If you don't count the kids' programs, I don't watch much TV these days. It's one of these things that had to give along the way of becoming a working mother of two, like diligent manucures, long baths, and bread making.
The one thing I tuned into this season, though, was Pan Am. I PVRed it and usually watched a few weeks after episodes first aired, but still I haven't missed one, which is no small feat.
Partly, I was initially interested because a Quebecer had a leading role: the beautiful Karine Vanasse, who played (Continental) French stewardess Colette (I believe it was the first time this happened since Caroline Dhavernas in Wonderfalls). But quickly, something else got me hooked. It wasn't that the show was so amazing in itself (I'm the first to admit that it was sometimes cheesy and sometimes over-the-top), but I still thought it had a little something...
How international travelling and flying used to be so glamourous, special, luxurious, out-of-the-ordinary. People dressed up to fly; way up. There were fresh flowers in planes, and full bars, and swanky cocktails in their appropriate glassware. There was space, and comfort, and even rounded banquettes where you could casually walk to if you were tired of staying in your seat. Imagine! I don't know anyone who enjoys flying these days, and sees it as anything else than a quite unpleasant mean of getting somewhere.
How stewardesses really had some kind of an aura, how this job probably was the higher step in the social ladder, back then. I once remembered a woman in her fifties telling me that back when she was young, becoming a stewardess was some kind of an unattainable dream, because it could only happen if you were a certain height, and weight, and had a beautiful face and polished style most girls could not achieve. I was surprised: stewardesses selected on physical attributes like models? When I compared to my then experience of flying and my view of the trade, it had very little allure or prestige. But years later, Pan Am made me understand. These women were the top of the crop: beautiful and stylish, but also educated, and multilingual, and worldly, and smart, and adventurous, and free. They essentially used the job to see the world, and it was something, back then, for a young, single woman to travel extensively. They were making their own money, and shunned pretty much all conventions.
But simultaneously, how even while carving out this cool life, they were subjected to strict rules that both make little sense today and make me realize that we've come a long way, baby. They couldn't be married, and had to resign when they turned the ripe old age of 32. They had to wear a girdle, and regularly stood in line for humiliating weigh-ins. They clearly were considered like objects by some passengers, and were instructed to pretty much put up with it.
And, of course, there's the fashion. Episode after episode brought incredible sixties outfits, part of an era that apparently knew no sartorial faux-pas. People back then knew how to dress, damn it. Where has this amazing style -even in day-to-day life- gone???
The series ended a couple of weeks back, but I've just finished it. And I'm experiencing a little bit of withdrawal (it likely won't come back next season). Now is not the time to get into