“Golden” Era of Pan Am

Ms Ricci, how we’ve missed you.

Let me be the first person to say how wonderful it is to see Christina Ricci back on any screen. It would have been nice to get her into a show that I’ll have the patience to endure for an entire season, but beggars can’t be choosers. Normally I’m a huge fan of melodrama, but this show takes it to a whole new level. About every five minutes, someone makes a grand romantic/patriotic/”inspiring” declaration while the other actors stare off into the distance with a profound look on their faces. Unless Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire are going to show up and tap-dance through the cockpit, all the build-up is for naught. Not only that, if everyone’s all dressed up in those Pan Am outfits, when are we going to get to see the only thing worth missing about the God-forsaken 60’s: the fashion. Which brings me to what I’d really like to talk about, why everyone gets all worked up about how great things were “back in the day.”

I will not pretend to have lived through any decade prior to the 90’s (I was around for the 80’s, but only briefly). But from everything I can tell from all varieties of media – books, TV, movies, history classes – they weren’t exactly the best of times except for anyone who wasn’t a white male. And while I happen to be one of those, I’m not going to pretend like everyone was living the high life just because AMC struck gold with a little show called Mad Men. On Pan Am, the only black person I saw the entire episode was an extra who played a house-maid in the background of one scene. And sure, this show is trying to play the angle that the stewardesses are empowering themselves by wearing short skirts and serving drinks at 30k feet being gainfully employed and traveling around the world (look! one’s even a secret agent!) let’s not kid ourselves and think they had real mobility in the work force. They all still had to wear girdles and high heels, and in the first episode one of them finds out she was sleeping with a married man. Oh, the progress for women’s rights.

So even though there are things to be missed about that time in our history – the outfits, the exposed brick walls, our insatiable appetite for gin and tonics – let’s not do ourselves the grave injustice of pretending it was a rosy-eyed romp through wonderland for the entire population. Now someone mix me a high ball and let me stare out the window in deep thought.

Ciao Bella!

Matteo Yazge

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