ABC's late attempt to hop on the Mad Men bandwagon, Pan Am — which is not to be confused with NBC's late attempt to hop on the Mad Men bandwagon, The Playboy Club* — has already hit a big snag in the historical realism department: after pressure from ABC-Disney, the producers have announced that none of the characters in the show will be smoking. From EW:
“It’s understandable,” Executive Producer Tommy Schlamme told EW. “It’s an enormous impressionable element. It’s the one revisionist cheat.” Some background actors will be seen holding cigarettes on and off the planes, Schlamme said, but not the stars when the drama debuts Sept. 25.
Schlamme noted that he faced the same restrictions when he produced Life on Mars for ABC in 2008. It was a cop show based in the ’70s when cigarettes were commonplace on the job but Schlamme couldn’t have his cops huffing and puffing because of limitations set forth by the network.
Jeez, ABC, don't you know that all the cool networks smoke? Setting that aside, this directive from the higher-ups is so asinine. I'm sure they have some sort of rationale about not wanting to "glamorize" cigarettes for younger audiences — kids these days love their period dramas on ABC about the Coffee, Tea or Me? gals — but unless they also take out the casual sexism and racism, the sleeping around, and the copious quaffing of booze… You know what, never mind. They've probably removed those, as well. In related news, producers also announced that all main characters would have Dell™ Inspiron™ laptops and that Kety Perry will guest star in episode three as Katy Perry.
*I like how the broadcast networks' big plan to steal some of that Mad Men magic seems to boil down to "How can we be historical, but make sure the women are always in sexy outfits?" Coming soon: the CBS '60s drama Bikinis of 1962.