So, sometime between when I watched this episode and the previous one, I found a YouTube video essay that made me somewhat re-evaluate this mini-series. I’ll post the video for the next YouTube selection, but I will talk about what happened below.
OK, so, the video suggested that, as much as I think this mini-series has done a pretty good job of showing how much Pamela Anderson was wronged by the theft and distribution of her private sex tape and how just about every man in the story is only making things worse for her, it also perhaps does not represent how Pamela Anderson herself wants to be remembered after this incident. The mini-series, in the end, basically only focuses on the sex tape aspects of her life. It doesn’t do much else, cutting to black in the end with some text to explain what happened not long after the birth of Pam and Tommy’s infant son.
See, despite efforts by both the producers and actress Lily James to reach out to Anderson, she never spoke to them and has been quite clear that she has no intentions to ever watch this mini-series. I can’t really blame her for that. This isn’t exactly the high point of her life, and it would probably be pretty painful for her, especially since some moments seem to be played at least a little for laughs. The video, which again is going up in the next YouTube selection, suggests Anderson wants to be thought of as a survivor, not a victim, and Pam & Tommy cuts the story short before it can get that far.
Besides, the narrative’s weaknesses are on full display here. Rand finally realizes what he did was wrong, and he does go about seeking amends to the women in his life he’s hurt. An apology to Anderson directly only gets him run over by a car driven by Tommy, forcing him to instead apologize to a confused lookalike on Hollywood Boulevard. He does end up selling the tape to an internet streamer who himself tried to cut a deal with Pam and Tommy to get some legal rights to do so. Pam is interested because she doesn’t want to deal with this anymore while Tommy continues to just blow his top. But for Rand, he got the $10,000 he needs to pay off Butchie in his entirety. Instead, he gives it to Erica to pay her back for whatever he owed her plus to finalize the divorce, expecting to never see her again only to learn she doesn’t hate him and they can get together for coffee twice a year. Erica doesn’t believe Rand is a bad guy.
But could he be?
Rand does, unlike other men in this story, seem to possess the ability to see where he screwed up and does try to make amends. He’s not very good at it, but arguably he wasn’t really good at much of anything. But one of the things that got him to start thinking that way was because he was hurting people for Butchie, and the bruised and battered knuckles suggest he needed to physically hurt himself while physically hurting others to figure out just how messed up everything he did actually was. I figure at best Rand is more oblivious than bad. He does wrong but doesn’t see it as wrong until it is too late. If anything, Pam & Tommy seems to be suggesting the problem isn’t the men but the culture they live in that allows stuff like this to happen, deciding a woman is just fair game to watch doing private things regardless of her personal wishes. That may be the story Pam & Tommy was really trying to tell. If so, the more comedic aspects are a bit out of place.
Besides, for all that Rand at least theoretically tried to get better, Tommy did not, and the mini-series here suggests the thing that really ended their marriage was she caught him bragging about how, shall we say, big he is downstairs as seen in the tape.
However, it does seem as if, if this story is not representing what the real Pamela Anderson wanted, it’s not really her story either. It’s the story of the tape and the culture that made the theft and distribution of said tape acceptable behavior for a lot of men who just plain didn’t see what was so wrong about it. That’s still a problem today when celebrity women get nude pictures leaked to the internet, even in cases where the women in question thought the pics were deleted until someone somehow hacked the cloud where said pics were stored. It did, I would argue, successfully get people like me who lived through that era to perhaps rethink the events that took place in a more well-informed context, But that doesn’t make it the story the real Pamela Anderson wanted to tell. So, while this was a well-told story, it still isn’t really hers in the end, is it?
8.5 out of 10 disappointed-looking grunge fans.
Well, with that out of the way, it’s time to finish off Ozark.
Maybe that show will end with someone getting punished for their crimes.