Stars, Celebrities, and Scandals

On Feb. 2, the mini-series “Pam & Tommy” began streaming on Hulu. The series is a dramatized retelling surrounding the release of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s personal sex tape in 1996. The show stars Sebastian Stan as Lee, Lily James as Anderson and Seth Rogan as Rand Gauthier, the man responsible for the leaked tape.

The final episode to the eight-episode mini-series was released on March 9. Many fans of the show said they were enjoying the series as each new episode was released.

“It’s a good show, it just sucks that it’s based on real events,” said senior Colleen Bertolini. “But props to the makeup crew and the entire cosmetic crew. It’s incredible how much alike the cast looks.”

According to Vogue, getting James to look exactly like Anderson was an intense process. “For each artist, transforming James was a career-defining challenge and dream project.” Preparing James to look like Anderson was a four-hour process. The team had to heavily alter James’ hair, teeth and breasts to emulate Anderson.

 Anderson has been reported saying she herself would avoid the show. There are also many claims that state James reached out to Anderson during production, but heard no response.

Some fans were admittedly troubled by this fact.

“It’s making her relive it again and I don’t think that’s a good thing,” said Bertolini.

“If you’re making a show about a specific person, you’re the one telling the audience how to feel about them,” said senior Patrick Coyne. “It’s a good show, but they needed to get her consent, otherwise it’s not right.”

Dr. Lori Bindig Yousman, the department chair of communications studies at Sacred Heart, said it became complicated when the tape became a part of pop culture. “We can see how she was treated, and we can see how she doesn’t want to live through that again, which is understandable.”

“The creators of the show are trying to use this as a case study to explore the internet, society and gender,” said Yousman. “While I can see why she doesn’t endorse this as a person, I can also see that the series is trying to form a social commentary, rather than a salacious movie of the week.” 

Yousman isn’t the only one with these beliefs.

“Anderson was a sex symbol. She starred in Playboy and moved to TV. Because of how much skin she showed willingly, during the time of the tapes release, no one thought it was such a big deal for them to view it without her consent now,” said junior Alaina DeRose.

According to The New York Times, the show uses the tape to explore the American culture of the 90s. “The series made the celebrity sex tape a defining artifact of the internet age. The show has more on its mind than celebrity antics… although it has those, too.”

Yousman also explained that the show explores the difficulties of women very well. 

“As you get into that deposition episode, you can see how brutal it is as a woman in society,” said Yousman.

During said deposition,  Anderson is asked increasingly inappropriate and unrelated questions about the tape. Yousman added that the deposition scene was included to emphasize how poorly Anderson was treated simply for being a woman.

“As much as it is about our understanding of a sexist society, the internet and the construction of femininity, there’s so much in it about masculinity and class,” said Yousman. “Anderson was collateral in this situation.”

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