Jezebel Investigates: The Hair-storical Accuracy of the Pam & Tommy Trailer

The preview of Hulu's upcoming series drops us into a steaming-hot stew of mid-’90s sleaze.

Jezebel Investigates: The Hair-storical Accuracy of the Pam & Tommy Trailer
Image:Steve Starr (Getty Images)

High-waist jeans and flannels are over and we’ve re-entered an era of 4” rises and fishnet dresses, which means that Hulu’s Pam & Tommy TV show is arriving right on time.

The trailer for the series, which stars Lily James and Sebastian Stan as the ’90s tabloid fixtures Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, is filled with era-specific details, right down to the titular couple peering over their Oakleys at a cathode ray tube computer while the dialup connection sings its screeching lullaby. But there’s one detail that seems like it might be less than perfectly historically accurate: the hair.

Pam & Tommy tells the story of the heist that made the couple’s private tape a public commodity. In 1995, Rand Gauthier, an electrician and porn star, was working on renovations on the couple’s home before being fired, he says, without payment. To get back at the pair, he decided to steal the safe they kept in their garage. Inside it, he found jewels, guns, and a VHS tape. Included on the hour-long tape was a few minutes of footage of a married couple having sex, and because the couple happened to be Baywatch’s Pam and Mötley Crüe’s Tommy, he had a goldmine on his hands. He teamed up with veteran porn performer and director Milton Ingley to try to sell the tape, a mission that got them into some tight situations with the mob, a biker gang, and Anderson and Lee’s lawyers.

The series is directed by I, Tonya’s Craig Gillespie and stars Seth Rogen as Gauthier and Nick Offerman as Ingley, both of whom appear to sport some variation of a mullet in the trailer. James and Stan look pretty perfect, though Stan has a lingering air of well-nourished wholesomeness that Lee never possessed. But in the sea of mid-’90s gutter chic in which this story swims—Anderson and Lee wed wearing a white bikini and a pair of cargo shorts, respectively—Rogen and Offerman’s do’s don’t quite scan. The mullet had its heyday in the ’80s, and by the second half of the ’90s, the ascendant LA sleaze look would likely have been more Mark McGrath than Billy Ray Cyrus.

So I decided to investigate. It looks like Gauthier had some definite mullet action when he appeared in The Wonder Rears, but that was way back in 1990. These days, his later ’90s appearances in films like Big Boob Bikini Bash and Willie Wankers and the Fun Factory (yes, Oompa Loompas are involved) are hard to find, and though I’m a committed investigator, I’m not quite devoted enough to this story to burrow into whatever sticky corner of the internet currently holds the aforementioned movies. All I can say is that the most popular of Gauthier photos of show a short blow-out style—a kind of late-period Uncle Jesse—rather than the iconic business in the front, party in the back hairstyle. As for Ingley (titles include Stud Hunter and For Your Thighs Only), his signature look appears to have been more of a Cousin Oliver-style ‘70s mop.

Real-life Ingley and Offerman-as-Ingely Screenshot:Youtube

Even if the baddies’ hairstyles might not be entirely historically accurate, it makes sense to immortalize them as mullet men. After all, there’s only so much you can communicate in a movie trailer. The trailer can’t tell us that Gauthier was the son of a 60s actor famed for playing a TV robot whose name was a literal racial slur. It can’t tell us that he committed the robbery by covering himself with a fur rug and trying to trick Anderson and Lee’s security cameras into believing he was their dog. It can’t tell us that Ingley’s nickname was “Uncle Miltie,” truly the creepiest possible porn producer sobriquet. It can only scratch the surface of the ways that the stolen tape, which Anderson says she never saw a penny from, would make the world see her as tarnished and Lee as a well-endowed badass. It can’t hint at the fact the illicitly released video would bind them together forever in the public eye, even though they divorced in 1998 and Lee would spend time in jail for physically abusing Anderson. The easiest, most direct way to communicate that Rogen and Offerman are playing a couple guys from the morally questionable side of the ‘90s is to slap some mullets on them.

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