Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Pan Am” SnapCap (1.06)

When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”

Yes, Pan Am! Much better! I think you probably showed some scenes with Dean (field name: Snoozeosaurus Rex) last night, but they were sandwiched between so much delectable Maggie goodness and literary name-dropping that I wasn’t forced to punch my TV in the face like last week! I mean, you obviously had me at The Feminine Mystique, but when Maggie launched into her whole I-wanna-burn-up-hard-and-bright thing about The Great Gatsby, you bought yourself a full season of loyal viewing from this girl. (Hell, I’ve been watching Gossip Girl for five seasons because of one really great Age of Innocence episode.) So don’t get cancelled, OK?


The draw of Pan Am for me, from the very beginning, has been Maggie and “The Genuine Article” was a perfect payout for my viewing investment. On the present plane of the tesseract, Maggie is in big trouble for clowning on Mrs. Havemeyer every single time she has a pre-flight evaluation (which is apparently every single time she has a flight). She’s three seconds from suspension, but manages to talk her way to Rio de Janeiro by reminding everyone that she speaks Portuguese godd—-t! Now Maggie may be a feminist, but she’s not above using her feminine wiles on powerful men.

This time it’s a photographer from Life who’s meant to be following up on that cover story they did you Laura back in the pilot episode. Maggie’s like, “Another idea, guy, is take some photos of me being awesome so I don’t lose my job.” When he’s not overly enthused with her plan, Maggie decides to just photobomb Laura every time she sees a flashbulb in her peripherary. On her way to one such photobombing, Maggie and Laura have some black market shenanigans and end up in the clink where Maggie is forced to tell Laura that she doesn’t speak Portuguese at all.


At which point Laura acts like Maggie has punched her in the vagina! I cannot, for the life of me, understand Laura’s reaction to Maggie’s confession that she’s not fluent in Portuguese. Laura collapses into absolute hysterics right there in the Rio de Janeiro City Jail lobby, wailing about, “I may have left my fiance at the altar and pawned the engagement ring he bought with his life savings so I could hit up IKEA to start my new life in the city, but at least I’ve never flubbed my resume!” Feelings alert scale: Inexplicably nuclear.


Meanwhile, Maggie flashes back to the journey that brought her to Pan Am. Four years ago, she was waitressing in a diner, reading The Great Gatsby during her downtime and telling anyone who would listen that she was going to blow this one-horse town as soon as she saved up enough tips. So imagine her outrage when a truck driver leaves her three cents for her service. She’s Maggie so of course she chases him out into the parking lot, shouting him down about being a cheap-ass until he says he’s just giving her some incentive to follow her dreams. She takes a running leap onto his moving 18-wheeler shouting about, “I’m coming with you! I’m coming with you!”

She ends up working in the registrars office in Berkley where she takes all the cool classes people come in to drop. In World Lit she wins me over forever when she says her favorite book is The Great Gatsby, but “I’m not Daisy; I’m Gatsby.” The prof is like, “You know you end up dead in your own swimming pool, right?” And she seriously goes, “But not before I throw some truly fabulous parties at my tree house, sir!” When she gets busted for learning for free, she cons her way on to the Pan Am team by saying she saved a car full of orphans while speaking Portuguese and displaying perfect posture. Or something. It’s awesome. I want to watch this empowered Maggie show every single week!

At the end of the day, she gets out of her suspension by telling Everett that Dean and Ginny are bonking their way across the world. Should it upset me that she sold out her friend to save her own career? No. Because her friend is Dean. And Dean is dragging this show down times infinity.


I spent a lot of this episode reminiscing about when Collette had something to do besides stare at Dean. But there were plenty of other ’60s throwbacks: Ted talks about reading The Feminine Mystique to land chicks, which: I am so sure. Plus Kate uses the age-old “How do you feel about Martin Luther King Jr.?”/”How do you feel about Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons?” test to flush out her Yugoslavian boyfriend’s communist leanings. (The writers handle that whole story with the subtlety of a bulldozer.)

You know what’s weirding me out the most about this look at air travel in the ’60s? The way Ginny can just pop in and out of the cockpit in mid-flight to do some blow jobs/crossword puzzles with Dean. The way she’s a psychopath weirds me out also.

What did you think of “The Genuine Article”? Which stewardess has your favorite story so far?