DEFINITION May 2022 - Web


R aunchy, gripping and salacious, Hulu’s latest dark comedy, Pam & Tommy , kicks off as a whirlwind example of the frivolity of a celebrity lifestyle. However, this is tainted by a complete loss of any sense of privacy – especially for a woman already seen as a global sex symbol. Rather than a simple biographical piece focused on the relationship between Baywatch star Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan), the plot centres on a driving character – the constantly out-of- his-depth carpenter Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), who takes vengeance on Tommy Lee when he is fired without pay. He does so by stealing, manufacturing and selling the couple’s sex tape online. The leaking of such tapes has become common in the 21st century, but this was an early example of one going viral via the internet. This is wittily emphasised by the characters’ lack of knowledge or understanding of what the ‘web’ actually was – it had only existed for less than a year at that point in the story. The mid-nineties era is also heavily present in the show’s sets, wardrobe

and music. We are undoubtedly in 1995, especially when watching Pamela and Tommy meeting, getting high and married, despite having only known each other for 96 hours. This eight-part series was divided up between an eclectic handful of mostly female directors – their individual styles reflected subtly by the final product of each episode. START WITH A BANG The first three episodes were taken on by Australian-American director Craig Gillespie. Most known for I, Tonya and Cruella , his approach could be described as a model of precise extravagance. This style suits the series perfectly. Trombone shots are in abundance, as Tommy locks eyes with Pamela in a sultry nightclub; making it feel as though you are both watching in the third person, but also locking eyes with the pair of them yourself. We personally embark on the journey of Tommy’s crazed pursuit of Pamela. Following her after one meeting to Cancun, partying two nights away together on drugs, and ultimately ending

SPOTLIGHT Pamela’s interview with Jay Leno is re-enacted, with the actress having to light-heartedly discuss the scandal

up on a beach with her in a white bikini saying, ‘I do’ – four days after meeting. All 100% historically accurate, the introduction undoubtedly reels you in with its flamboyance. Standout elements of Gillespie’s contribution are the slow-motion sex scenes – Tommy having held off until this point because he ‘does things by the book’. They quite literally depict the climax of this four-day relationship and subsequent marriage. But what Gillespie also manages to achieve is a portrayal of how Pam and Tommy see their relationship – an exciting, Bonnie and Clyde-style romance – while trying to ground the audience with the ridiculousness of this fantasy. Tommy’s conversation with an animated version of his penis also helps. RAMPANT SEXISM Episode 6, Pamela in Wonderland , is the only one taken on by director Hannah

Did you know? On-set, Lily James wore a prosthetic forehead and chest, dentures, blue contact lenses and a blonde wig. Sebastian Stan spent hours getting up to 30 tattoos painted on him, grew out and dyed his hair, and wore brown contact lenses, pierced nipples and a prosthetic penis. Their wardrobe was not custom-made, but purchased second-hand, based on the clothes Anderson and Lee wore during that period of 1995-1998.

31. MAY 2022

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