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‘The Flight Attendant’ Is an Addicting Trainwreck You Need to Watch

@ kaylcobb Nov 18, 2020 at 8:00am

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The Flight Attendant

Like an expert bartender mixing the perfect drink, everything about The Flight Attendant seems specifically crafted to draw you in. A drama all about a reckless, drunken flight attendant waking up with a dead body in her bed? And that drunken mess being played by Kaley Cuoco, TV’s queen of relatable messes? Yes, please. But it’s the series’ awareness about that very craziness that makes HBO Max’s new original such a triumph. The Flight Attendant knows that it’s an addictive cocktail of a show, and it never overstays its drama-riddled welcome.

Developed by Steve Yockey and executive produced by Cuoco and Greg Berlanti, the miniseries is based on the novel of the same name by Chris Bohjalian. Both the series and the novel follow Cassandra Bowden, a booze-soaked heap of a person who loves to party and travel. Her life spent clubbing around the world is something she takes pride in until one morning when she wakes up in Bangkok, hungover, and laying next to the bloody corpse of her latest hookup. As Cassie flees the scene she has to figure out what really happened during her blacked out haze to clear her name — and along the way she’ll also have to question her relationship with her favorite vice, drinking.

It’s a story that’s practically made for the episodic world of television, but it’s Cuoco’s performance that truly sells the show. It was always a running joke that The Big Bang Theory‘s Penny was a messy party girl, but CBS only showed the network version of that trope. In The Flight Attendant Cuoco completely lets loose — and the result is an absolute joy to watch. Cuoco commits to Cassie’s constantly terrible ideas fully, flinging herself from cleaning up a crime scene to having a panic attack in an airplane bathroom. Every one of Cassie’s decisions is dumber than the last, yet Cuoco sells her unending desperation so well you can’t help feeling sorry for her, just as you’re screaming for her to stop.

Part of that has to do with the demons Cuoco’s performance so expertly hides. In the first moments of The Flight Attendant, Cassie’s hard drinking and constantly partying ways feel like something that can be shrugged off with a laugh. Downing a shot while serving customers at work? That’s just Cassie. Yet as she dives deeper into this murder it becomes more and more difficult to brush off Cassie’s constant need for a bottle. This woman undoubtedly has a drinking problem — yet Cuoco does an excellent job of using her charm to cover up that dark truth just enough so that you always fall under Cassie’s spell, just like everyone else in her life.

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Now more than ever we need shows that are all-consuming and addicting while also being fun and light. On every count The Flight Attendant excels. Like a night plastered at your favorite bar, it may not be the most important or essential show this year. But, god, is it a blast.

The first three episodes of The Flight Attendant premiere on HBO Max Thursday, November 26, followed by the launch of two new episodes on December 3, two episodes on December 10, and the finale episode on December 17

Wondering what the deal is with The Flight Attendant, HBO Max's new show starring Kaley Cuoco? Check out Decider's review of The Flight Attendant.

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For people who are experiencing undue amounts of stress, Trainwreck opens space in the mind and allows you to experience the feeling of having more room to process.