"I can’t think of a more fun and cuddly way to get away with extended full-frontal male nudity."

Shock comes with the territory for Pam & Tommy. Hulu's no-holds-barred limited series chronicles not only the saga of the private sex tape stolen from Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee's (Sebastian Stan) home safe and released without their consent, but also their whirlwind, tabloid-fodder relationship that played out in the mid-'90s. But episode 2 bares all in a scene that showrunners Rob Siegel and D.V. DeVincentis still can't believe made it to air: Tommy, enamored with Pam only days after meeting her, decides to propose because he thinks she's the one. His penis (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas), however, disagrees — he wants to keep the one-night-stand party going indefinitely.

The scene features Stan as Lee dropping trou, standing fully naked in front of a mirror, and having a full-on back-and-forth with his penis as the appendage moves around and talks like it's a normal conversation with a friend — and it had people talking weeks before it debuted on Hulu. "It's a first," Siegel admits of showing a man talking to his member — and it actually talking back. "It came from Tommy Lee himself, his memoir Tommyland. His penis is a character in the book. Throughout the book, he has these, I presume imaginary but maybe not, exchanges between himself and his dick." DeVincentis explains they saw those passages as "almost like Tommy's id" rather than "a sentient organ."

Pam & Tommy
Credit: Hulu

The idea to bring that to life on Pam & Tommy was just too good to pass up. While the show's tone is set firmly in reality (albeit one stranger than fiction), they knew Tommy's penis had to voice its thoughts in at least one scene, playing the devil on his ... well, groin. "We could get away with it because he was high on Ecstasy at that time," Siegel says. "I felt like that gave us the green light. I like to think that could have actually happened — at least, in his mind. It was fun to write and not terribly hard; imagining what Tommy Lee's dick would say is pretty fertile material."

But there was always a looming fear that the outrageous scene would eventually get cut. And producers indeed faced some pushback. "There were certainly conversations about it," DeVincentis admits, and Siegel adds, "There was a point where eventually it did reach some people who got a little worried, but it wasn't the great battle that I thought it was going to be. I don't know who sweet talked who, but there was a yes."

According to DeVincentis, Hulu was always supportive of the idea that Pam & Tommy "was going to push a boundary or two," so the members-only tête-à-tête was ultimately approved. The secret to getting it onscreen despite its outrageous visual? "That's not actually Sebastian Stan's dick," Siegel says. "If we were showing full-frontal male nudity, that would be a different issue, but it's almost so silly that it makes it maybe less [of an issue]. I can't think of a more fun and cuddly way to get away with extended full-frontal male nudity. It's a puppet, it's like Yoda."

Designed by Autonomous FX and operated by Mike McCarty and Dave Snyder, the talking penis came to life via a combination of mostly practical effects with some added CG. "As a Star Wars fan, I'm partial to the animatronic puppet Yoda, the Frank Oz version, over the prequel's CGI Yoda — I just prefer, as I think most people do, things that are better done practically," Siegel says. "From the start, we always wanted it to be an animatronic dick." Siegel pauses before adding, "Most of these sentences have never been uttered. But we had a guy build us an animatronic talking dick and they strapped it on Sebastian, and I hope to God we got behind-the-scenes footage of that day."

Pam and Tommy
Credit: Erin Simkin/Hulu

Off camera, DeVincentis read Mantzoukas' lines (which would be added later in voiceover) while directing Stan, McCarty, and Snyder in a unique kind of dance. "There were wires running between his legs from behind, and a guy crouched on the floor with joy sticks, mechanically controlling what's going on," DeVincentis explains. "That animatronic guy had to look in a mirror and sort of really act with Sebastian physically, like all the gestures and the nods and looks up, and we had to actually direct that. I've never done anything quite like that."

Director Craig Gillespie, who helmed the first three episodes of Pam & Tommy and had the delightful responsibility of tackling the talking penis conversation, says he never would have considered doing this scene if Stan wasn't the actor in it. "Sebastian is such a committed actor and I knew that he would play it from an emotional place and a sincerity to it where he really is excited and committed to this idea that he's going to marry Pamela," he says. "It's a tricky performance too because he's also on drugs at the time, so trying to find the humanity in that against a drug-fueled backdrop, it was a very complicated scene. And the absurdity of it, obviously. But I felt that Sebastian is so talented that I knew he'd keep the audience invested."

Watching Stan approach this scene, it was as if Lee truly was talking to another person instead of his own penis. "He was trying to play this as honestly and as straightforward as possible, and that's what makes things really funny," DeVincentis says, noting that his Marvel days of "acting with things that aren't there" definitely helped during filming.

"It's the old tennis ball on a stick; that thing where that's Thanos and just pretend that the tennis ball on a stick is some demon from another realm," Siegel says (though he admits he's never seen "any of those movies"). "With the whole green screen world of Marvel, it probably wasn't that unfamiliar. And he was amazing. We never had to tell Sebastian to play it straight — he knew even when having a conversation with an animatronic talking dick while high on Ecstasy, you play it straight. You'd never know this was his first rodeo with a talking dick. It was effortless."

As for finding the voice of Lee's penis, the team tossed around a ton of names before landing on Mantzoukas, who has plenty of experience voicing outrageous scenes about body parts on Big Mouth. "We batted around your DiCaprios. Everyone came to the table with their own completely left field choices that everyone else thought was ridiculous," Siegel says. "I remember he was just somebody that we all pretty quickly agreed on. There were a few others but he has a relationship with Seth [Rogen, who stars as Rand Gauthier in Pam & Tommy]."

Pam & Tommy
Sebastian Stan and Lily James as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in 'Pam & Tommy'
| Credit: Erin Simkin/Hulu

The biggest challenge the showrunners faced with this scene throughout its development and filming was making sure the tone never veered too far into comedy. "It is the opportunity for Tommy to talk about how dedicated he is to this idea of marrying a woman he just met and balancing that with the real humor of the situation, that he's getting advice from his penis," DeVincentis says. "It actually does mean something. It's a conversation you'd have with ... well, your best friend."

That's why, even if the network or studio forced them to cut the scene, the showrunners would have found a way for the conversation to happen between Lee and another character — just one a little less jaw-dropping to see onscreen. "He just would have been probably having it with Nikki Sixx or a friend or one of the Cancun bros, but we strongly preferred this version," Siegel says. "Ultimately loves trumps all, even a talking dick. It's crazy but, I mean, the real crazy thing is marrying someone you just met four days prior. That's the crazy thing, not talking to your dick about it. And in the realm of our show, it's not the craziest thing to happen."

Once the scene was filmed and voiceover recorded, conversations then began of how much CGI would be added later in the process. But after some "pretty ridiculous back-and-forth" — "I hope I still have those text chains on my phone," Siegel says with a laugh — they decided to scale back and rely almost entirely on the "charmingly lo-fi" animatronic puppet. "There's something about how the movements are a little bit stiff — I love the way it came out," Siegel adds. "I think we landed on the best version of it."

DeVincentis says with a laugh, "It's a very adult version of The Muppets," while Siegel deadpans, "Like if Kermit, instead of being a frog, was ... a penis."

The first three episodes of Pam & Tommy are now streaming on Hulu.

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