So, I think it is safe to say that whatever Pam and Tommy has to say about Rand as a character, it isn’t letting him off the hook for doing something unconscionable even if he feels it’s justified by Tommy’s ill-treatment of him. Arguably he isn’t the bad guy here, as I will explain below, but he is a bad guy here. That becomes clear in the opening minutes of the episode as Uncle Miltie, having finally seen the infamous tape for himself, opens the episode by saying that having the tape at all is really wrong.
But then he adds that this just makes it more hot, so that’s not worth forgetting.
I had gotten the impression from the first two episodes that the series was going to alternate between Pamela and Tommy on the one hand and Rand on the other, and this episode starts off that way, giving Rand the spotlight again while giving some backstory to say how he met Miltie and even managed to find himself in one of Miltie’s adult movies.
Basically, his ex-wife Erica is or was an adult film actress that recruited him on the spot when a co-star failed to show for a shoot. He’s still doing her favors despite the fact she left him for another woman, and while the relationship seems mostly amicable, there is this sense that he’s still smitten with her even as she has clearly moved on.
Still, while the episode does show how the tape saga evolved, how Rand and Miltie’s efforts to get the tape out using Miltie’s connections with the industry kept failing until Rand got the idea to just sell it anonymously online, there are even more hints that the whole thing is really wrong to do, and if Rand wasn’t so focused on fulfilling a destiny he sees for himself or getting back at Tommy or both, he might see that himself. None of the producers he and Miltie meet with will take the tape without a signed release because that would give them all a lot of legal headaches. And when Rand does get the idea to sell it online, the pair still need financing and end up going to a mafia loan shark to get the money.
“Don’t borrow money from Andrew Dice Clay” is an important lesson that enough schools fail to teach these days, and Butchie Peraino doesn’t look like the sort of guy who will offer a deferment for lack of money. Rand takes the deal anyway.
However, the episode also takes more time with Pamela and Tommy, and it makes it more and more clear in my mind that Pamela is the victim here. Tommy seems more dumb than anything else, and while Pam might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, she’s not malicious, and she really wants to do well in her career. The problem is, no one really seems to want to let her. That’s why Rand is only a bad guy. Pretty much every man Pamela deals with seems to see her as something to look at and not the serious actress she wants to be. Her hopes to show off something besides her body on Baywatch are continually dashed when her monologues are cut to just show her emoting silently, the unstated idea being that no one really wants to hear her talk. They just want to look at her.
Now, I can’t say I’ve ever seen the real Pamela Anderson in, well, anything. I probably didn’t have much of an opinion of her because, well, I don’t have much of an opinion of Baywatch in general. Never seen more than ten minutes of it, and I don’t recall much about what I did see. It just wasn’t for me. I did see the movie when it came out a couple years ago, and she did have a cameo in that…but I likewise don’t recall if she had any lines since the movie was sort of a parody, so she was sort of a parody of herself, I think? Regardless, I don’t know if I would consider the real Anderson a good actress or not because I can’t claim to have seen her in much of anything aside from paparazzi footage when she was at the height of her fame, and that has never been my thing. With that in mind, I also think it is noteworthy that Pam and Tommy hasn’t (as of this point) decided to say anything about if she even is a good actress, but the point here is she really wants to be known for her acting.
The world doesn’t seem inclined to let her even try.
And then there’s Tommy, worried clearly that his band’s sound is losing ground to the rise of grunge rock, but still someone who doesn’t know the spouse he doesn’t support as well as he should since it appears it was only at this point that he told Pamela about his parents or even, more importantly, his actual real name. I don’t think the mini-series is portraying either Pamela or Tommy as particularly bright, but he seems worse somehow. Maybe it’s because when I see Pamela, she’s trying to do things and people won’t really let her. Tommy has already done things, and he acts a lot more spoiled in comparison.
Dang, I have spilled a lot more digital ink than I thought I would, and this is only episode three…