Pam & Tommy, the review: the good intentions, the rudeness and the bad figure of the Disney + series

Author: Elisa Giudici ,
Disney +
5 '53' '
Cover of Pam & Tommy, the review: the good intentions, the rudeness and the bad figure of the Disney + series

27 years have passed since the events told in Pam & Tommy, a series whose main purpose seems to be that of rehabilitate the reputation of actress Pamela Anderson and her then husband Tommy Lee, both overwhelmed by a dramatic scandal in the late 90s. We should therefore rejoice because justice is finally done at least via seriality; after so many years the truth triumphs over the treacherous lies of the tabloids.

The feeling, on the other hand, is different: at the end of the 8 episodes with which the Hulu miniseries (available from us on Disney + on a weekly basis starting from February 2, 2022) analyzes the entire story, it is impossible to shake off a dark shadow, a concern: won't we be guilty again towards Pamela Anderson?

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Pam & Tommy Pam & Tommy This comedy series tells the true story behind the release of the first viral video in history: the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex tape. Open tab

What is Pam & Tommy talking about

The series reconstructs the incredible story dating back to 1995 of how an erotic home movie of the two stars - Baywatch's sexiest lifeguard and controversial metal group Mötley Crüe drummer - both ended up in the hands of a carpenter and former porn star seeking revenge. In the first two episodes of the series Pamela Anderson (Lily Collins) is almost a side character, while at the center of the scene is Seth Rogen (also producer of the title) in the role of Rand Gauthier, principal responsible for the incident, never investigated by the authorities.

After working for months at Lee's house without getting paid and having a shotgun pointed in his face in an attempt to recover at least his toolbox, broke and with a debt of tens of thousands of dollars, Gauthier organizes an unlikely plan to steal the safe of the Lee house and recover part of the money never paid to him. The plan - which involves covering himself with a white fur to look like the big dog of the house in the surveillance footage - goes against all odds and Gauthier gets his hands on the safe. Inside, along with money, watches and weapons, there is also a ribbon destined to change your life of all the protagonists of the story.

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Pamela reads a book
Pamela embodies a victim in an absolute sense, who never has control over her own story

Since the tape begins to circulate illegally, Pamela becomes the protagonist of the story, which from almost comic tones moves into the most heartbreaking drama: that of a martyrdom. Anderson's role is that of a woman who knows well the price to pay for "occupying the public scene wearing only a bathing suit", who sees the most intimate scenes of her married life spread before her in the hard video cassette circuit, then land in the media conversation, in newspapers and on TV, up to arrive on the nascent Internet. The Net at the time was slow, cumbersome, but still leaves no way out for Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

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The 90s as told by Pam & Tommy

The series focuses specifically on both the story of the transition between analog world and a digital world still rudimentary but already ruthless and cannibal, both in that of an infinite series of rooms of men who decide the fate of Pamela, without ever understanding the drama. Neither Tommy Lee, nor Randy, nor the lawyers, touts, members of the mala and buyers seem to realize how devastating all this is for the main victim of the affair, among other things forced to face the apex of the scandal. while she is expecting her first child.

The series clearly looks at the film I, Tonya directed by Craig gillespie, who is also the director of the first 3 episodes. The setting of the 90s, the reinterpretation of a figure at the time covered with ridicule now told in a dramatic and revaluation key, the focus on the suffocating machismo of society: Pamela and Tonya are born from the same matrix and the same work group. The real distinction is that Tonya Harding is both victim and executioner, while (at least in the reconstruction) Pamela Anderson is and can only be an absolute victim, whose drama over the course of 8 episodes is fully understood only by Randy's ex-wife (a porn actress) and a catalog of rather fake female extras, put there to show a universal female solidarity which is still quite rare today and therefore is quite suspicious.

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Pam and Tommy escape the paparazzi
The series depicts the daring love between the two protagonists, destroyed by the media story that overwhelms them

The dark side of Pam & Tommy

One cannot but humanly suffer in the face of Pamela Anderson's drama because the series really wants us to do it reflect on how it has been unfairly treated. This aspect is the most successful of all, as you inevitably end up noticing gray areas of this operation: Why is the resemblance between Lily Collins and Pamela Anderson (achieved through prosthetics and very heavy and often visible make-up) so obsessively sought after? Why does the series analyze the contribution of a whole series of more or less despicable and stereotyped figures (old and fat producers, greasy and ignoble entrepreneurs of the nascent Internet, criminal porn producers, TV hosts and opportunist journalists) but never puts us at the center? Where is the audience, where are the friends of a couple we almost always see alone, where are the Baywatch set mates, the common people, Pam's friends?

Easy to sanctify Pamela Anderson today, when this reassessment of iconic figures for being dragged through the mud in the 90s it is fashionable and commercially profitable, albeit a little late. Even easier if the audience is given a sweet, innocent, very blond girl to love and a series of hateful men around her who embody the status quo, the "hard powers": producers, journalists, a millionaire drummer, criminals. Yet in the 90s Pamela Anderson was an object of irony (to be kind) even in Italy, on the Italian small screen and from there in the bars, in the streets, in the houses. We do not have no one to really identify with, a point of view that prompts us to ask ourselves: who is the Pamela Anderson today that we are destroying for profit or pleasure?

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Randy is the porn producer
Randy's character is quite ambiguous and is ultimately almost reevaluated

The answer could be: once again Pamela Anderson. When you watch the series keep in mind that Pamela Anderson has not approved, supervised, reviewed anything you will see: neither her nor Tommy Lee. The producers say they tried desperately to have her on board, she has not yet released an official statement on the matter, but rumors confirm that she would be devastated at this new test. Her silence about her, in the light of what is told in the series, is more than indicative.

There is a thrill at the thought of how - out of cynicism or blindness - someone could have written and directed this series, aware of moving without the consent (indeed with the probable opposition) of the victim who tells himself, without seeing himself as a new Randy , ready to throw Pamela Anderson back into the media agon she has survived for the past 25 years.

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The appeal of the product and its initial good intentions are undeniable, but it is difficult to see Pam & Tommy and not see a new stop in the endless nightmare of its protagonists.

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