Welcome back to what may be the beginning of the end for Pan Am. In case you missed the news, ABC has reduced the show's episode order to 14, which means that after last night's ninth installment, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," (Dean and Colette provided the kisses courtesy of their literal roll in the hay, while Kate took care of the bangs, firing a gun at the jeweler/spy at the very end of the episode) the crew of the Clipper Majestic have only five flights left, which will be burned off in January before the catty cast of the soapy serial GCB (a.k.a. Good Christian Belles a.k.a. Good Christian Bitches) takes over their time slot in March. Although the network has yet to officially ground the series for good, its future hinges on how well or poorly the new crop of mid-season shows perform. And with Mad Men already set to come back in March, we'll soon to be able to remember what a genuinely great '60s-era drama -- as opposed to a decent, but forgettable nostalgia piece like Pan Am -- looks like. Still, based on last night's episode, there are still a few things that this series can teach us about that period. Things like...
In the '60s... Activists Occupied London To Protest Nuclear Disarmament, Not Financial Inequality
Since Pan Am is set in 1963, only eighteen years removed from the birth of the Atomic age and just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, it's no surprise that Maggie's activist pal Sam has aligned himself with the "Ban the Bomb" movement -- the slogan of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Formed in England in 1957, the CND organized the famous Aldermaston Marches that took place every Easter weekend between 1959 and 1963, as hundreds of protestors made the trek from London to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment located nearby the village Aldermaston. But Sam wasn't bound for London to participate in the march; instead, he was hooking up with Ban the Bomb UK to demonstrate in front of the World Atomic Symposium, a fictional gathering of "the biggest death merchants on the planet." He imposes himself on Maggie to smuggle him over to London in first class, where he can't resist mouthing off to congressman and nuclear weapons proponent, Christopher Rawlings. But when Sam arrives in Blighty, the members of Ban the Bomb UK have already been thrown in prison and he winds up taking a stand by sitting on a bar stool knocking back a few stiff drinks. C'mon dude... at the very least, you could have gone out and tried to raise your pals' bail money.
In the '60s... Veteran Pilots Felt Okay About Tapping Dat Ass
With Dean enjoying a sick day after that whole pit stop in Haiti, his seat is filled by World War II vet and proud sexist, Captain Dennis Thornton, who, as Maggie puts it, is full of "war stories and wandering hands." Laura experiences the latter firsthand, when she shows up to bring the flight crew their coffee and he sends her away, insisting that it's not time for a caffeine break just yet. On her way out, he pats her on her well-toned caboose and chuckles like only a real ass would. Later, he requests that she bend waaay over to clean his air-speed gauge and seizes the opportunity to take a long and super-obvious look at her cleavage. Laura gets her revenge, though, by "accidentally" knocking his hot coffee-filled cup into his lap. That'll cause some major shrinkage.
In the '60s... Meeting The Parents Was Still Really, Really Awkward
Dean may be a good pilot, but when it comes to women, he's got a knack for making bad choices. (Remember Ginny?) For example, nothing kills a burgeoning romance faster than taking the girl you're interested in to a surprise lunch with your parents. And, to make the situation even more uncomfortable, they think she's the girl you were (briefly) engaged to because you still haven't told 'em that chick skipped town. While Dean's mom is ready to roll with the change in her son's love life, his dad gets all huffy about the missing Bridget and his spiteful comments eventually drive Colette out to the barn, where she reads her flyboy the riot act before falling into his arms. Aw, c'mon Colette... you should have made him work a little harder than that.
In the '60s... "Liz Taylor" Was a Synonym for "Act Crazy"
In order to torpedo a parent-arranged date with an old high school crush, Ted enlists Laura to pose as his girlfriend and interrupt their dinner by throwing a real hissy fit about her man making time with another woman. "Give me full on Liz Taylor," he instructs her, to which she responds "Cleopatra or BUtterfield 8?" He clearly hasn't seen either movie though, since he just says, "Whatever's crazier." Hey Laura, go BUtterfield 8, choose BUtterfield 8! The Academy liked La Liz's outsized performance as a high-priced Manhattan model and call girl so much, they gave her a Best Actress Oscar. And the Academy is never, ever wrong. (Crash? What's that?)
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