Let’s just get this straight from the top – I love me some Pan Am, and I’m concerned about its future. The characters need more mystery or conflict but, sadly, all read like a cereal box. However, we can’t blame it all on the characters. The location formula is kind of silly, and relying on history as a major plot point limits the range of motion you have to play with. Plus, peeps are getting bored, yo! To that end…
I’ve come up with a few pointers for Pan Am to (hopefully) get it right:
1. If you’re going to make Kate a spy, then make her a bloody spy. I was under the impression that Pan Am was about flight attendants and the dramz therein. You’ve got to focus on one and the rest will follow. Think about Buffy – we didn’t watch her ass in Chemistry class. Girlfriend was out past her bedtime killing vamps left and right. Don’t tease us with a sexy espionage storyline only to have Kate act as petulant child when her sister gets all the attention. Petulant, I say!
2. Make Maggie the bitch we love to hate. Yeah, she’s sassy and witty, but as it stands, she comes across as a kind, caring person with a mean streak. Reach back to Melrose Place and get me an Amanda Woodward, or even a Naomi Clark from 90210. We need a woman who’s unbridled fierceness will strangely draw us to her, and yet have us rooting for the underdogs like Colette (as well as inspire drag queens around the world).
See at left? Total bitchface au naturel.
3. Don’t use all the characters all the time. How often did we see Britney on Glee until they started pimping her out like an Atlantic City call girl? Not very, and when we did it was a glorious treat that kept us coming back for more. Just like in fashion, less is more.
Speaking of the girls…
4. Split them up. With the girls covering different parts of the world, you could have Kate actually do some spy shit instead of hanging out with shady characters, exchanging parcels; Laura could make it on her own two feet, and Maggie could finish the job on gropey passengers. Yes, you travel with the same crew for a flight or two, but do I really think that every time an amazing assignment pops up, Pan Am says: “Hmm… you should probably give it to the two hot sisters, the sexy French girl, and that chick from Black Snake Moan.”?
5. The whole “new week, new destination!” is getting tired. This ain’t the Amazing Race. I’d love to see the girls at home, trying to balance social lives. They did that a little bit yesterday, with Laura’s Excellent Harlem Adventure. More, please! Maggie’s apartment was a beatnick/hippie enclave so you know that’s FULL of potential. Kate is a tri-lingual smarty pants – could I maybe see where that stems from? Why aren’t you making these ladies human beings, ABC? Why?!?
6. The guys are duds. Not a minute goes by that I don’t think Dean isn’t some small town hick, hung up on the ravishing Bridget because she’s the most exotic thing to happen to his personal life since switching to Downy. Other Co-Pilot (you know, the misogynist) doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned because he’s just there to be the Raging Dick to Dean’s Golden Boy Pilot schtick. They’re pilots. They sit up front. Who cares about them?
So, will ABC take these recommendations under advisement? Probably not, since the series is quite far into production. For all of the inadequacies that I’ve mentioned, I truly believe there is a lot of potential for the ladies of Pan Am. I live vicariously through the location shoots and I’m alright with suspending belief on the matter of the same girls working the same flights. Pan Am knows what it wants – they’re just going about it rather timidly. It’s time to grow a pair and get what’s yours!