By Abigail Mulonas
Hulu’s recent release “Pam & Tommy” follows the whirlwind story of Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee’s (Sebastian Stan) relationship. Getting married in 1995 after knowing each other for 96 hours total, this eight episode miniseries goes through the highs and lows of their sex tape being released by Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), their contractor.
This entire series is based on the article “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape” published by Rolling Stone in 2014.
Releasing the first three episodes Wednesday, Feb. 2, this biopic did not get the predicted reaction from neither critics nor fans.
Lee has reportedly said he is “cool” with the adaptation thus far and Anderson has yet to comment, but previously disapproved of the making of this series.
Hollywood has resorted to the lowest of lows: exploiting the pain and damage of real people’s lives without their approval.
Regardless if this was made with good intentions, without the participation of the ones who this is about, why tell a story that was left behind for a reason?
While Anderson is most widely known for her time on “Baywatch,” her Playboy modeling, her natural beauty, and infamous blonde hair, respectively, Lee is known for being the wild partier and drummer of Mötley Crüe.
In order to perfectly embody the essence of Anderson, James underwent four hours of makeup and applied costume elements including a prosthetic forehead, teeth, breastplate and more. Likewise, the realism is further enhanced with Stan and his almost exact replica of Lee’s tattoos (with minor alterations due to copyright issues) and staying true to the rumors of him never wearing clothes.
Yet this has absolutely nothing to do with the real-life counterparts.
The portrayal of either individual is not the problem. And this is not a review of the series, either. Instead, the issue of how this got made arises from a far greater standpoint than anything this might be doing well.
This is not the first time and will most certainly not be the last time something personal of a celebrity gets stolen and exploited. Not to mention the proven illegal activity of having their private tape stolen from their home.
“Pam & Tommy ” may be getting the facts straight, like Lee refusing to pay for construction work done by Gauthier, whom he fired for work he did not feel deserved to be compensated for. Along with holding him at gunpoint when Gauthier attempted to retrieve his tools, the undermining and cruel intentions of Lee are quite accurately unjustifiable.
Yet, what was presented to the viewers upon these first three episodes is absolutely nothing of Anderson’s publicly spoken survival of molestation and rape encounters.
Vanity Fair mentions the absence of Lee’s physically abusive tendencies toward Anderson, which are merely mentioned in a title card, and shockingly don’t arise anywhere else in the unreleased episodes.
Let’s get one thing straight, too. I am actually not a fan of Anderson’s. I don’t dislike her, but I never got into the whole appeal.
Nor am I saying she is perfect. No one is. Anderson, I’m sure, is partly to blame for what happened at this point in her life, as almost always, no one is solely a victim.
I am, however, one to appreciate a good biopic that shines light onto people, situations, and conflicts that deserve to educate the public. This is not one of those productions, as the series creators didn’t care to produce this series in the proper context.
On one hand, I would like to see how the rest of this plays out. Maybe the critics are wrong about what “Pam & Tommy” has in store for the future weekly releases. On the other hand, it’s hard to support a true story when the person it’s about wants nothing to do with it.
During the speech Anderson gave about suffering abuse in 2014, she quoted her mother “sometimes when you smile, it’s not because you’re happy… it’s because you’re strong.”
Vocalizing this as one of the worst times of her life, Anderson’s suffering and drive to prove that she is more than just her appearance is left in the dust. Exploiting her trauma still makes money, regardless if she is on board with it and that’s something everyone needs to know before making the decision to watch.
The question this raises is not from the “he said, she said” accounts of what really happened, but centers around how inhumane has the world become. Is Hollywood so desperate for content that this is all that can be made?
I won’t discourage anyone from watching this production, but I suggest you educate yourself with the facts before making the choice to tune in.