9/10 I’ll admit that I didn’t have the highest hopes when I started this limited series. How will they take the story of a celebrity sex tape and stretch it out over eight episodes? Luckily I was happy to be proven wrong and “Pam & Tommy” turned out to be one of the best limited series of the past several years. Perhaps I should have been more enthusiastic considering that Robert Siegel acted as the showrunner and main writer. Siegel has done excellent writing on films like “The Wrestler”, “Big Fan” and “The Founder”, proving he has a strong track record. Add to that director Craig Gillespie who directed the most episodes in the series with three. Gillespie is a little hit or miss but has slightly more hits in his career. While coming off of the disappointing and mediocre “Cruella”, he has made some terrific films such as “Lars and the Real Girl” and “I, Tonya”. Similar to “I, Tonya” (also starring Sebastian Stan), this also highlights the true story of a famous woman, her struggles and the crazy story that unfolds along the way. Leading the series as Pam and Tommy themselves are Lily James and Sebastian Stan, respectively. While Stan is fantastic as Tommy Lee, it is James who completely disappears into Pamela Anderson, becoming completely unrecognizable except for during a flashback to Canada, where Anderson grew up. This is the best performance of James’ career and you can expect nominations for both her and Stan, as well as the limited series overall come next year’s Emmy Awards. Speaking of Emmy nominations, Seth Rogen should be recognized in the Supporting Actor in a Limited Series category, as he gives his best performance in years. While I naievely assumed this series was just about a celebrity sex tape, Siegel’s series is so much deeper than that. We get a look at the rise of Pamela Anderson, the whirlwind romance between her and Tommy Lee, a look in at life as a celebrity, the mafia, the beginning and rise of the internet, legal battles, abusive behavior, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and everything in between. With episodes clocking in between roughly 30-50 minutes each, the pacing is perfect and the show doesn’t drag for a second. Not a second of screen time is wasted as our leads are well developed and humanized. While Tommy Lee was an absolute piece of crap (in addition to acting like a spoiled, egotistical rock star he served jail time for spousal abuse from kicking Anderson while she held their seven week old son, Dylan, which the show adds as a footnote instead of portraying through re-enactment), Anderson suffered as a result of his behavior. While Anderson has her own flaws/mistakes (being married six different times, having poor taste in men, rushing into life altering decisions and the less said about the horrendous “Barb Wire”, the better), she definitely suffered more than Lee did and if Lee wouldn’t have screwed over the man who ended up stealing his safe containing the infamous sex tape, much of Anderson’s pain could have been avoided. The make-up and hairstyling in transforming our leads into their respective roles (especially James as Anderson) was incredible and both the soundtrack and score couldn’t have been any better (“Going Viral” was the most inventive track on the score). The recreation of the time period was spot on as this entertaining, well made series ends up being way better than it has any right to be. There were a couple of minor flaws but they didn’t detract too much from my viewing pleasure. The portrayal of Lee was a little too sympathetic for my tastes, especially considering his worst behavior not being shown on screen. While we do get some additional information at the end of the series, we don’t find out what happened to Milton “Uncle Miltie” Ingley (Nick Offerman). While we get several flashbacks regarding Anderson, we don’t get a look into Lee’s past, making the character development a little uneven in regards to their early lives. Finally, while the make-up and hairstyling for Pam and Tommy were flawless, we see Adam Ray as Jay Leno appear and his make-up stood out as looking bad and fake, especially when compared to how great everyone else looks as their character. In the end, these minor flaws won’t ruin your viewing experience. Following “Devs”, this is Offerman’s second fantastic limited series within the past couple of years, showing how intelligent he is when it comes to picking television roles. What starts out as a look into the first viral celebrity sex tape (long before Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian) takes a deeper look into our characters and how their actions changed not only their lives but the world forever. Highly entertaining and well worth your time (if you don’t mind the adult subject matter), this limited series puts the “watch” into “Baywatch”.

#TheGirlInTheCybersWeb / #BabeWatch / #MotleyScrew / #SexGuysAndVideotape / #DoctorFeelwood / #DownToTheBarbWire

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