Looking for a change in your life? Like traveling to exotic locations? Still think it’s 1960? You may be the perfect fit to join the cast of Fly Girls.
The CW’s newest reality show follows five female flight attendants who also happen to be roommates at “the crash pad” in Marina Del Ray, CA. Working and living together? And they’ll have their lives taped? What kind of radical programming is this?!
In the show’s opening montage, each explained her reasons for venturing into the air, and all focused on the common desire to “stand out.” Each wanted to kick the dust off their sleepy home towns and escape the confines of the typical “white picket fence” existence. Now that they live such glamorous lives, it’s their job to make us at home jealous that we don’t get to go through the hassle of airport security five times a week.
While they may believe that they’re working towards something more, the show seems to focus on all the tired, negative stereotypes associated with the profession, and women in general. In fact, the entire concept felt like a giant step backwards. At a party in Beverly Hills, Fly Girl Mandy corrected a male guest when he asked if it was correct to call her an “air hostess” (his friend first had asked if she went by “lady,” or would answer to “hey you,” in the air). She informed him that Virgin America refers to them as “in-flight team members,” a term that sounds much more sophisticated, yet won’t be found anywhere across the show’s promotional material. The title in itself is a confining description of who and what is expected to fulfill this role, and the program does nothing to break away from that idea.
The sexist jokes from men who enjoyed ogling these women from 30,000 feet were uncomfortable and frustrating to watch, but the women did their part to perpetuate stereotypes as well. During a flight, Louise flirted with a male passenger who later invited her to his cocktail party (where the sexists remarks were uttered, in addition to questions about the Mile High Club and Hooters. Classy, Beverly Hills.). Noticing her giddiness, Mandy promptly asked, “IFB?” which of course is not an abbreviation for flight protocol, but “in-flight boyfriend,” what all Fly Girls look for to pass the time.
I’m not sure how much of their work in the air will be filmed — are there be restrictions on that? — but the women are members of the “promo team,” meaning they get to attend launch parties in new Virgin America cities, and this alone appears to be the show’s focus. Living together should provide some trivial fights, standard bitchiness, a dash of lying, some betrayal, and of course, humiliation. Tasha already felt suffocated by Farrah’s mom-like tendencies, Mandy and new roommate Nikole “used to be” best friends but had a falling out. Upon her arrival, Nikole uttered what has to be the biggest reality cliché after not being somewhere to make friends: “sometimes I tend to have bad luck with girls.” Arriving in a Hummer with two small chihuahuas, this Fly Girl has clearly watched enough reality programs to know how to play the bad bitch role perfectly.
In the end, the comments from the Beverly Hills bro-hans have stuck with me. Geoff’s friends insulted Louise and Mandy by making tasteless Mile High Club jokes and referred to their job as a dated profession, but isn’t it so? How interesting can the lives of “Fly Girls” actually be? Maybe I’d just rather watch reality shows where cast members question their value as human beings through a series of demoralizing and competitive tasks (at least they’re being honest about it). Also, I’m not a huge fan of flying, but to me this job looks faaaar from glamorous. Fact: Stale plane air and long layovers don’t leave you looking your best.
What did you think? Are you intrigued by the lives of these “in-flight team members,” or does this whole concept fall flat? Will you be watching Fly Girls next week?