Pan Am Review: Caring for Colette

at . Comments

Pan Am was all about the crew realizing the theoretical beauty of Germany this week, along with the fact that communism was nothing when faced with the reality of a country split in two.

I wasn't sure what to expect from "Ich Bin Ein Berliner," especially because the previews showed a lot of Maggie and her excitement to meet the president. She even went so far as to make friends with Michael from the Village Voice to score a press pass. Just about everyone wanted to hear Kennedy's speech. There was electricity in the air for all of the crew.

Christina Ricci on Pan Am

But the real meat of the hour was examining the culture of Germany after World War II.

As soon as Berlin was mentioned, it was obvious that something was eating at Colette. It turns out that she was three years old when the Nazis occupied France. I could feel her fear as she was jostled toward the top of a building, the sounds of German voices slamming into her head as everyone vied for a good position to hear the speech. What is fun and excitement for one person can be a personal Hell for another.

Kate's contact from East Berlin was compromised, and when she tried to work magic with the American's on her behalf, Kate discovered just how deep and dirty her position as a semi-spy really was. Colette picked up on the contact's East German heritage and it was difficult for her even ask how her family survived the war without being flooded with memories of her own.

Her pain was so apparent that I couldn't help but find a place for her in my heart. When she stood in front of the crowd at the embassy and sang the Deutschland song, it actually brought tears to my eyes. At the age of three, she was dropped off at a neighbors, never to see her parents again. For her, there was no magic in her trip to Germany, or seeing Kennedy make a speech on their behalf. She wanted them to feel shame at what happened to so many families like hers. Colette was the last crew member with whom I had identified, but I finally found a reason to care for her character.

In the lighthearted portion of the program, we learned that Maggie logged more hours than any other volunteer during Kennedy's campaign, and yet a bathroom break squashed her one opportunity to meet him and shake his hand. She just wanted to thank him for changing her life. In the end, she managed to make it to the tarmac to deliver to Kennedy his favorite Cuban cigars. From the stairs of Air Force One, he waved to her a thank you. Satisfied, she welled up.

As the old Rolling Stones song says, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need. That certainly applied here for Maggie, Laura and even Colette.


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
  • 4.1 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (33 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


The scene when she sang "Deutschland Uber Alles" was the most powerful thing I have ever seen on TV. It is now, and even back in that time very taboo to sing that first verse version, or to even say the title "Deutschlan Uber Alles" you have to call it "Der Deutsche Leid". I think it would be much to Von Lebenfeller's chagrin that his lyrics were used by such a dispicable regime as the Nazi's. What made it so powerful was that with her French accent still in place she sang words that praised German's strength and "tugend" Virtues. As a German-American I already have a lot of shame about that decade. The Irony of it all was just too much.


This episode was structured terribly. The early jump to the flight home, with Colette apologizing, really undercut the power of what came later. We should have seen that pain and that stick-their-noses-in-it rendition of the Nazi anthem with _no_ apology from Colette. I think they added the flash-forward in there only because they thought the audience wouldn't otherwise have understood that what she was doing was so "rude" to the Germans at the party. If they needed her character to apologize (which probably fits her), that should've come next week. These scenes should not have come to us tainted by what she was feeling the next day.

Sabrina m messenger

I had some mixed feelings about Episode 3 because I didn't like the way Maggie was portrayed as a silly 'gidget' acting fangirl over a politician, but then I have to remember there were then as now people who do get obsessed over celebrities, so yes it is plausible. Plus I though it was an interesting contrast to Colette as the person who actually had to live in occupied France and had a distinctly different worldview than Maggie. This episode was definitely Collette's!


I loved this episode. I love Colette! She brought tears to my eyes in this episode.


Karine Vanasse as Colette... love at first sight for me. Her character development is tragically beautiful.


Colette didn't sing the German anthem, she just sang the first stanza, which was used by the Nazis during Hitler's rule. That's why it was so significant. Next to her story, Maggie seemed kind of ridiculous with her desperate need to see Kennedy.


I love this show and you could feel the pain Collette was feeling it gave me shivers. Maggie is great so funny and she has a great script, but Collette is definitely my favorite.


Unexpectedly emotional episode! I felt for Colette.


As a German I love hearing English native speakers trying to speak our language. Do we really sound like barking dogs? This episode made me really sad since not only the World War 2 still has its effects on our society. Also the division between the two German states that ended just 22 years ago is yet to vanish from our minds. I love Colette. She made me feel so sorry for every person who has to suffer from war just like her. Hearing from my grandparents what happened back then is always so scary and not even they can fully realize how such evil can exist. I'm glad this show made history so alive with this episode.


Good episode. Maggie's awesome. Maggie should be the secret agent. Jelly-donut! How'd Maggie get back to the US? Collete again did great. It's when they're on the plane most of the time that I get bored so I'm pleased with this episode. I liked the look on the Secret Service guy's face when Maggie said: Cubans :) Kate's boss: You're supposed to just follow orders" Kate: "You say that 'here'?!"

Tags: ,

Pan Am Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Michael: There are certain things about Kennedy that..
George: Are not to be shared with the civilian population.
Maggie: Oh, come on.
Michael: The other girls, would they be stewardesses?

Berlin? Is it as beautiful as it is in the pictures?