Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TV Corner!

Below, care of Deeky, is the trailer for a fall series coming to ABC, entitled Pan Am. Conceived as a "period drama about the pilots and flight attendants who once made Pan Am the most glamorous way to fly," it looks like a cross between Mad Men and Catch Me If You Can, with all the stylized backlash goodness of implying that America's Golden Age of pre-feminism was funsexytimes to be a lady while simultaneously recreating for entertainment purposes enough rank misogyny endemic to the era to insidiously scold modern women for not realizing how good they've got it. YAY!

The other awesome (where awesome = totes horrendo) thing about setting a show in the past is how you can make it all about straight white people, and respond to criticism about a lack of diversity with: THAT'S JUST HOW IT WAS BACK THEN!

People of color and queer people and women who weren't caricatures of a stereotype of a straw-woman stitched together with myths and hooey didn't even EXIST until they started complaining about stuff.

It's called history. Look it up.


In the opening scenes, a young, white, conventionally attractive women ditches her own wedding and goes to live with her friend Monica in an apartment above Central Perk. No. Wrong show. She ditches her own wedding and runs away to become a Pan Am stewardess. Her maid of honor and getaway driver also (or instead of her?) becomes a Pan Am stewardess. Pilots. Kissing. "Welcome to the jet age." Thanks, get me an airsick bag, Pilot Handsome.

Montagery. Stewardesses have to have the requisite level of beauty and grace. And they get weighed. And get their girdles snapped by mean marms to make sure eveything's being properly tucked in. These humiliations are set to a fun Frank Sinatra track no doy.

But also! They're on the cover of Life magazine and will totes get husbands. WORTH IT!

I am admittedly not paying a whole lot of attention to this trailer, because OMFG I am using all my energy to hold down my lunch, but I think one of them becomes a mule? Who cares. The trailer sure doesn't, because we're off to more montagery of shiny new airplanes and handsome pilots and pretty stewardesses, and jokes from handsome pilots about how flying a new plane is better than sex "and she's a virgin!"

Pilots are basically rock stars who send helicopters to collect stewardesses who are basically whores for layover sex romps. "And sweetheart, wear the girdle."

Whooooooooooops I barfed on your trailer. I'm sorry! It was all the turbulence IN MY BRAIN.

See, on the one hand, we're supposed to be all, "Hey, there's a chick in this show who isn't looking for a husband; she's loves the FREEDOM," but, the thing is, apart from the fact that she will almost DEFINITELY be the character who falls in love and/or gets raped, there is scene after scene of women being subjected to oppressive and degrading work regulations and being demeaned by objectifying men, most of which are played for laughs, to an audience still steeped in misogyny.

The most obnoxious aspect of "retro chic" entertainment like this is the aggressively insistent pretense that institutional misogyny is a thing of the past, so it's okay to laugh at the ABSURDITY of flight attendants getting weighed, except whoops that still happens.

Anyway, there is more of this trailer—O HAI CHRISTINA RICCI SORRY ABOUT YOUR CAREER—with wedding proposals on windy runways and scenes of the Pan Am stewardesses walking in lockstep in their matching uniforms, while some dude talks about their being a "new breed of woman" in voiceover, and fucky times and giggling and a BIG PAN AM LOGO THE END.

Between this shit and the trailer for NBC's fall "period drama" The Playboy Club (which ALSO features a Frank Sinatra song lulz of course it does), it's gonna be a great new television season in Backlash Broadcasting.

Sob.