Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeEntertainmentHulu’s ‘Pam and Tommy’ is Fervent and Fun

Hulu’s ‘Pam and Tommy’ is Fervent and Fun

- advertisement -

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers for the Hulu original series, “Pam and Tommy.”

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s notorious sex tape scandal is brought to life with a fresh perspective and an entirely spellbinding and remarkable cast through “Pam and Tommy,” which premiered on Feb. 2. Based on Amanda Chicago Lewis’ article “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape,” viewers are lured into the lascivious, short-lived marriage of Mötley Crüe’s drummer and the actress of “Baywatch’s” C.J. Parker — indulging in a narrative that is entertaining while incorporating subtle touches of black comedy that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. 

The series embarks on the hot and steamy relationship between Lee and Anderson, who got married just four days after meeting in Cancun, and the journey to motherhood that Anderson’s character so desperately seeks while simultaneously working to gain the respect she deserves on the set of “Baywatch.” With extreme amounts of nudity and a talking penis, the show is keenly r-rated, yet veers away from including any content that might take away from the seriousness of the narrative. 

Photo provided by Hulu

Episode 1, “Drilling and Pounding,” introduces Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogan) — an electrician hired by Lee (Sebastian Stan) to complete handiwork during the remodeling of his bedroom — and his vital role in the story as he broke into Lee’s home and stole a vault that contained money, guns and a sex tape. Sebastian Stan as Lee fully immerseshimself into the role of a sex-crazed egomaniac who is loyal to those he loves, but extremely volatile to anyone who lacks money and fame — and he plays the role flawlessly, exceeding any and all expectations viewers might have. “Drilling and Pounding” emphasizes Lee’s hard-core persona, portraying him as a drug-induced rock-and-roller too caught up in the lifestyle that comes with fame. Stan, immensely dedicated, spent time with Lee to perfect his mannerisms and image, evidently establishing the show as something worth watching.

Though Anderson (Lily James) is introduced in the first episode, her character isn’t fully fleshed out until the following episodes, “I Love You, Tommy” and “Jane Fonda.” The writers of the show bring flavor, wit and passion to her persona, portraying her as an intellectual, driven woman despite the fact that millions around the world sexualize her. Though James reached out to Anderson with the goal of accurately portraying her, she never received a response. It has been speculated that Anderson doesn’t agree with the adaptation of “Pam and Tommy” and wants the scandal to remain in the past; nonetheless, James’s characterization humanizes her in a way that exemplifies her intuitive and kind-hearted nature. 

In an interview with Variety, producer Robert Siegel deemed the show a tribute to Anderson and everything she had gone through with the leak of the solicit tape with the intent of bringing her justice.

“The show loves Pam, so I hope Pam loves the show. She’s certainly the hero of the show. At every step of the way, we’ve tried to do right by her,” he said. 

“Pam and Tommy” is a biographical drama that contains elements of dark comedy and romance, while also tackling issues of gendered bigotry — specifically the drastically different reaction towards the leak of the tape between Lee and Anderson. Episode 4 entitled “The Master Beta” begs the question: Does society view women differently than men in regards to sex? After Anderson stumbles upon the set crew of “Baywatch” watching the tape, she races to find Lee, increasingly angry and scared. He seems to react the same way as her at first, yet later cannot seem to grasp the difference between the world seeing her, as a woman, vulnerable and exposed versus himself, a rock-and-roll drummer praised for landing a woman as beautiful as Anderson. During a heated argument, she tries to explain that the world will categorize her as a whore while men will applaud him — deeming him a hero. In reaction to this statement, Lee aggressively tells her, “It’s not like the world hasn’t already seen it,” which accurately portrays the growing tension between gender relations and the way women are wrongly rendered within society. 

What remains most surprising about the miniseries adaptation of Lee is that it has proven him to still hold the same values and standards. Entertainment Weekly exposed him as being just as arrogant and self-centered when dealing with the sex tape. Word from an anonymous source confirms this, due to him being so open with Stan while Anderson refused to speak on the show or contribute to its development.

“Tommy doesn’t get it. He’s still in the same mindset he was at the time: that any publicity is good publicity,” the source said. 

“Pam and Tommy” delivers an overbearingly fervent and fun narrative with elements that may seem grotesque or even absurd, which makes the series ever-more engrossing and worthwhile. With new episodes every Wednesday, viewers can discover the permissive society of the 90s and follow along to find out what ended the sex-driven relationship between Anderson and Lee. 

McKenzie Boney is an Entertainment Editor. She can be reached at mboney@uci.edu.