You have to have a narrative, because, without it, everything just falls into pieces. Any storyteller, including me, may not be interested in watching the lives of two glamorous fading artists hiding in their fortress and dealing with the aftermath of a private tape that went missing from their secret safe. The conflict is thin, and that’s where Robert Siegel’s expertise comes in. In “Pam & Tommy,” he introduces Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) as an underdog and a carpenter who vows vengeance on arrogant and wealthy people.
The affluent hire Rand to renovate their castle, but instead exploit him, and refuse to reimburse Rand for his labor; that’s where the common man retaliates. But none of the parties are entirely good or bad and are sort of gray. And amid their catfight, Pamela Anderson faces the consequences of a conflict she was never a direct part of or intentionally started. Her plight inevitably adds more drama to the tale.
“Pam & Tommy,” created by Robert Siegel, is an 8-part mini-series set in 1995 that follows the marriage of Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. The couple recorded an intimate tape during the initial days of their marriage, which a carpenter/electrician stole. What follows ahead is a roller coaster ride of drama and comedy that crawls under the skin of these pivotal characters while leading to an end that we already know of. Lily James as Pamela and Sebastian Stan as Tommy are captivating in their attire. However, it is Seth Rogen who steals the show.
‘Pam & Tommy’ Episode 1: Recap – The Underdog Who Kindles A Fire
The first episode of “Pam & Tommy” quickly introduces the incident that sets the drama in motion. Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) is a middle-aged carpenter who is renovating Tommy Lee’s Malibu Mansion with Lonnie, the contractor, during the summer of 1995. Rand’s constant change of plans for the master bedroom gets on Rand’s nerves, especially because the rockstar owes him some $8,000 and refuses to pay upfront. Rand is already living in shambles with heavy outstanding debt and unpaid bills piling up in his apartment, where he lives alone despite being married to an actress, Erica, who works in adult films.
On one unfortunate day, Rand finally gathers enough strength to confront Tommy to clear the debts. However, while looking for Tommy, Rand encounters his wife, Pamela Anderson, who thinks Rand is creeping on her and shouts in a reflex. Tommy unleashes his anger on Rand and fires him and Lonnie without clearing their bills.
Rand, an amateur theologian and true believer in the concept of Karma, decides to let things go and goes back to Tommy’s mansion to get his tools. However, Tommy humiliates Rand again and keeps his tools as collateral. The entire incident reminds Rand of his childhood trauma that he has been struggling with for a long time and thus decides to take revenge.
In October of 1995, Rand plans to steal a safe inside Tommy’s garage with Lonnie. However, a day before the robbery, Lonnie backs out, and Rand carries on the mission all by himself. At night, he steals the safe and brings it to the woods to open it. While in the mansion, Tommy doesn’t even notice the object missing from under his roof.
Inside the safe, Rand not only finds guns, ammunition, pearls, and cash, but also an unlabeled “Hi8” tape that he brings to Uncle Miltie (Nick Offerman), an adult film director who works at Ingley studios. When Miltie checks the tape, he is totally amazed by the contents inside, which are not only intimately personal but outrageously sensuous.
Episode 2: Recap – When Fire Meets Dynamite
Though all that wild chemistry and passionate romance between Pamela and Tommy look pleasing to the eyes and appealing to the masses, it is, in reality, an adrenaline rush that never stays the same forever. That is what happened in “Pam & Tommy” Episode 2, when Tommy first saw Pam in February of 1995 in a nightclub. At the very beginning of the episode, Pam tells her girlfriends that she is done dating the bad guys and might as well end up with an accountant. However, she was destined for chaos. Tommy, sitting a few inches away from her, finds Pam captivating and quickly approaches her as if he is indeed looking for trouble.
When Tommy finds out that Pam is leaving for Cancun for a shoot, he quickly makes up his mind to follow his destiny and brings his boy band along with him. Pam’s heart swoons with all the efforts Tommy makes to impress her. They soon spark a relationship where both are aware of each other’s physical attributes but know nothing about the dreams or passions that make them the people they are.
In the heat of the moment, the couple get married in Mexico, but on a flight back to Hollywood, they struggle to make small talk because, apparently, they don’t know each other at all. Tommy invites Pam to live with him in his Malibu Mansion that he is going to renovate soon, and that’s when Rand comes in. At this point, the lives of these three individuals intersect, and the choices they make will pave the way for further conflict explored in “Pam & Tommy” Episode 3.
‘Pam & Tommy’ Episode 3: The Darkest Web Of All
In “Pam & Tommy” Episode 1, Rand gets hold of a gold mine in the form of a “Hi8” tape, which he fails to sell directly because it is stolen property and invades the privacy of a person with whom Rand now shares a personal vendetta. Throughout November 1995, Uncle Miltie and Rand walked door-to-door to several distributors who refused to buy it without a signed release from the parties involved in its making.
In the meantime, Rand gets a call from his wife, Erica. A flashback sequence explains that Rand met Erica some five years ago, but things didn’t work out between them, and now Erica lives with her lesbian partner, Danielle. Erica wants Rand to fix her old-fashioned toilet with a broken float cup valve, which isn’t available in any local store. To impress his wife, Rand enlists the help of the internet, but quickly gets an idea that he can sell the tape as well, through the untraceable dark world wide web.
Rand pitches the idea to Uncle Miltie, and the two visit a crimeboss-cum-producer, Butchie Peraino. Butchie agrees to invest in the venture of the new generation and hands over 50 grand to the hustlers. Soon, Rand starts making copies of the tape and sets up a website to sell them to interested watchers.
On the other side of the narrative, Pamela suffers from creative conflict while shooting the last season of Baywatch. Like all famous stars who rose to fame without substance in their art, even Pam wants herself to be seen as a serious Oscar-deserving actor. She passionately prepares a monologue that is chopped on the day of the shoot because the makers of the show don’t feel Pam can pull it off.
Meanwhile, Tommy is struggling with an existential crisis like a fading artist after his band, Mötley Crüe, hits rock bottom. He tries to be a great husband and cooks food for Pam, and also supports her while she struggles with conflicts of her own. Finally, a conversation between the two helps them bridge the gaps in their relationship, whose cause-and-effect is witnessed at the end of the episode when Pam finds out that she is pregnant with Tommy’s child.
On one hand, the couple cherishes their newfound happiness and waits for Pam’s Barb Wire (1996) to hit the silver screen, while on the other, Rand finally decides to move on with his life and signs the divorce papers, giving himself and Erica the freedom they wanted. Pam and Tommy plan for an uncertain future, believing their little kingdom will soon be blessed with happiness, but they are unaware that a man in the streets has already triggered a weapon that will destroy their glass castle with only a single blow.
The upcoming episodes of “Pam & Tommy” will finally depict the consequences of the intimate tape that will soon find its way into millions of homes. But we all know that Pam and Tommy’s relationship is not strong enough to face the consequences. However, what is intriguing about the entire setup is the involvement of Rand, and it will be interesting to look forward to how things will turn out for him. Will he ever pay back for invading the privacy of two people and destroying their lives? Or will he just disappear in the thin air without remorse or guilt weighing him down for his entire life?
“Pam & Tommy” is a 2022 biopic comedy-drama mini-series created by Robert Siegel. It is based on an article written by Amanda Chicago Lewis.