While Pam & Tommy is entertaining—talking penis and all—it misses the mark when it comes to its portrayal of Pamela Anderson. The model and former Baywatch star refused to be involved in the production, so Lily James’ Pam lacks the necessary dimension to fully embody Anderson beyond the naive, bombshell blonde caricature known from the tabloids.
But now Anderson gets to tell her story in her own words, with a documentary for Netflix. She hinted at the news with a poem on social media (written on a Netflix pad), that reads, “My life/ A thousand imperfections/ A million misperceptions/ Wicked, wild and lost/ Nothing to live up to /I can only surprise you /Not a victim, but a survivor /And alive to tell the real story.”
According to Netflix’s own social media statement, the documentary had “been in the making for several years” and “will feature the pop culture icon setting the record straight as she looks back on her professional path and her personal journey.”
Netflix has yet to share its title, but Variety reports that it’ll be directed by Ryan White, who made The Keepers and Ask Dr. Ruth. White will also serve as its producer, along with Jessica Hargrave (The Keepers), Julia Nottingham (Skate Kitchen), and Anderson’s son, Brandon Thomas Lee. Josh Braun is also onboard as executive producer.
Anderson has yet to comment publicly on how she truly feels about how she was written in Pam & Tommy or about having one of the most difficult moments of her life being turned into a TV series. But, in an essay for Vulture, Rachel Rabbit White expresses just how much Pam & Tommy failed at properly portraying Anderson.
She writes that in the show, “Pam is the nice girl who fell for the wrong guy. She’s the SWERF fantasy: a woman so used to pleasing men that she can’t stand up for herself. All we see are the tropes: Pam’s the pinup, she’s the bombshell, she’s the bimbo. The show clings to that tabloid fantasy of two people with little in common beyond the desire to fuck each other without digging any deeper, casting Anderson as blank as possible so that a new public’s conscious and repressed desires could be projected onto her all over again.”
Whereas, in reality, Anderson is a far more complex person, who, with Tommy Lee, “lived a life marked by private artistic pursuits, writing screenplays for each other and throwing mock themed weddings together—a space-themed wedding, a New Age wedding, a wedding on Christmas in which Lee rode in on a horse and the couple signed the guest book in each other’s blood ‘because it felt like forever.’”
Now, that’s the Anderson worth getting to know onscreen.