Pam & Tommy: the talking penis scene deciphered by its creators

Pam & Tommy
Hulu

A very unexpected scene for a series broadcast on Disney +.

Freshly landed on Disney+, the series Pam & Tommy on the sulphurous relationship between Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee is already the new TV sensation. With three episodes already broadcast in France and five still to come, it recounts the meeting between the two superstars and the scandal that rocked them in 1995: the release of their sextape on the Internet. Extravagant, sexy but not gritty, Pam & Tommy is a success that offers one of the most delirious scenes of recent years, with the character of Tommy Lee in full discussion with… his penis! An unexpected scene explained by its creators, and which has more influence on reality than we think.

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In episode 2 of the series, viewers were able to discover Sebastian Stan in the skin of Tommy Lee trying to convince his penis that Pamela is the woman of his life, after surprising her in Cancun (where the couple will marry a few days later in 1995). Not very convinced, Tommy Lee’s sex is reluctant, and reminds his owner of the many times they had this discussion, before it went wrong. A scene as improbable as these lines we are writing. Dubbed by Jason Mantzoukas (Brooklyn 99, The Good Place), Tommy Lee’s penis is, beyond the obvious WTF of the scene, a great television moment: it’s the first time that a talking penis has been shown, but also animated without really any special effects. Just a bit of string and elbow grease.

It’s in an interview for variety than Robert Siegel (series creator) explained the underside of this dialogue, giving it the origin of the memoir of Tommy Lee tommyland (published in 2004). The drummer of Mötley Crüe indeed makes his sex a character in his life. An idea taken up by Siegel, who therefore made him a real character in the series, explains the executive producer Sue Naegle : “Rob really got into this story in Tommy’s book and he was committed to finding a way to tell it. I think you have to have a variety of tones. The truth is that [Pam et Tommy] were having a lot of fun, they were on top of the world, they were in love and crazy. And I think you have to grasp happiness to really understand what was lost next. The fact that Tommy talks to his penis is one of them. This is what he says himself in his book. So that’s his relationship with his penis.”

On the technical side, the producer Craig Gillespie specifies the means used to make this sex more real than life: four puppeteers who work with an animatronic penis placed like a prosthesis on Sebastian Stan, a voice which must not make the spectator leave the scene, wires almost everywhere, a guy on the ground controlling the animatronics remotely… “It was super embarrassing,” recognizes the producer. Especially for Sebastian Stan, who stood naked in front of the camera, and who was just talking to himself.

His performance was also highlighted by the executive producer DV DeVincentis. “You’re standing there, naked, as an actor, with this prosthesis on you, which, invisible to the camera, has wires coming out of it – under you, behind you. And there’s a guy on the floor with switches and it controls remotely like a drone. It’s pretty crazy.” Craig Gillespie also gave Stan credit for being able “to be completely emotionally invested in the conversation he’s having. And it shows you that side of his mind, what he’s thinking and what’s on his mind. But in a weirdly comedic way, which was part of the tone of the show. But it took an actor of Sebastian’s caliber to be able to get the audience to emotionally engage.”

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Airing on Disney+ since February 2, Pam & Tommy is freely adapted from the life of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, starting from the quarrel between Rand Gauthier, a former porn actor turned electrician, and the rocker, at the time of the construction of his house. Driven by a desire for revenge after not having been paid, Gauthier decides to steal the couple’s safe, and finds an intimate video there which he hastens to share on the Internet… Imagined by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg but produced by Craig Gillespiethe series counts in its cast Lily James and Sebastian Stan in the titular roles, surrounded by Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman and Taylor Schilling.

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