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Television

‘Pam & Tommy’ Episodes 1 – 3 review: Ushering in the age of the celebrity sex tape

Sebastian Stan rocks as Motley Crue drummer.

Pam & Tommy takes audiences back to the internet’s first ever celebrity sex tape. The series begins in 1995. Lee is taking advantage of two contractors as he tries to build his “Love Shack.” After asking when he is going to get paid, Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) is unceremoniously fired by Lee (Sebastian Stan). When he breaks into Lee’s house in retaliation, what he discovers changes lives and the adult film industry while showcasing the power of the internet.

It only takes a few seconds before the series foreshadows one of its major themes. Jay Leno asks Anderson (Lily James) about the sex tape on his late night show leading to an awkward silence from the Baywatch star. In the vein of many recent releases that have looked back on the past, it is clear Pam & Tommy is going to examine the treatment of Anderson. The first three episodes of Pam & Tommy prove that it is always an interesting idea to look back on the past with supposedly more enlightened eyes. What it also highlights is the strong cast.

Jones is fantastic in the role of Anderson. For those who were not alive at the time, it is hard to describe the effect she had on the nation. Suffice to say, she was the biggest sex symbol in the world. There is more to the role than just being eye candy. James provides the aura that made Anderson such a star. There is a sensitivity to Anderson that is brought to the forefront. Stan is also fantastic as Lee. He is brash, egotistical, oblivious, caring, and violent.

Ultimately, that may be what stands out most about the premiere episodes of Pam & Tommy. The entire cast is great, but the plot tends to forget what type of story it is trying to tell. There are plenty of directions to go in: the cycle of abuse, casual misogyny, the rise of the internet, the importance of sex. Touching on all of them is fine, but after three episodes, the series has yet to find its focus. 

The first three episodes of Pam & Tommy premiere on Hulu February 2nd. New episodes follow every Wednesday 

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