With “Pam & Tommy,” Hulu hopes to explain the trashification of popular culture the way it explained the rise to prominence of the extreme right wing with “Mrs. America.” Will they succeed? We’ll have to wait and see to find out, but based on the first trailer, the limited series sure as hell looks like required viewing.
Watch the trailer above now.
Starring Lily James as Pamela Anderson and Sebastian Stan as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, “Pamela & Tommy” tells the story of the sex tape made by the then-husband and wife that literally changed the world and, to this day, remains an origin point from which you can trace a direct line to so much of the present day.
In 1996, Anderson and Lee were robbed by their electrician, Rand Gauthier. In addition to a lot of money and property, Gauthier also discovered he’d stolen a sex tape the couple recorded during their 1995 honeymoon. Gauthier, as it happens, also had ties to the porn industry and took the tape to a studio owner, Milton Ingley. After several failed attempts to find a buyer and publisher for the tape — Lee and Anderson were victims of a crime, something even a mob-connected pornographer didn’t want to be connected to — the tape made it online.
The internet was smaller in 1996 and the video became widely shared — so much so that by the time Anderson and Lee found out what had been done to them, it was too late to stop it, resulting in an outcome that is all too familiar now. But we’ll leave those details for the show.
In any event, it was the first famous example of how the internet could be used to harm people, and how difficult it can be to do anything about it. And 25 years later, it remains one of the most famous celebrity ‘scandals’ in a decade obsessed with them.
In addition to James and Stan, “Pamela & Tommy” also stars Nick Offerman and Seth Rogen. Produced by Point Grey and Annapurna, it premieres on Hulu Feb. 2, 2022.