Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sextape scandal is the subject of a crazy and moving series available today on Disney+. What is Pam & Tommy worth with Lily James and Sebastian Stan?
WHAT DOES IT TALK ABOUT ?
A look back at the sex tape scandal of the 1990s tabloid star couple, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, during their honeymoon that was leaked to the general public.
The first three episodes of Pam & Tommy are available on Disney+ (STAR section, not recommended for those under 18). The sequel will be available at the rate of one episode per week. Episodes seen: 8/8
WHO IS IT WITH?
Pam & Tommy brings together an atypical duo, Lily James and Sebastian Stan in the skins of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. The British actress, revealed in Downton Abbey, then illustrated herself in Cinderella, Baby Driver and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Famous for his character Bucky Barnes in the Marvel universe, Sebastian Stan is also known for his roles in Gossip Girl, Once Upon A Time, Alone on Mars and I, Tonya.
To embody the one who is at the origin of their problems, Rand Gauthier, Seth Rogen was chosen. His sidekick in the porn industry, Uncle Miltie, is played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation). Finally, the wannabe pornstar who marries Rand out of interest is played by Taylor Schilling (Orange is The New Black).
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
It could have been vulgar, too trashy or tasteless, it is on the contrary funny, moving and relevant. Scratching the biased and fabricated image by the media of the Baywatch star, Pam & Tommy paints a benevolent and profound portrait of Pamela Anderson through a defining and tragic moment in her life: the flight from her sextape with Tommy Lee in 1995.
Colorful, sassy and punctuated by a delicious nineties soundtrack, the series kicks off with a bang with a fun and light tone, where the love between Pam and Tommy and the excessive and wacky revenge of Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen ), former porn actor turned electrician violently debauched by the drummer of Mötley Crüe, become entangled.
With the same energy as for Me, Tonya, Craig Gillespie stages the first three episodes on acid, between acerbic comedy, a sex atmosphere, drugs and rock’n’roll, and a talking penis. The beginning of the series titillates our voyeuristic side and leans towards the exacerbated biopic with characters more real than life, thanks to the incredible transformation of these two main actors.
Fruit of the formidable work of costume designers, props designers and stylists, Lily James and Sebastian Stan are unrecognizable and very impressive in the skins of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Apart from their appearances, their brilliant performances bring as much madness as sensibility to their famous characters.
Above all, they give themselves body and soul in their role, nudity being quite present in the series. If Pamela Anderson is often shown in a sensual way, the eight episodes of the show never forget to deconstruct this image by recalling how the star was treated. For its part, the nudity and sexuality of Tommy Lee are told in a humorous way, evidenced by his hilarious discussion with his penis.
Pamela against the world
Then the series then switches to a more dramatic, almost procedural register, not without keeping a touch of humor, with the remaining episodes, all directed by female directors (Gwyneth Horder-Payton and Hannah Fidell). This essential female gaze sends us back to our own contradictions and questions our unhealthy relationship to voyeurism and the desire to know the intimacy of stars.
By showing the perverse effects of this scandal on the life of Pamela Anderson, the series shows how the model and actress has not only been objectified by men but that she has also been slut-shamed, treated like a brainless bimbo. and that the media, justice and public opinion laughed at her and almost justified this scandal.
The eight-episode series written by Robert D. Siegel (The Founder, The Wrestler) uses this landmark pop culture scandal to tell the story of a woman whose privacy has been stolen, violated and caricatured and somehow does justice to Pamela Anderson, much less naive than one might think, with her cracks and wounds, and unconditional fan of Jane Fonda.
A mish-mash of true love and true crime, Pam & Tommy is the story of the destruction of a woman, the violence of a man and the disintegration of a couple. But the series also returns to the emergence of the Internet, the notions of virality and the revival of the porn industry with an interesting, incisive and almost nostalgic eye.
But without the real Pamela
Despite all these good intentions, we can’t help but express some reservations, in particular about the non-involvement of Pamela Anderson herself in this series. Although Pam & Tommy seems to want to pay tribute to the star, the production did not obtain his agreement, although they tried to have him on several occasions, as indicated by screenwriter DV DeVincentis to EW :
“We especially wanted to let Pamela Anderson know that this portrayal was very positive and that we care about her very much and want her to know that the show loves her. We haven’t received a response, but given what ‘she went through and from the time spent contacting her, it was understandable.”
All the paradox is there: the series was made without the authorization nor the assistance of Pamela Anderson, although the team, which bought the rights of the article Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape published in Rolling Stone in 2014, went out of her way to do the star justice on the show.
Between that and the brutal mix of genres that could confuse, Pam & Tommy will surely not please everyone. But the public would be wrong to miss the series which lifts the veil on this affair and restores a little power to the one who has been most affected.