The Flight Attendant TV Magazine

During the 60s and 70s, the flight attendant was a fantastic figure for many heterosexual men and an ambitious career choice for many heterosexual women. The sight of a woman in a flight attendant uniform immediately conjures up the dream of a woman who will sleep with you and then fly off to work on a transatlantic flight the next morning. She’s not going to tell you how awful her mom is or nag you about where this relationship is headed. She left. And you miss her. (This is also why gay men love sailors!)

Nowadays, it is no longer considered glamorous or prestigious to be an air hostess. The job no longer pays very well and no longer offers many advantages. It is now illegal (and generally frowned upon) for airlines to hire and fire staff based on appearance, age and weight, as they once did. Thus, flight attendants no longer look like models. And women in general have much higher career aspirations.

And yet, here’s Kaley Cuoco as the title character, Cassie Bowden, looking messy… like she’s just rolled out of a strange man’s bed. Her tight air hostess uniform fits her like a glove (which airline is it?) and she has a perfect headboard. She rushes in high heels through an airport – and onto our TV screens – trying not to miss her flight. I’m not even straight and I want to get behind the wheel of a TransAm, pull up next to her and ask her if she needs a ride. Although this TV series takes place today, it is strangely nostalgic.

The first season of Flight Attendant dropped during COVID and was just what we needed. Cassie did everything we couldn’t: namely travelling, going to crowded nightclubs and having sex with strangers. The art direction was sharp and stunning. He uses split screens a lot. And there is a beautifully crafted animated opening credits sequence and a compelling percussion-driven score crafted by Blake Neely.

The first season’s plot, however, was decent. It’s basically one of those Hitchcockian-derived situations where she woke up in a luxurious hotel room in Thailand next to a dead, handsome, very bloody one night stand and to prove that she is innocent of his murder, she must get to the bottom of the shadowy organized forces that killed and ensnared him. Of course, she didn’t kill her…but she has the proverbial blood on her hands for other reasons. The show does this with deft touches of humor and glamour…but we’ve seen this many times before.

And since this is a limited series on HBO MAX, there’s a lot of unnecessary padding. There is a family history of origin that explains his drinking and general irresponsibility. She has fantastic conversations with the handsome dead man. Zosia Mamet plays her best friend who is also a lawyer with ties to organized crime. Rosie Perez plays a co-worker of hers who has her own shady secret. It was a bit too much, but still fun to watch. Finally Cassie clears her name, avoids getting killed herself, and swears to clean up her act. The first season ends with the CIA being hired as an asset, a move that indicated there would be a second season. Was it wise?

The second season faces two challenges. To warrant another season, Carrie has to grow up somehow. Otherwise, those revelations about his alcoholism and his original family trauma in the first season have been for naught. On the other hand, if Cassie isn’t a fun brothel anymore, why should we keep watching?

She pulled herself together. She’s been sober for a year, she moved to Los Angeles and she’s been dating a guy for almost six months. (She even goes to an A.A. meeting which, unlike most A.A. meetings depicted in movies and TV, actually resembles an A.A. meeting in many ways) But perhaps the most objectionable of season two is her new hairstyle. His hair no longer bounces and behaves like it did last season. It falls like that of a teacher teaching in a very damp neighborhood.

However, now that she’s quit drinking, getting into dangerous situations and breaking the rules has become her new drug of choice…and the reason we keep watching her. There are also many things that a literature teacher might call “mirror”. Someone pretends to be Cassie (same hairstyle, same back tattoo). She uses her credit cards, commits crimes, and seems to be setting her up for something big. Conversely, Cassie speaks to versions of herself in fantasy sequences that replaced the fantasy sequences that featured her talking to her one-night death. A version of itself is quite sensible and useful. Another pushes her to drink again. A third is a teenager herself. However, these versions of herself have her hairstyle from the first season and it could be this season’s salvation.

But The Flight Attendant’s main salvation is Kaley Cuoco herself. Cuoco isn’t a household name or a movie star, but until 2019 when The Big Bang Theory ended her 12th birthday, she was one of TV’s highest paid actresses, earning a million dollars per episode plus royalties and residuals. For the past nine years, she has been a spokesperson for Priceline. She is an attractive screen presence in a very hard-working, direct yet bubbly way. She’s not a dumb blonde, but she’s a fun but shrewd girl next door, from the same mold as Goldie Hawn in the 1980s.

She is also the executive producer of this series. His production company bought the rights to the Chris Bohjalian novel it was based on and developed it into the limited television series now airing on HBO. I’m still watching and can’t wait to see what the rest of his entertainment career looks like.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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