Television

Kaley Cuoco Ascends to Lead Actress in Hilarious The Flight Attendant

Now out of The Big Bang’s orbit, she’s ready to shine.

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The Flight Attendant. Available now on HBO Max.

Perpetually besotted flight attendant Cassie Bowden is used to waking up in a vodka haze next to men she doesn't know, or men she does know and wishes she didn't. When one charmless member of her crew comes around hoping for a second helping, she tries to beg off: "I was very drunk." Replies the crewman, puzzled at the rebuff: "When aren't you drunk?"

Yet she has no clue how far out of control her life has careened until one morning when the body next to hers has a cut throat and her hands are covered in blood.

"I am not that kind of drunk!" she gasps to herself while frantically mopping up the gore. "I'm a public-nudity, yelling-in-the-subway kind of drunk." But the conundrum of The Flight Attendant is, how does a blackout-drunk know what she does when she's blacked out?

Maybe that should be, the central conundrumbecause The Flight Attendant is many things besides a whodunnit. It's a blackly hilarious comedy, a grim character study, a slow unraveling of a troubling past, a dazzling coming-out party for comedienne Kaley Cuoco as a lead actress and, yeah, a vexatiously fascinating murder mystery. You won't be able to take your eyes off of it.

In The Flight Attendant, Cuoco stars as Cassie, a character who at first glance somewhat resembles the frustrated actress she played for 12 years on The Big Bang TheoryBut Penny, the Big Bang character, was trying to escape the promiscuous bimbomania of her Hollywood-wannabe life and let her inner sweetness shine through. Cassie is the reverse, using random drunken sex to suppress some vague but sinister episode in her distant past.

Yet in The Flight Attendant's early going, the outcome seems much the same: boinking passengers in the first-class bathroom, swiping their vodka, wisecracking (nobody delivers a punchline like Cuoco)—she's more like a renegade sorority girl than a happy-hour Lizzie Borden. Yet there's that corpse… .

Before turning metabolically challenged, financier Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman, Game of Thrones), was scion of a shady Wall Street family. In death, he's rather chatty and magnetic—his ghost (really a sort of fragment of Cassie's psyche that helps her uncover blacked-out memories, but who's counting?) hangs around, offering ideas about what might have happened and why. And not all his suggestions exonerate Cassie. As the frequency and profundity of her drunken blackouts becomes more apparent, they seem less antic than apocalyptic.

The Flight Attendant is another example of how difficult it is to distinguish between television and film. From the logistical standpoint of a viewer, it seems clearly TV, with eight episodes and airing on the HBO Max streaming service. (The pilot episode is already available to anyone who wants to watch, but on Thanksgiving Day, when the next three episodes are released, the show turns subscription-only.)

But in production values, it's big-time Hollywood. The directors—there are four of them, all with distinguished suspense-drama resumes—use split-screen photography to drive home the increasingly frenetic pace of Cassie's life. And the photography is sumptuous, the footage of the glamorous cities to which she flies (including London, Bangkok and Hong Kong) often giving way to a darker cast.

Cuoco gets excellent support from the rest of the cast, particularly Zosia Mamet (Tales of the City) as her Tourette-ish attorney and Rosie Perez (Bounty Hunters) as a flight-attendant buddy with her own secrets. But Flight Attendant is really all about Cuoco. She's in practically every frame, exuding professional power and confidence even when her shattered character is going to pieces. She's also got an executive producer credit, suggesting she'll have power to shape her projects. Cuoco is no rookie—she's been in show business for nearly three decades and was reportedly pulling down $1 million an episode for The Big Bang Theory. But it sure feels like a star is being born.

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  1. She’s cute but man did she treat Leonard like shit or what.

    1. Leonard apparently thought the trade a fair deal.

      1. That’s fair. It could be like Tony, Kirkland and Molly who keep coming back here for more abuse. Maybe they think it’s love.

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  2. Yet she has no clue how far out of control her life has careened until one morning when the body next to hers has a cut throat and her hands are covered in blood.

    Recycling “Tough Guys Don’t Dance”, by Norman Mailer.

    1. Actually hasn’t this scene played out in dozens of ‘race-to-prove-your-innocence’ stories?

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    2. Yeah, mysteries and thrillers are “genre fiction” so they tend to be pretty formulaic. I love them though. (when they’re good and bad…because the bad ones are funny) I stopped trying to be edgy and cool with my book choices in my 20s. So I miss out on stories where the youth pastor turns out to be having an affair with the trans hobo in the alley, but I’m more entertained when I read.

