They broke the worldwide web once, and just shy of three decades on, they almost did it again. “Based on the true fucking scandal!” hollered the viral teaser trailer for Pam & Tommy, the new outrageous miniseries about Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and what’s called the very first celebrity sex tape.
And baby, it really does have it all: two unrecognisable A-listers! Prosthetic breasts! Sex! Drugs! Celebrity! Nudity! The internet! A thief disguised as a dog! A talking animatronic penis! See: a true fucking scandal!
Come on, we all know the story, right? The punchlines – almost exclusively aimed at Anderson – rubbed raw and redundant by repetition. Apart from, well, maybe we don’t. Not quite. Because what Pam & Tommy makes clear (over eight brilliantly crafted and entertaining episodes starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan), is what Anderson herself has stated if anybody bothered to listen. “It’s not funny, this is devastating to us,” she said, quietly, firmly, on The TonightShow with Jay Leno in 1996 as he tried to land a few gags in the wake of the scandal.
Anderson later described it as “just a video of when we were first married and running around the world and [it had] a little bit of nudity. And they spliced it all together and made it look like we’d created some kind of pornography.”
In fact, that 54-minute home video shot with her new husband contained just eight minutes of sex, but that didn’t stop it being marketed as ‘Pamela’s Hardcore Sex Video.’ That was after it had been nicked from her house, sold bootleg tape-by-bootleg tape by a couple of porno pros and then eventually put on the new-fangled internet for the world to… enjoy.
Sympathy, or basic empathy, for Anderson hasn’t been particularly forthcoming over the years. Well, she posed for Playboy 14 times, didn’t she? And ran along the beach in a revealing bathing suit every week. And talked about her sex life in interviews. And by Christ, seemed to really, really enjoy having sex with her actual husband and later father to her children.