“Pam and Tommy, forever,” an elated Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) exclaims to himself in episode two of the Hulu biographical drama. Actually, he confidently says it to his animatronic penis, voiced by Jason Mantzoukas. In the fast-paced “I Love You, Tommy,” the Mötley Crüe drummer spends time partying in Mexico with Baywatch actor Pamela Anderson (Lily James, in an uncanny transformation) and their friends. After knowing each other for only a few days, the two get hitched on the beach.
The first three episodes of Hulu’s new Pam & Tommy series just dropped; the remaining five will be released on a weekly. Episode two is dedicated to establishing the start of the duo’s frantic romance. From an initial meeting at a club to the Cancun vacation, from paparazzi invasions, to watching The King And I in bed and getting to know one another, it’s an amusing rundown of how the two popular personalities instantly hit it off. “I Love You, Tommy” is endearing but ultimately heartbreaking in hindsight of what the couple is about to go through.
“We took it as an opportunity to show that it was clearly an intense connection from the beginning,” Stan tells The A.V. Club. “I don’t know how you feel when you watch this one, but my hope is you’re pulled into it, you’re ready go for the ride. There’s such a high, and [writer] Robert D. Siegel and [director] Craig Gillespie did an unbelievable job capturing that dopamine rush.”
James tells The A.V. Club that it was a grounding experience to film this specific episode. “It was a lot of fun to film because it gets pretty dark moving forward. It was nice to have these moments, too.” She adds: “In a lot of ways, when you look at both of them falling in love so hard here, it’s something everyone has experienced, even if it’s not to the extremity they did by getting married in four days. But it was a really innocent, beautiful moment in their story at the time that was worth celebrating.”
Pam & Tommy shows how Anderson and Lee’s marriage unravelled after their honeymoon sex tape was stolen from their house and sold by disgruntled contractor Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) in 1995. Often told from Rand’s perspective as well, the show unpacks his misplaced reasons for committing the crime. Stan says it was educational because even he didn’t know the nitty gritty details of how the couple was robbed.
The tape circulated widely, with Anderson and Lee eventually suing the video distribution company before settling on a confidential agreement. By that point, they had faced extreme negative media and public scrutiny. The series examines the still pertinent issues of celebrity culture and online gossip through a 2022 lens, especially how the ensuing scandal crushed Anderson’s career opportunities. Pam & Tommy wants to be a reparation of sorts for her.
“We wanted to explore how unfairly she was treated, and talk about the repercussions that we don’t necessarily think about,” Stan says. “It starts a conversation about our own actions on the internet, or in life, and the projections we often throw on people without knowing them. We should ask ourselves a little bit where the perimeter is. We’re clicking away, commenting, liking, and we’re often doing it without seeing how it lands on the other person.”
James agrees, adding they wanted to examine how the case unintentionally impacted where the world is now with the internet and social media: “We want to hold a mirror up to us now and look at our own culpability.”