Pam & Tommy gets off to an exciting yet potentially insensitive start

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By Amelia Jacob, First Year, English Literature

‘I am karma, and I am a b****.’ announces Rand Gauthier, the humiliated electrician of celebrities Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson, reeling from the unexpected dismissal – without payment – from the renovation of the couple’s Malibu mansion.

The facetiously named premiere ‘Drilling and Pounding’ documents the events leading up to his decision to rob the iconic pair of their safe, unintentionally beginning a chain of events that end up immortalising Tommy Lee and shaming Pamela Anderson through the reveal of an explicit and intimate tape.

Seth Rogan/Courtesy of IMDB

The heist of this sex tape is the main topic explored in the premiere, led by Seth Rogan in an unusually sober role as Rand. The humour is often dark and sardonic, creating a jarring juxtaposition between the fantasy world that the obnoxious Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan), complete with animal print budgie smugglers below double nipple piercings, and sweetly vapid Pamela Anderson (Lily James) inhabit, against the more depressing reality of Rand’s seedy pornographic acting and under-valued trade work.

Sebastian Stan and Lily James both look uncannily like their real-life counterparts, a true testament to their acting skills as well as the powers of hair and makeup. James’ brief appearance as Anderson in this episode establishes her as clueless, a sort of ditzy and amorous prop to fuel Lee’s ego, whilst he appears practically villainous. Their performances are both excellent.

Lily James/Courtesy of IMDB

The frustration between Rand and the famous couple eventually comes to a head when Tommy Lee threatens him with a shotgun, and the heist – complete with a bizarre scene of breaking and entering in the guise of a large white dog – is subsequently executed.

Director Craig Gillespie’s attention to detail is exemplary, and the premiere is visually exciting and nostalgic. However, more difficult elements to stomach include the way Pam & Tommy clearly encourages us to sympathise with Rand, despite the immorality of his actions. The ending is vaguely ominous, with the sense of something greater only just beginning.

Sebastian Stan/Courtesy of IMDB

It’s too early to tell the direction Gillespie intends to go with regards to Anderson’s perspective on the following events, yet the knowledge that Anderson herself didn’t want to be involved with the project hypocritically clouds any sympathetic exploration of her life to come.

The sprawling tattoo on Tommy Lee’s bared abdomen, with possibly the most screen time of the whole cast, reads ‘Mayhem’; an accurate premonition of the events to come.

Featured Image: IMDB


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