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TV Review: “Pam & Tommy” Fails A Little In Some Important Aspects

“Pam & Tommy” does a decent job at showing the true story behind the release of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape, but a couple of things are missing.    

It’s hypocritical of “Pam & Tommy” to critique the unconsented release of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s infamous sex tape, but create a show about their personal lives during that time without their, especially Anderson’s, consent.  

The mini-series created by Hulu stars Lily James as Pamela Anderson and Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee. The series follows Anderson and Lee’s marriage, the stealing and release of their sex tape, including what led up to it, and the repercussions they faced for years after. 

The show is based on a Rolling Stone article from 2014 titled “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape” by Amanda Chicago Lewis. While the showrunners and star Lily James reached out to Anderson multiple times, she never responded and had no involvement with the show. 

For much of the show, you can tell that the creators were taking a modern lens to the events of the sex tape. They critique how men, news organizations, and talk shows, among others, did not care about what would happen to Anderson, all they cared about was themselves or business. They did not think about what this tape can do to a woman and her reputation.

The plot and acting performances did an impressive job at getting the audience emotional about how Pam was treated during that time and the absolute hell that she had to go through. For example, throughout the show, particularly in the middle, Pam is trying to convey her feelings about the tape, but since she is one of the few women in the room, no one is empathetic and understands what she is going through. 

The mini-series did a good job at showing a contrasting side of Anderson’s experience that many people did not seemingly know or acknowledge in the 90s. 

But for a show titled “Pam & Tommy,” there was not enough of Pam and Tommy. 

Seth Rogen, who plays Rand Gauthier, the man who steals and releases the tape, had a lot of side plots that felt unnecessary and slow. Some of it had to be communicated to build character and plot, but while sitting through the redundant scenes about his childhood and personal life, all you can think about is wanting more of Pam and Tommy. 

When Nick Offerman, who plays Uncle Miltie, starts working with Gauthier to release the tape, his plot starts to build and get interesting, but more scenes and even a couple of episodes throughout the series do not do much to truly push the story along. And if there had been even more of Pam and Tommy, that maybe would not be the case. 

The desire for Pam and Tommy stems from the amazing and superb performances by Lily James and Sebastian Stan. Not only were they completely transformed to look the part, but from the second you meet their characters, you can tell both actors put their everything into the roles. Their chemistry was breathtaking and they flawlessly expressed the emotions of both their characters. 

“Pam & Tommy’s” magnificent acting, makeup, soundtrack, and production design come together perfectly to take you back into the 90s. It fully immerses you into the story, making you feel like you are experiencing these events first-hand. While there were some parts of the plot that were unnecessary, the show was still quite good and entertaining, but I expected more especially when it came to Pam and Tommy’s screentime. 

Lastly, while the show did portray Anderson in a positive and tasteful way, it, in general, feels a little hypocritical considering they did not get permission from either Anderson or Lee and if they had, it would’ve been a more respectable ode to Pamela Anderson. 

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