week, but with each passing episode the writers show that they’re just not that creative. How sad.
    And boy, did you guys hit the nail on the head with your metaphor about Dean. Cooling-off oatmeal is perfect.
    I’ve always said that I kind of like Ted the character. At least he has some interesting backstory and isn’t a melodramatic twit.

  • Anonymous

    “Maggie’s got the empowerment storyline locked up.”
    Well, this just sums up how far we have come since that time, doesn’t it?  You’re right of course, but that there is only one empowerment story in a show filmed in 2011 about working women-stewardesses, no less– in the 1960s is a bit sad.

    •  Makes me look forward even more to Mad Men in 2012!!

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t watched or read more than one sentence in TLo’s recap so I can still shout — Don’t do it Celeste — he’s an idiot! Maybe she’ll heed my warning.

  • GAAAAAHHHHH! I half-watched yesterday’s episode, choosing to do Sunday night chores during most of the romantic and/or Save the Earth stuff. Tuned in to hear a bland modern-day cover of a ’60s song. Would it kill the producers to at least TRY to keep this period piece in the period? I mean, why not just play Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like the Wind”? Pan Am is about as period as Laverne & Shirley. Boo!
    I think I’m about done with this one.

  • Sobaika Mirza

    I hated Maggie’s friend and his OTT-ness. Made liberals of the time seem all sorts of wackadoo, when  A) hindsight shows us thatt hey’re were right and B) he was definitely right about Maggie.

    I really need to turn of the TV after Once Upon A Time.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to take a wild guess that, even if this show comes back for a second season, this will be the last TLo post about it?

    Honestly, I could see why if that were the case. It’s about to get axed from my viewing lineup…

  • MilaXX

    Didn’t this show get canceled? If so I guess there’s no point in complaining. That said. I still could care less about the pilots.

  • Judy_J

    Kind of ironic, don’t you think, that in her effort to save lives by burning the congressman’s speech, Maggie put the lives of all those folks at the hotel in jeopardy, and didn’t seem at all upset by it.

    • Anonymous

      I liked this for the young Frankenstein reference! Awesome!

    • My husband kept singing that the entire time those scenes were on.  Awesome!!

  • Anonymous

    I found it hard to really follow last night…but I had just watched Boardwalk Empire and my brain was still hurting a bit from trying to process that one.

    • Anonymous

      I really wish Tom and Lorenzo had kept recapping Boardwalk Empire. It started off slow, but it really picked up as the season went on. And last nights episode…wow…ugh….omg…no…I can’t. Talk about a huge payoff, a disgusting one, but huge. I don’t know if you guys are still watching BE, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on last nights shocker. Never have the words “I’ll be upstairs” been so disturbing.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve given up on this show, to be honest. It seems like it should be all kinds of exciting and fabulous, but each week leaves me cold, especially with the rampant lack of realism. Sure, TV is made of escapism, and I’m ok with some silliness, but the characters just frequently do things that no human being would ever do.

  • Anonymous

    The first thought I had when I saw them naked in the barn was “SERIOUSLY?  His mom never came out to check?  Isn’t his car still in the driveway?”  

    My second thought was “What is TLo going to say about this tomorrow?”

    Love you guys!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, they’ve done it. They made what was once the one character I wanted more of, who became nearly invisible, and when she becomes a major part of the show again they decide to make her Dean the Dud’s dull girlfriend. Cooling-off oatmeal. Yes. And the roll in the hay? C’mon. Not an ounce of subtlety to be found. 

    Last night I found each and every storyline so contrived and heavy handed. Too bad they didn’t find writers who could actually write good, or even passable, dialog. So clunky. Cringe inducing.

    I need to go catch up on Boardwalk Empire for a good palate cleansing.

    • Anonymous

      Definitely catch up on Boardwalk Empire. It’s really improved. And last night’s episode was trully shocking. I’ll never look at a train the same way again. Shudder. Unlike Pan Am, Boardwalk Empire takes chances with it’s characters and isn’t afraid to go to some dark places. This is coming from someone who used to be very ambivalent about BE. It’s still got problems, but it’s heads and shoulders over the mawkish silliness of Pan Am.

  • Anonymous

    I was so annoyed at Maggie burning the congressman’s speech. I don’t care what your politics are, but burning someone’s speech is super-obnoxious and childish. And then he was still into her even after that! Ugh.

    • Anonymous

      That’s kind of what I hate about her character. She really has no depth and her “progressiveness” is so childish it really invalidates progressives of the period in a way.

  • Anonymous

    Other than the costumes, I wasn’t too impressed. Honestly, this was the first episode I watched, and only because my friend Catherine was working as a day player (you can see her at about 27:40 wearing a pinkish coat behind Christina Ricci and at about 38:50 in a yellow robe and blue head scarf just as Margot Robbie comes down the stairs).  

  • My favorite character used to be Collette but now it’s Laura.  They should focus on her and let the others whisper about venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies…  The ratings suck so it’s just a matter of time.  Why don’t they hire writers from MADMEN?

  • If you’re going to chat about this show at all…please tell me you’re at least going to revisit Boardwalk Empire for the finale. I’ve been *dying* for your insight after the last couple of crazy eps!

  • I’ve been watching Pan Am since the beginning, and it is sliding faster and faster down into a mud hole. I could never take Oatmeal Dean seriously because NO professional pilot in 1962 would wear his hair much longer that a crew cut! Yet there’s his neck hair hanging over his collar.  When this show isn’t desperately trying to remind you that it’s in the 60s, it’s messing with the accuracy of the pop culture.  The r&b cover in this episode was way too modern.   This is what turned me off to the other Mad Men wanna-be, The Playboy Club, although that was MUCH, much worse than Pan Am. 
     I watch this show with hopes that it would be a modern, more hip take on “Come Fly With Me” with Dolores Hart, but no.  Where’s the fun here? The beatnik and Maggie are painted way too broadly.It’s starting to take itself too seriously, and that’s a shame, because it could have been much better.  It’s sad when the best thing about a nostalgic show are the costumes and the fantastic Pam Am Airport set!
    Dear God, Mad Men can’t come back soon enough!!!!! I miss it’s subtle sexiness, it’s spot-on culture references, and it’s depth. I suppose my longing for it will make it all the sweeter when it comes back in March! I Bet TLo agree with me here!   

  • Anonymous

    I’m bummed that this show is getting cancelled. It’s one of the few fluffy soap operas that I watch. I’ll do anything for vintage clothes and the actress who plays Collette. I hope she at least gets on another more successful series. Also, who knew that the spy thing would compel me to continue watching? I thought that was going to be the most ridiculous thing about the show. ALSO – show’s not dead yet people. We’ve seen two new episodes this year and yet, no T&L……!!!

  • Anonymous

    I have to mention this again. Supposedly the show was cancelled, but they seem to have filmed an entire season. We’ve seen about four new episodes this year….I hope T&L have Tivo….