Pamela, a love story both gives Anderson the opportunity to tell her own story and highlights the problems with Hulu’s Pam & Tommy series.
Pamela, a love story not only offers a nuanced perspective in the life of one of the 90s biggest TV stars, but it also highlights the tragedy at the core of the unauthorized hit Hulu biopic, Pam & Tommy. While both projects offer insight into one of the decade’s most-notorious celebrity incidents, Netflix’s Pamela Anderson documentary tells the story from Anderson’s own perspective, without overindulging in dramatic license. As such, Pamela, a love story offers a very different interpretation of events, coloring them in a whole new light.
Unlike Pam & Tommy, which conspicuously revolves around several main characters – including Sebastian Stan’s Tommy Lee, Lily James’ Pamela Anderson, and Seth Rogen’s Rand Gauthier, Pamela, a love story deliberately centers Anderson’s point of view. During the documentary, Anderson reads extracts from her own diary, providing a fascinating insight into her contemporary reaction to events. It is through these readings that Anderson’s own views on the sex tape scandal that came to define her career become increasingly clear. Consequently, Pamela, a love story not only makes the events of Pam & Tommy even more personal and heartbreaking but also highlights a central flaw with the entire Hulu project.
Pamela, a love story Shows Pam & Tommy Repeated A Crushed Dream
Although Pam & Tommy did attempt to show the human consequences of the sex tape scandal, Pamela, a love story takes things a step further. In relaying her response to events in her own words, Pamela, a love story lays bare Anderson’s struggles to move beyond her status as a sex symbol while allowing her to reclaim the narrative. Yet, in making clear how distressing and traumatic the entire affair was, the documentary both demonstrates how truly tragic Pam & Tommy‘s inciting incident really was, while simultaneously raising questions about the drama’s decision to bring the story back to the forefront.
By focusing in on the sex tape scandal without Anderson’s consent, Pam & Tommy – however inadvertently – once again defined Anderson by her sexuality. As is made clear in Pamela, a love story, the real person behind the fictionalized drama has struggled for decades to move beyond the scandal and change the narrative. Whatever the intentions behind the Hulu documentary, the fact remains that Pam & Tommy undermined Anderson’s mission to redefine herself beyond the stolen sex tape.
Netflix’s Pamela Anderson Documentary Proves Pam & Tommy Was A Mistake
Although Hulu’s series didn’t commit anything as egregious as actually breaking into Anderson’s house and stealing the physical tape, the outcome shares unfortunate similarities with the original scandal. In both cases, Anderson’s own voice was lost amid increasingly feverish and exploitative discourse, with the protagonist’s sexuality the main talking point. Given Anderson’s own stated desire to move past the incident and establish herself beyond the stolen video, the fallout from the Hulu series feels uncomfortable at best.
The issues with the drama have been identified by none other than Anderson herself. In an interview with Variety, the former Baywatch star labeled the creators as “A**holes,” adding that the show is “Salt on the wound… You still owe me a public apology.” While Pam & Tommy may not have set out to be deliberately exploitative, the reaction of the person at the heart of the scandal suggests that the impact was far from positive. As such, and despite its plaudits, Pamela, a love story proves that the unauthorized Pam & Tommy was a mistake, as far as Anderson is concerned.