3 out of 5 stars
“Pam and Tommy” details the relationship between a drumming legend and an up-and-coming sex-symbol actress, but it did nothing to “Kickstart My Heart.”
In the height of ‘90s pop-culture in Los Angeles, “Pam and Tommy” takes us into the surprisingly honest love between the Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, played by Sebastian Stan (“Captain America”) and the rising actress Pamela Anderson, played by Lily James (“Downton Abbey”, “Cinderella”). However, don’t get this confused with a heartfelt romantic story, because it is anything but one; the series details what could be the first ever leaked celebrity sex-tape.
Created by screenwriter Rob Siegel and produced by the “I, Tonya” director Craig Gillespie, the show opens with a disgruntled carpenter Rand Gauthier, played by Seth Rogen, who is fired by Tommy. When Rand is unable to get the substantial amount of money that Tommy owes him for the job, the often-pathetic carpenter plots to steal the safe he spotted in his former employer’s mansion.
After Rand successfully steals the safe, he is bombarded by the jewels, guns and large bills that occupy the space. However, the real treasure was safeguarded by a Hi8 tape. When Rand takes the recording to porn film director, Miltie (Nick Offerman), they realize it’s the honeymoon sex-tape of his former boss and wife Pamela.
After a period of rejections, the two men decide to take their product to the internet and sell copies of the sex-tape themselves. As the tape becomes a huge success, what follows is a sporadic series of events that could be comparable to one of Tommy’s drum solos.
While this is a fascinating true story, the writers of the show tried to incorporate a few too many character arcs, sub-plots and political statements. From having a sex-tape out in the public to Tommy and Pam’s crumbling relationship, Rand’s revisit to his past, Pam’s attempts to have a child and Tommy’s failing career, among others, it becomes difficult to keep track.
Although the writers often miss the mark with this overly complex recount, the performances in all eight epsiodes are nonetheless spectacular, especially from Lily James. James brings to life the strongest sub-plot, which is the lackluster career of Pam, and her attempts at stardom in a male dominated field, all while dealing with a sex-tape, failing marriage and pregnancy.
You can’t help but feel bad for James’s character, as her performances are honest and kind when it seemed like the real Pam was untouchable.
I was looking forward to this series for months before its release, as it depicted an incredible moment in pop-culture history that dictated how we view celebrities today. This multifaceted story proved to be too much for the writers behind the series, but if you’re looking for a dramatic, complex series where actors employ the chameleon technique, then “Pam and Tommy” might just be for you.
The series finale premiered on Tuesday, March 8 on Hulu.