This post contains mild spoilers for Pam & Tommy.
Pam & Tommy begin with an inverted l’oeil tromp. Hulu series, about 1995 theft Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape, open in a room where a TV is showing an interview between Anderson and the late-night host Jay Leno. From a distance, it looks like the TV is playing archival footage of the actual interview. But as it slowly zoomed forward, it was clear that it was a diversion from Pam & Tommywith Lily James like Anderson and Adam Ray like Leno.
Interview scenes set the tone for the upcoming series. Leno asked her about the “tape”. Anderson smiles and distracts. “What tape is it Jay?” she asked. Leno continued, making a few more jokes as Anderson awkwardly smiled and shrugged, politely gritting his teeth through the crude part of the conversation. It’s a snapshot of the two regimes she’ll have to live in: the agonized woman whose private property is stolen and the celebrity whose character is famous and appears in magazines like Playboy makes stammering questions about the tape seem like fair game. (A duality also raises questions the purpose of the drama in the first place.)
Leno and Anderson have a fun relationship in the reality interview, not as stressful as Pam & Tommy described it in the first volume. Then again, only an excerpt of the interview is actually available online. In it, Leno doesn’t explicitly ask Anderson about the tape, making it a bit unclear whether the dialogue used in the scene in Pam & Tommy completely invented. But even if it did, what we hear on the show is not out of the question.
In the actual interview, Anderson sits down and Leno clips a high-end mic to the strap of her dress, a snippet that immediately starts the conversation about her breasts. Anderson talks about how her body has changed due to pregnancy. She also mentioned how excited Lee is about their baby, and that he “always says he couldn’t be happier if they were twins”, admitting that she doesn’t know exactly. his mind.
“I think I know where he got his twin,” Leno said, drawing the crowd’s surprise and a sharp but playful look from Anderson.
It was a cheap quip, one of the many things that let Leno down about her looks. Over the years, he would roll out more jokes at her expense, including one in 1998, after it was reported she gave birth to her second child by natural birth. “Only in LA do you get bleached hair, silicone breasts and a completely natural birth,” Leno joke.
But despite the jokes about how badly Anderson’s body has aged, Baywatch Starship was apparently not given by Leno, one of the biggest late-night hosts on television at the time. She appeared on his show several times over the years, including an interview three years after the sex tape theft. As soon as she sat down in her chair for that conversation, Leno complimented her outfit, including her sparkling diamond necklace. He leaned forward, leaning over. “I just stared at it“He assured her, earning some knowing laughter from the crowd.
In another interview, Leno and Anderson remake the lav mic. He complimented her tight black rubber dress, asking what would happen if it punctured. Anderson mentioned the same dress she used to wear, which was punctured and rolled up, revealing her body. “OH Are not,” Leno said sarcastically. “That would be horrible.” Yet Anderson navigates the interview deftly, then is acutely aware of how to handle the dreary dressing-room energy of these conversations. Perhaps those appearances weren’t just perfunctory press stops, but rather friendly stops where Anderson could show off the country she’s part of in jest.