Several big kids on the reality block premiered this week, including “America’s Next Top Model,” “The Apprentice,” and “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.” But other low-profile shows still have plenty to offer, including the still-fabulous “Airline” (A&E, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET), which follows the trials and tribulations of Southwest Airlines reservation and gate agents.
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Leading the pack of difficult passengers this week was Jeff, who sat in the gate area reading, figuring that he would be jolted from his reverie by the PA system in time to board. Unfortunately, he missed the announcement. Rather than admit fault, Jeff turned Customerzilla, demanding that the airline apologize for its inadequate PA system.
Delightfully, at the very moment when Jeff was talking to the camera and being a total pill, an announcement came over the PA that was so clear and loud that it almost disrupted his indignant speechifying. He paused. “A lot of them I’ve heard aren’t as loud as the ones you’re hearing now,” he insisted. That sure is sneaky, making some announcements louder than others.
Elsewhere, Jennifer, bumped from her flight, insisted that if she didn’t get on, her child would be left alone. (Good thing there wasn’t, say, bad weather, if indeed her child care was going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight and she had no backup plan.) No one likes to be bumped, but Jennifer flung herself right off the moral high ground by being so rude and melodramatic (“Despicable! Disgusting!”) that another customer later congratulated the customer service agent for, basically, not smacking her.
Still, “Airline” is all about balance, and alongside these goofballs, the episode featured a lovely sequence in which an employee gracefully tracked down clean clothes for a disabled veteran who came to the airport smelling too bad to board his flight. One person like that must make up for a lot of Jeffs and Jennifers.
Linda Holmes lives in Minneapolis and is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com.
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