Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee are one of the most iconic celebrity couples of all time. The Baywatch actress and the Mötley Crüe drummer married 4 days after meeting and were deeply in love with each other. While they’ve been broken up for many years, they are probably best know in the world of entertainment notoriety for the sex tape, featuring the couple, that was famously leaked online. This was considered the first online viral video and sadly, it tainted both their careers and neither reached the same status or popularity since this unfortunate event. In this 8-episode, R-rated Hulu series, we follow the story of the tape leaking and its aftermath. However, we also see the relationship between Anderson and Lee through its highs, weird points and of course, the very low lows. Thanks to an all-star cast of Sebastian Stan, Lilly James, Seth Rogen and Nick Offerman, the show is very well done and a blast to watch. Let’s get into why I loved Pam & Tommy.
The show starts by introducing us to electrician Rand Gauthier, played by the always wonderful Seth Rogen. It shows us how he was mistreated by Tommy Lee while working on renovations for Lee’s home. He was fired without pay for no apparent reason and is able to get access to the now infamous sex tape. Gauthier partners with porn producer Milton Ingley to leak the tape. Over time, Gauthier’s conscience kicks in and, after low profits due to piracy (the irony), his life starts to fall to apart. Rogen gives a surprisingly deep and dramatic performance and even though by episode 8, you really, REALLY hate Gauthier, Rogen’s acting chops stand out and he is a pleasure to watch.
Lilly James plays Pamela Anderson in the breakout role of the show. James is unrecognizable in the role and gives, what I think, is the best performance of her career. Not only did the makeup and prosthetics team do a great job making her look like Anderson, but James herself embraced all of Anderson’s mannerisms and voices her perfectly. James does a phenomenal job of showing us how Anderson was affected by the leaked sex tape, how she was exploited physically in past relationships, and how the media frenzy affected her career and marriage to Lee. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought I was watching Pamela Anderson play herself in this show.
Sebastian Stan plays the arrogant, condescending, hot-headed rock star, Tommy Lee. Stan throws himself into the role and really embodies Tommy Lee with all his weird quirks and mannerisms. The audience gets to see how Lee’s attitude affected his marriage but also his softer side, including showing off his Greek heritage and speaking and singing the language (ζήτω η Ελλάδα!). Most importantly, we see how much he cares about Anderson and really wants to make her happy. Lee really wants to be there for Anderson as a loving husband and she, in return, acts as the voice of reason when he gets hot-headed (something that happens in every episode numerous times). Lee’s character also provides some comic relief in the show as he makes numerous crude jokes and drops multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE) f-bombs each episode. Sebastian Stan gives a great performance as the rock star bad boy. In addition, Stan and James’ chemistry as Pam and Tommy is a high point for the show. Their portrayal of the iconic duo is remarkable and thoughtful.
This show is a rollercoaster of emotions and does a fantastic job of showing us how this leak truly affected Anderson and Lee. Anderson’s upcoming film Barb Wire was overshadowed by the tape and combined with negative reviews, was a flop. Lee and Mötley Crüe never reached the same level of success they once had and neither of them have fully recovered from the scandal that still looms over them to this day.
Overall, I really enjoyed Pam & Tommy. It’s not perfect but with a star-studded lineup giving it their all and embracing the camp of the show, it makes for one hell of a show that you won’t forget anytime soon.