OK, here I am with the replacement series until I can get to the back half of Ozark‘s final season. I can’t say I am all that interested in the saga of Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, and a certain video tape, but here I am anyway. Then again, the pedigree behind the scenes on this one make this one a lot more worthwhile. Creator/writer Robert Siegel has an impressive resume that won’t just go for cheap laughs. Director for at least the first three episodes Craig Gillespie made the outstanding I, Tonya. Producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have a good track record on TV these days. And really, going back to look at a story that was within the lifetime of a lot of people in a post #MeToo world seems like something that could really work out well.
In fact, Lily James’s Pamela Anderson isn’t even in this first episode all that much. Most of the focus is on Seth Rogen’s Rand Gauthier, and while we can and probably should question how much of a victim this guy is due to the fact that Pam suffered more than anyone from all this and she was fairly innocent of everything that went wrong, he is depicted as something of a loser victim here. He’s a contractor working a job on Tommy’s mansion with his pal Lonnie. Every so often, Tommy wanders in, often wearing as little as possible, and makes some new demands while basically not paying the guys what they’re owed. Since Rand and Lonnie are paying for all of Tommy’s capricious demands out of pocket and they’re both out of money, Tommy needs to pay them. Instead, after Rand wanders off to ask Tommy, again, for some money, he accidentally walks in on a barely-dressed Pam and scares her. Tommy then decides the half-finished project, one that is half-finished in part because he kept changing his mind about what he wanted, is too shoddy and fires both men without pay.
Rand, meanwhile, is having trouble paying his bills. He has no cable, meaning his only form of entertainment at home is, shall we say, adult-rated video tapes, and he’s sure karma will strike back at Tommy Lee soon for his terrible behavior.
By the by, Sebastian Stan’s Tommy Lee is the right blend of arrogance, stupidity, and all-around sleaziness. Will he look as bad in episodes that focus more on himself and Pam? I don’t know, but I am curious right now.
However, Rand changes his mind when he realizes he left his tools at Tommy’s place. He manages to get back inside and tries to sneak the tools out only to be confronted by Tommy with a shotgun, a man who now says that because Rand and Lonnie walked out with the job unfinished–yes, Tommy forgot he fired those guys–it will now cost him more money and he was keeping the tools.
So, Rand figures he can just break in past the security he has more or less figured out and swipe the big safe from the garage that is bound to have enough valuables for Rand to be able to pay all his bills, and if there’s anything left over, so much the better. Karma takes too long.
Turns out there’s a tape in there, a tape that Rand’s friend “Uncle Miltie,” played by the always-delightful Nick Offerman, is absolutely astonished by. See, Uncle Miltie makes adult films, and the fact that Pamela Anderson is on this tape and what happens there…well, I think anyone who lived through the 90s knows what’s on there, and the opening scene recreating an especially embarrassing interview between Pam and Jay Leno, one that suggests Pam maybe released the video on purpose and not as a result of theft, highlights that, again, Pam is the victim here. Tommy may have earned some karmic retribution, but she sure didn’t.
So yeah, I do want to see where this things goes and, more importantly, how it gets there.
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