The Hulu miniseries “Pam and Tommy” shows audiences just how the reactions to leaked sex tapes has changed since 1996 to current day. The eight-part series, which premiered on February 2, follows the true story of “Baywatch”star Pamela Anderson, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and their disgruntled carpenter Rand Gauthier. The show takes the audience on a whirlwind ride through a wild celebrity romance and a sleazy pornography empire.
Audiences are brought back to Los Angeles in 1995 when Rand is doing renovations on Lee’s house. The carpenter is awkward, lonely and most importantly, poor. He is frequently taken advantage of by self-absorbed Tommy, who struts around the construction zone and demands changes to the renovation without compensating the team. Tommy fires Rand without paying him for his work and Rand decides to get revenge.
He sneaks into Tommy’s house and steals a safe, thinking it will contain the money he is owed. To his surprise, he finds a sex tape that Tommy and Pamela recorded on their honeymoon. Rand conceives a plan to cash in on his find while getting revenge on Tommy. Working alongside him is Uncle Miltie, a director of pornographic films in Los Angeles. Rand decides to put the film for sale on the internet, still being in its early stages by the late 90s. He thinks that with the anonymity of the web that he will never be caught.
While Rand is busy working on his scheme, the show bounces through the late 90s at different stages of Pam and Tommy’s relationship. The couple met on New Year’s Eve of 1994 at a club. They spark instantly and Tommy follows Pam to Cancún where they are married within four days in a haze of drugs, booze and the beach.
1996 takes the couple by storm when, shortly after finding out that Pamela is pregnant, Tommy realizes that his safe is missing. He calls the police, thinking that the contents of the safe will be returned. By this point, Rand has already distributed VHS copies of the sex tape all over the country.
Pamela realizes this when she is on set filming “Baywatch” and overhears the crew watching the tape. She is mortified. She and Tommy hire a private investigator to find whoever has stolen their safe and is distributing the tape. Rand has a few close calls with Tommy’s rocker gang and the private investigator but he escapes each encounter. As of now, they are hot on his tail and Rand is plotting his next move to avoid getting found.
While the whirlwind romance of Pam and Tommy is a memory for older viewers, the Gen Z audience gets to see this wild story play out for the first time complete with the 90s nostalgia popular in the media today, shown through the costume design in the show.
British actress Lily James, who plays Pamela, got a prosthetic bust and forehead for the role. She wore wigs for Pamela’s signature bombshell blonde style. Actor Sebastian Stan had prosthetic pierced nipples placed and loose replications of Tommy’s tattoos drawn on him every day of shooting. The transformation process took about four hours for both actors, according to USA Today. While watching the show, it’s hard to believe that the actors are not Pamela and Tommy themselves.
The show also gives us a 90s scandal from a twenty-first century perspective. While older viewers remember Pam and Tommy’s story for themselves, the Gen Z audience is seeing it for the first time themselves with a perspective shaped by #MeToo. The show gives us insight into how Pam felt about the scandal, contrasted with how others around her, like Tommy, were affected.
The audience will get to see more of this whirlwind scandal in the four episodes to come. Fans can watch the finale which will premiere on March 9 on Hulu.
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