"People are gonna think you’re cool for this. They’ll be high-fiving you in the street. Me, I’m going to get looked at like a slut by the whole world!"
The first hour of "Pam & Tommy's" three-episode premiere did its part to make Rand a sympathetic character, and establish that Tommy is a grade-A jerk.
This week, reaffirmed Tommy's stance while at the same time revealing Pamela being a totally innocent victim in this stupid feud between a rock star and a carpenter. A victim who's life was nearly destroyed.
Director Lake Bell, who opened up recently about being victim to her own nude photo scandal, did a fantastic job of keeping the momentum of the story moving forward while putting the spotlight on a slowly crumbling Pamela Anderson.
We don't know if Pam was fully aware of just how disproportionately she would be negatively impacted by this tape over Tommy, but it was a powerful moment when she confronted him. Throughout the hour, after discovering finally that his safe was stolen, Tommy was mostly just pissed.
Pamela was horrified and terrified about the tape being out there. She tried to break it down for him when he just wasn't getting it, telling him, "People are gonna think you’re cool for this. They’ll be high-fiving you in the street. Me, I’m going to get looked at like a slut by the whole world."
That is, of course, exactly how it played out. And then Tommy responded with one of the rationales used to slut-shame her in the immediate aftermath, responding, "It's not like they're seeing anything they haven't seen before."
That is entirely beside the point, but it is one of the ways that Pam's victimization in this story was dismissed. She'd posed for Playboy. Everyone had already seen her nude, so what's the big deal? The big deal is that one was her choice and this was a gross violation of her privacy, her dignity and her agency about her own body and choices.
On top of that, Bell carefully paired the growing horror as the couple began to realize just how widespread this tape might be -- Pam first discovered it when some of the "Baywatch" crew was watching it on set! -- with their early joy at finding out Pam was pregnant.
But even that happiness was short-lived, with a painful miscarriage punctuating the final moments of the episode for them. And, of course, they couldn't even deal with this most intimately personal moment in their lives without paparazzi ruthlessly following them around.
One of the most powerful scenes was their final one, when they were sitting at a stop light and a paparazzi pulled up to start taking pictures. Tommy jumped out, but seeing him as a hothead is nothing new -- we established that in the first episode when he fired Rand and pulled a shotgun on him.
It was when Pamela jumped out of the car and started smashing the guy's windshield that it became so clear how much all of this has her at and beyond her breaking point. The performances of Lily James and Sebastian Stan right after that as he carried her back to the car and she broke down entirely, sobbing in his arms, was beautifully filmed and heartbreakingly powerful.
This is what "Pam & Tommy" is aiming to do, shine a spotlight on the humanity of the people at the center of this sensationalistic story that everyone knows the details of, but no one has really bothered to understand the emotional turmoil of those impacted.
We were glad to see the tone stay a little more somber on the scenes with Pam and Tommy as they dealt with such serious issues. Weird jokes or talking members would have killed the impact of the work being done humanizing them.
The over-the-top antics this week were relegated to Rand and Miltie, as they discovered openly pitching a Pam and Tommy sex tape to every smut peddler in the Valley is not the stealthiest way to set up a secret operation. It took Tommy's guy mere seconds to suss out who was involved.
Rand spent the better part of the episode running out the back door of various buildings, always with either Tommy's P.I. or his biker friends hot on his tail. Still pining over his estranged wife, he showed up at her house in the final moments of the episode.
Miltie, meanwhile, the clear brains of the operation, jumped on a first-class flight to Amsterdam to adjust the banking setup, or so he told Rand. Really, he's just disappearing with Rand left holding the bag. Was Miltie smart enough to keep himself legally clean? Time will tell.
We were sympathetic to Rand being angry at Tommy for how poorly he was treated, giving us some insight into his motivation for what he did, but that only carries him so far. He is literally destroying a woman's life and career at a point where maybe things could have gone very different for her.
It's also a fascinating look at the impact of the Internet to mobilize an operation like this on such a globally massive scale. At the same time, VHS tapes are easy as hell to bootleg, as Rand quickly figured out. That meant that he couldn't for long keep control of this operation, and it only further exploits Pam and Tommy as the "'90s viral" spread of the tape is already beyond anybody's ability to stop at this point.
It wasn't clear what kind of tone "Pam & Tommy" was going to settle for as it got to the harder chapters of its story, so it's good to see that they've taken to treating this with sensitivity and care. Hopefully, Bell sets the stage as a director for those who come after her to keep that sympathetic perspective.
This may be one of the most sensational stories of all time, but it's also one of the cruelest. That can't be overstated, and it should not be overlooked or glossed over in telling the story.
"Pam & Tommy" continues with new episodes every Wednesday on Hulu.
Source: Full Feed | Toofab.com https://toofab.com/2022/02/08/pam-and-tommy-recap-lily-james-humanizes-pamela-anderson-discovers-sex-tape/