The Best Pam and Tommy TV Show Was a ‘Saturday Night Live’ Sketch With Norm Macdonald
Pamela Anderson has been topping the Netflix charts recently — not because society has finally come around and embraced the genius of Barb Wire, but thanks to the new documentary Pamela: A Love Story, which allows Anderson to have some agency in the telling of her life story. The recent miniseries Pam & Tommy wasn’t exactly the most sensitive depiction of events, as evidenced by the fact that Anderson wasn’t consulted during its production — and also by the fact that it co-starred a giant prosthetic dong voiced by Jason Mantzoukas.
But Pam & Tommy wasn’t the first time that the relationship between Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer/roller-coaster connoisseur Tommy Lee was dramatized for the small screen. Back in 1997, Anderson (then going by “Pamela Lee”) hosted Saturday Night Live, appearing in sketches such as a Twilight Zone parody starring a bunch of pig-faced plastic surgeons who quickly abandon the original story’s moral because their patient is “hot.”
But the other memorable moment in the show was a skit in which Norm Macdonald plays Lee, visiting Anderson on the set of some kind of legal drama. But apparently, he doesn’t understand the concept of movies or television because he keeps casually wandering onto the set, asking her dumb questions. Things get violent when the other actor (played by Will Ferrell) winks at Anderson during the scene, and an enraged Lee attacks him. In the end, “Tommy” makes out with his wife, only to have the real, identically-dressed Tommy Lee burst onto the stage and start beating the crap out of Macdonald.
While it only lasts for a few minutes and is played for laughs, this scene is, in retrospect, a pretty fair representation of the couple — she was a working actress, and he was a volatile, abusive maniac whose abhorrent behavior wasn’t fully examined in Pam & Tommy. I mean, Tommy Lee probably knows what cameras are in real life, but Macdonald’s caricature still seems to hit closer to home than we certainly knew at the time.
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