TV Recap: “Pam & Tommy” – Episodes 5 “Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie in Duluth” (Hulu)

Pam & Tommy is back with episode 5 “Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie in Duluth”. The tape is out in the public and Pam and Tommy are trying to stop the wildfire that has been unleashed.

At The Tonight Show writer’s room, the tape is mentioned, but the idea is shot down as not being worthy of Uncle Jim and Aunt Susie’s attention in Duluth. The tape has also sparked the interest of reporters at The Los Angeles Times. Coverage is scuttled by the editor, but this media interest is sure to cause future headaches for Pam (Lily James) and Tommy (Sebastian Stan).

While the world may be on fire around them, Pam is interviewing with Glamour Magazine. She likes to push past all the negative and not dwell on the past. In another room in the mansion, Tommy is staring at a teddy bear that was meant for their child. Both Pam and Tommy are in shock from the miscarriage. Tommy’s melancholy is forcing him to reflect on his past glories. Walking down a hallway of gold and platinum records, Tommy knows his best days are behind him.

At the Viper Room, Tommy is looking to forget about his troubles, have a few drinks and listen to some music. But the sex tape comes back to haunt him. When a fan approaches Tommy and mentions the tape, Tommy is enraged and starts a fight. His altercation gets him thrown out of the club, and Tommy Lee ends up on the front page of the tabloids.

The ruckus at the bar has only upset Pam more. She tells Tommy in no uncertain terms that from now on, he needs to tone down his outbursts. Pam tells her husband that everything he does reflects badly on her. For the time being while she promotes her film Barb Wire, he needs to support her and not cause trouble.

Sadly, for Pam and Tommy, the sex tape continues to attract an audience. Informing the publicist at the studio about the tape, Pam now must worry if the tape could hurt the success of her upcoming movie. Back at home, the tension between Pam and Tommy comes to a boiling point. Tommy’s nonchalant attitude towards the tape has angered Pam. She sees Tommy reveling in the release of the tape because it makes him look good, while the tape only diminishes her.

In the writer’s room at The Tonight Show, Jay Leno (Adam Ray) has stepped into the room, and learns about the tape but doesn’t want to use the story in his monologue. The newspaper calls Tommy looking for a comment, only to be hung up on. But the worst of all news for the couple is that Penthouse magazine has a copy of the magazine.

Tommy is furious and wants to sue, but Pam is hesitant. To Pam, a lawsuit would only embolden Penthouse to print pictures from the video, thus giving more airtime to the tape in the news. Led by Tommy, the couple sue, which infuriates Penthouse, who now plans to publish twenty pictures from the video in an upcoming edition.

Back at the film studio, the consultant advises Pam that she shouldn’t have sued, because now it gives attention to the tape and notoriety to Penthouse. The story is picked up by the papers, and the tabloid fodder is now fuel for the Leno writers. The fallout begins to hit the mainstream media.

Media attention makes the couple a joke on The Tonight Show, Pam’s profile in Glamour magazine is cut, and Pam is summoned for a deposition by Penthouse lawyers.


Bill’s Perspective:  

Watching this episode, it’s hard not to get enraged by the exploitation of Pam and Tommy’s tape. While Pam & Tommy is rehashing this story, viewers of the series are getting a better appreciation of what happened to Pam and Tommy during this time in their life.

I appreciate the fact that this show has no support from the real Pam Anderson, and she has plans to never watch the series. I think the show is important, because a tabloid moment of the past is now put into context, and we have a chance to see how destructive this time was for Pam and Tommy.

We learn from the awful experience that Pam had and hopefully prevent something like this from happening again. Pam and Tommy are victims in this crime, yet, no one has been arrested, and the couple continues to be victimized. As Lily James wonderfully illustrates many times throughout the episode, Pam is going to be punished and demonized for the tape, while Tommy is high fived on the street. What does this say about our society? Equality is a long way off.