Wednesday, February 2, 2022

REVIEW: 'Pam & Tommy' - Rand Invents a New Way to Release the Tape While Pam Yearns for Freedom in 'Jane Fonda'

Hulu's Pam & Tommy - Episode 1.03 "Jane Fonda"

Rand teams up with an old porn-world associate to shop the tape around town.

"Jane Fonda" was written by DV DeVincentis and directed by Craig Gillespie

When Rand takes Erica out for dinner, he tells her that he is secure in his masculinity despite her making a joke at his expense. He has come to that acceptance because his misogyny has allowed him to get rich. It no longer matters that he has a small penis. He has found a way to make money at the expense of someone who wronged him and who happens to be a sex-obsessed individual. But the story is no longer about him getting revenge against Tommy Lee. It's about vitriol towards Pam and Tommy as a couple. Rand views them as a collective entity. She condones every action her husband takes. She is nothing but an extension of him. She is a symbol of prosperity that he has achieved and denied others. Everyone else is reduced to gazing at her body onscreen. Even then, Baywatch has network censors who prevent anything from getting too graphic. But all of this has essentially become a dick measuring contest. Rand is at war with Tommy and is using Pam in order to win. In promoting the tape, he isn't highlighting Tommy Lee. It's all about international sex symbol Pamela Anderson in her private moments with her husband. It's scandalous and most be sent out to the millions of people with access to the internet. All of this is affirmation for Rand believing in himself as an inventor. He is a contractor and amateur theologian. To boost his ego, he proclaims himself as being on the cutting edge of technology. It still takes him awhile to realize the internet can help him find the parts he needs no matter where in the country they are. He has to call a store in Dayton, Ohio to retrieve the part that is broken on Erica's toilet. He feels indebted to her because she offers him the solution to his problem. No one in the porn industry is willing to publish the sex tape. They aren't willing to expose themselves to that legal liability. They can't have their names associated with it because it provides the celebrities with an entity to blame and sue. Rand and Miltie want to view themselves as untouchable. They can't be traced by releasing this product through the world wide web. Of course, Miltie doesn't entirely understand it. It is new technology after all. But again, it's about Rand inventing how to create a marketplace for this product. When they go to a mobster for money, he knows the perils of trying to sell this tape. It isn't going to work because every avenue will be shut down for releasing it against the consent of the participants in the tape. Rand makes the argument that it can be free on the internet. It won't trace back to these business-minded individuals. It's incredibly foolish. He doesn't nearly understand the world as much as he thinks he does. He has such a pompous attitude. But that too is a consistency in this story. These outlandish personalities clash and make history. It all just happens to come at the expense of the woman. She is innocent of any crime. Yet she is the one who has to answer for it for years. When meeting her new publicist, Pam details a narrative of freedom. She yearns to be just like Jane Fonda. She is a host of contradictions and is celebrated for it. That's the life that Pam wants. In that context, it's easier to understand why she is drawn to Tommy. He is unapologetic in life and goes after what he wants. He inspires her to take action on the set of Baywatch. She prepared for a monologue only for it to get cut. She wants it filmed. It doesn't even matter if the producers ultimately give in to her demands. It's just important that she asks for it. That's a victory from her perspective. She also has her next project lined up. Her narrative is being shaped by people who are paid to do so for a living. But again, all of that is bound to change thanks to the financing Rand and Miltie have and the ability to distribute the tape on a massive scale. That will destroy any happiness and prosperity Pam hopes to have especially when she finds out she is also pregnant. Again, the show wants to be ironic in these specific plot beats. It wants the audience to laugh at how optimistic people are when not knowing what's coming. That sinking feeling of dread though just undercuts so much and keeps everyone from feeling present and consistent.