Richardson’s TV Report Card on Whitney, Pan Am

Matthew Richardson Columns, Lawyer 2 Comments

So far I still haven’t seen a new show that looks like something that’s gonna be a fixture on my DVR. But, I have found some shows that would make for a good gag gift DVD at a Secret Santa exchange though. These next two shows that premiered this week, Whitney and Pan Am, would also make very good “I wanna break up with you” gifts.


Very difficult to be unbiased when all the billboards and promos made me want to kill myself. After the first few minutes of incredibly bad laugh tracking for not a single funny joke, the show found its groove and we learned that it was a very generic story of a couple not sure that they want to get married, surrounded by married couples and super single people (think every other show you’ve ever seen).

What I Liked: Well, if this show was a food, I was expecting it to taste like total dogsh*t. It wasn’t total dogsh*t. It was more like dogfood. Wouldn’t kill you to eat it, but you’d have to be in a pretty dire situation to start shoveling it down.

What I Didn’t Like: For starters, the chemistry between Whitney and her boyfriend. They were laughing and smiling through their lines worse than Jimmy Fallon on SNL. For godsakes, let us believe we’re watching an actual television show for five seconds. Also, all the jokes, and I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE, were forced. Even though a few were genuinely funny, it would have been nice if it weren’t so obvious we were basically watching her do standup.

The guy who plays Alex Baldwin’s gay assistant Jonathan and a gay guy on Weeds, plays those roles really well. Here he is playing a gay boyfriend– oh wait, he’s not– he’s supposed to be a straight guy.  Hmmm.

Also, the not attractive enough redhead playing the uppity girl and the too attractive blond playing the single and slightly slutty chicks’ roles should have been reversed.

Grade: C

Pan Am

I have to admit, I’m a bit of an American history buff, so this one certainly intrigued me. Also, I’m obsessed with Mad Men and already admitted I was a fan of the Playboy Club (despite being in the minority on that one). So I came into this with pretty high hopes. And by god, did this pile of horse shit disappoint. Very, very little in the way of historical context was thrown into this story of the heyday of the world’s biggest airline. All we got was some fluff about stewardesses and their sad relationships and a pretty pathetic espionage angle. The main story, I guess, is that a beautiful girl ditches her traditional housewife existence to join her sister, who isn’t happy about having a much hotter younger sister around…and because it gets in the way of her spying. The other storyline is that the pilot proposed to a stewardess and she’s missing in action…because she’s also a spy. I guess the other story line is that this is THE PAN AM, and therefore we are supposed to be in awe of this company. Let’s be honest, though– none of us give a crap because Pan Am doesn’t exist anymore.

What I Liked: It was shot beautifully, lots of the same visual stuff that keeps me tuned into Mad Men. The lead actress is a 10, but she’s surrounded by a bunch of 5s. What happnened to Cristina Ricci, didn’t she used to be hot, or was that just a phase we were all going through, like our Thora Birch phase?

What I Didn’t Like: The lead male pilot, Mike Vogel. Haven’t we seen this stiff play the lead handsome stuff in almost every comedy where he doesn’t end up with the girl because he’s such a stiff?

The phony spy storyline. The barely scratched Bay of Pigs storyline. To me, that would have been interesting. Instead, they just had them rushing some passengers out of Cuba without explaining a thing.

The music: it was so heavy-handed, I thought I was watching the climax of Jurassic Park.

The lack of humor: isn’t there a way to squeeze at least one good joke into an hour of TV? Even Law & Order gives me a chuckle each week. Something tells me this is the first show to get axed.

Grade: D


Share this Post

  • Guano Dubango

    I agree. Matt is my man. I think there needs to be more attractive women on TV so that the quality of the audience will improve, and it will attract professionals like me and Matt and others.

    There are far too many “women” who think they are beauties who are not who dominate the TV channels. I have watched the show with Poppy Montgomery, and although she is not young enough to bear me issue, she remains very hot.

    If I had been around 10 years ago, I would have scooped her up, married her and then told my Aunt Ooona about it.

  • NCLawyer

    “our Thora Birch phase” Ha! genius

    For the record, I kind of liked The Playboy Club. I note that the blond I found interesting is also featured in The Rum Diaries. So the best part of the show has landed somewhere else…perhaps a clip from The Playboy Club will be the embarrassing clip shown on a talk show after she’s an A-lister. One can only hope.