‘Pam & Tommy’ Review 1×04: “The Master Beta”

After a rocky start, Pam & Tommy continues with its fourth episode. Although it remains clear that this project is sorely missing Anderson’s own voice, Lily James continues to make every effort to portray her as fully human. We now reach the part of the story where the theft of the infamous sex tape is made known, and we get to see how everyone involved reacted.

Sebastian Stan and Lily James return as the famous couple living their lives in the spotlight. The hiring of a private investigator to look into the theft of their sex tape made so much sense. There was sneaky commentary about the ineffectiveness of the police to help the couple retrieve their stolen property. Having the private investigator physically show up at Rand’s (Seth Rogen) home to physically intimidate him also proved to be ineffective, however, as no one in this story was prepared for the speed of the internet.

The different perspectives on the theft itself were intriguing and said so much for the characters that this show has developed. For Pam, it was about being violated. She wanted to preserve her dignity that had been so brutally taken away with the theft of such a private tape. For Tommy, it was about pride. Even his hiring of the PI, although he certainly wanted the video back itself, seemed to respond more to the helplessness that having his property stolen caused him to feel deeply. 

Lily James, ‘Pam & Tommy’. Photo Credit: Hulu

Rand remains such a slimy and hatable character; it’s almost hard to watch his scenes on screen. Hopefully, the resolve the storyline between him and his former wife Erica (Taylor Schilling) since it seems to be going nowhere good at the moment. The fact that Rand was straight up abandoned by his accomplice, Uncle Miltie (Nick Offerman), was hilarious and fundamentally what the character deserved at that exact moment. 

The library scene was the standout moment of this episode. Having Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee visiting the Malibu Public Library was a surreal yet oddly comforting experience. They were fish out of water and yet a reminder that the public library is, in fact, open to everyone. The scene was also a testament to the internet age and how well Pam & Tommy captured the beginning of the internet age. The confusion and anxiety when first encountering the internet in the public library was palpable and played to perfection. 

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Lily James, ‘Pam & Tommy’. Photo Credit: Hulu

The way that this episode handled female rage was glorious. After we, as viewers, walked through the heartbreaking miscarriage Anderson suffered, we are gifted with the perfect response of her character responding to an aggressive paparazzo. Having her beat in the windshield of the paparazzo’s car with a baseball bat was genius. It was such a cathartic response to being harassed and this viewer couldn’t help but cheer as the intruder sped away. 

Pam & Tommy continues to be both a case study of the times being portrayed, and a commentary on modern celebrity and internet culture. We can take for granted how far the internet has come and how much it has impacted our daily lives. At the heart of this show are two people in love, who, although surrounded by ludicrous wealth, still deserved dignity and privacy. While not always particularly likable or understandable, these were two people who never deserved to have their privacy so violated.  With two episodes left, hopefully, the series can find its balance and focus on the humanity of two people who became sensations. 

New episodes of Pam & Tommy air Wednesdays on Hulu.

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