  3. “Yet she has no clue how far out of control her life has careened until one morning when the body next to hers has a cut throat and her hands are covered in blood.”

    Cassie represents power-drunken, TrumpfenFuhrer-worshipping Rethugglicans, who have just murdered, in their insane power-drunken rage, the murder victim, called multi-party democracy, and smooth transfers of power!

    Will there be justice? Will there even be ANY remorse? Stay tuned! Next bat-shit-crazy-time, next bat-shit-crazy station! Only time, and bat-shit-crazy Rethugglicans will be able to tell us!

    1. You need to update your vocab. It’s all very 2016.

      1. Whoever suggested flagging him and refreshing to improve the quality of the comment section was on to something. God, I would take the reincarnation of Hihn over him. He has gone fully around the bend.

        1. I bet he is back to plastic flutes not to far into the senile crook Biden Administration.

  4. I really enjoyed the book and she seems perfect for the role.

  5. or men she does know and wishes she didn’t.

    But enough about my ex-wife.

  6. reportedly pulling down $1 million an episode

    How YOU doin’?

    1. Dammit, I never got a frickin’ DOLLAR for ANY of my episodes!!!

      I feel an anger episode coming on now… Maybe I will take on the pseudonym “Alex Jones II” and run for POTUS-the-Evil-One Part II, and commence thermonuclear annihilation upon being “elected” by massive collective delusions about voter fraud, to satisfy my punishment boner! A final blow-out party, if you will! Bring on the nukes!

      1. Nobody watches that gay shit anymore, it is so 2008.

  7. “But the conundrum of The Flight Attendant is, how does a blackout-drunk know what she does when she’s blacked out?”

    I was going to say I liked that movie better when it was called The Hangover, but then I got a look at the protagonist’s…assets.

  8. ‘Penny, the Big Bang character, was trying to escape the promiscuous bimbomania of her Hollywood-wannabe life and let her inner sweetness shine through.’ I’ve watched a lot of TBBT and Penny is not sweet. She is boring and selfish and immoral and dull. And after she gets the drug sales job, we also see that she’s a bully. It’s more interesting when you deal with truth.

  9. Hey guys, that would be totally devastating, if you woke up next to naked Kaley Cuoco and she didn’t know your name?

  10. Its 2020 and you jackholes are still supporting and watching this crap? Turn off ALL the stupid mindwashing boobtubery on tv or online. Don’t support these moneychangers in any way possible.

    1. Didn’t you have to be online to type these sensible and caring words? Personally, boobs are one of my main reasons for watching anything. And explosions.

      1. Do we get to see her boobs? The review doesn’t say? Dammit reason you once again left out the important information.

        1. 12 years? Ffs. That show wasn’t worth a second season.

          There should be law – 5 seasons max. And that’s being generous. How many even have three good seasons?

          1. “12 years? Ffs. That show wasn’t worth a second season.”

            You’re the guy that cancelled Firefly halfway through the first season, aren’t you?

  11. The show looks great! Getting into the weeds here but the reviewer should know that there’s no such thing as “split-screen photography”. It’s an editing technique that may or may not have anything to do with the director.

    1. well, at least the lead does

  12. Isn’t this Kaley Cuoco cunt some animal rights wacko? I think the only thing I’ve seen her in is HSUS fundraising ads

    1. Did they get her permission? They used Carrie Underwood image once too, without her permission. She is vegetarian but her husband isn’t and she said she respects her fans, many of who hunts and fishes and didn’t want her image used to promote anti-hunting.

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    1. Are you kidding? We all know that Biden won fair and square and Trump is playing this BS game acting like he’s been cheated. He’s going down as a complete joke. What a weak loser Trump is. It’s time for us Libertarians to find a True leader- not a whiny little bitch.

      1. LIbertarians have no leader. We are a herd of cats.

  16. Perpetually besotted flight attendant Cassie Bowden is used to waking up in a vodka haze next to men she doesn’t know, or men she does know and wishes she didn’t. When one charmless member of her crew comes around hoping for a second helping, she tries to beg off: “I was very drunk.” Replies the crewman, puzzled at the rebuff: “When aren’t you drunk?”

    The truth hurts. Really, what’s more charmless than being a drunken slut?

    I’ve grown tired of this genre of comedy.

  17. Zosia Mamet (Tales of the City)

    Seriously? What everyone will remember her for is Girls. Or are we trying to pretend now that awful thing didn’t happen?

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