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“Pam & Tommy”: The Greatest Love Story Ever Sold or the Original Revenge Porn

Dubbed the “greatest love story ever sold” by Disney+, in apparent borrowing from Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s famous home video, Pam & Tommy is above all a revenge tale. It’s the original revenge porn story but not the classic we know today, the cuckold who leaks his ex’s intimate photos when she leaves him. Here revenge is allegedly directed against the man, by another man, who feels (rightly) defamed because of a guilt. But we’re in the deep 90s, far from nude normalization, and as such, of course, the real punishment for airing a private video falls on the woman – Pamela Anderson.

It’s never too late to remember: Pamela wasn’t to blame. She’s no less serious about being filmed, just like any woman who sees her nudes shared on the internet because she was unlucky with her partner choice isn’t to blame. All must be acquitted of public judgment because the public has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in the private sphere. It was exactly what was needed. But if we have a retrospective today to do that syllogism, we didn’t have that back then. In the mid 90’s the internet took off, social networks were a mirage, stories came to us distorted and we judged with little and often wrong information.

I am not going to put up a saint here who will be the last thing I am, much less a bulwark of morality, especially as we know these deacons are always the worst. Like all men with access to a computer in the 90’s, I saw the original film. Those who didn’t see it were because they didn’t know how to use Windows 95, or because they were living in a hole without “that friend” who carried the CD or a copy of the VHS tape. That was Pamela’s intercontinental appeal back then. We all wanted her. EVERYONE. She was the girl of Marés Vivas, of the Super Jovem posters or, for those of legal age, of Playboy. A video of Pamela having sex? Lead me there of course. In the 90s, the proliferation of cassettes was inevitable, just like today, but in WhatsApp groups. Sharpness precedes video formats and these things will always happen when you hire someone with Pamela Anderson’s appeal. What has changed or will change (and if it hasn’t changed, it must change) is the way we view the victim. What Pam really is in this story. Even today, if an ex or a hacker improperly shares a woman’s intimate photos, she risks being nicknamed by everyone’s name, imagine it back then. Pamela had nothing to do with the situation, but she found herself in the eye of a hurricane that blew her reputation.

The Pam & Tommy series arrives in 2022 to finally tell that story, with the retrospective of someone who has seen what the internet has done to society and what invasion of privacy has done to women in general and Pamela Anderson in particular . Trouble is, without Pamela’s own approval, it starts off badly. It’s a contradiction. Going over that (big) boulder, the series manages to faithfully portray its true characters. Like Tommy Lee, Sebastian Stan is as intense, childlike and erratic as the drummer from Mötley Crüe. As Pamela Anderson, Lilly Jones retains the presence, voice and assertiveness of the Tides Alive actress. Lilly’s performance is particularly impressive as, unlike Sebastian, she never got to discuss the nuances of her character with Pamela herself; and yet she managed to perfectly capture the voice, laughter and innate sparkle that made Pamela the most desirable woman of the ’90s.Silence Pam, you’ve been done justice. Also, according to this series, Pamela Anderson is technically a Disney princess.

The characterization of “Pam & Tommy” is superlative, transporting us to 1995 Los Angeles, with clinical appearances from bookplates of the time, such as the historic Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard. The big problem with the series’ historical context is its absurd choice of music. To begin with, this would be the easiest production task, especially when you have such a big budget that you can get hits from 4 different decades. Not that the music selection is bad, quite the opposite, but it’s woefully inadequate. Decidedly “contemporary” films like “Almost Famous” are powerful and precise because they teleport us to the screen of a specific time with the characteristic music of the same time. Let’s get to the mid-’90s action of “Pam and Tommy”: there was so much choice, and yet we’re bombarded with a little bit of everything but the music heard in 1995. Some decisions are excusable. If Rand was a fan of King Crimson and vinyl records (which was extremely rare in the mid-’90s), then it makes sense to listen to “In The Court Of The Crimson King” while smoking a joint (there he is) and listens to said record. . A theme like Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind Of Music,” on the other hand, always resonates well when the setting is Los Angeles, but even that choice, so common in California series and films, is proof that the musical choices were right, at least lazy . Other decisions, on the other hand, make no sense. In the third episode, a key scene of Pamela’s invention is played on the radio by The Cardigans’ “Lovefool,” which wasn’t released until 1996. Almost there, but not quite yet. Worse, the last episode was The New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give,” which came out in 1998, three years after the events of the series. It makes no sense.

The story, as I mentioned above (spoiler alert), revolves around the revenge of a carpenter (Seth Rogan) who spends months renovating Tommy Lee’s mansion without ever seeing a dime for his work. Seth plays the poor thing, which is his specialty, so he’s like a fish in water; He can even smoke a few guns in between, so a win-win situation for him. In an attempt to recover some of the money owed him, Rand Gauthier (Seth) robs Tommy’s safe, which he knew had money and guns (or wasn’t in the United States) but without introducing himself that it’s the real treasure was on a Super 8 cassette – another forgotten relic of the 90’s. From there it was a matter of finding a way to monetize the video and the rest is history. An incredible but true story of a tape that changed the world.

The bizarre way in which the tape made its way from a private vault to the screens of millions of people around the world is a brilliant allegory of how the internet and social media have revolutionized the world over the past two decades. And yet, have we learned something? On the one hand, the series is based on the premise of how the dissemination of private content devastated a woman’s life; but then the series takes place again without the consent of the target person. Should we see Pam & Tommy then? I don’t know, but it seems to me that the question is the same as it was when the original video came out – it’s not if we should see it, but if we can manage not to see it.

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