The Thing About Pam, just from its first episode, wants to come across as some Fargo meets I Love You To Death story about the real-life murder case surround Pam Hupp in the Midwestern town of Troy, Mo.
There’s only one big problem. Two people were killed brutally. And this isn’t a laughing matter. Fargo, for the most part, was fictional despite the “Based on a True Story” opening title card. And Death was one of those stranger than fiction stories that had to be seen to be believed.
This story has been told so many damn times just on Dateline NBC alone, you could just watch all the episodes and skip this series. They even get Keith Morrison to narrate this series with his own style of voice-over narration. But let me again remind you, two people (possibly three) were fucking killed.
Betsy Faria (Katy Mixon), ill with cancer, was brutally killed by Pam shortly after Christmas in 2011 and the Keystone Kops of the Troy Police Department bungled the case from the start, questioning her husband, Russ (Glenn Fleshler) even though he wasn’t properly read his Miranda rights and there was question on whether he was denied access to an attorney. If there ever was a case in which someone had enough evidence against them, this was one of them. More or less, the prosecution led by Leah Askey (Judy Greer) relied too much on the testimony of Hupp (played by Renee Zellweger in a role that she thinks is going to win her an Emmy but comes across as more annoying).
There’s already been criticism over the casting of Zellweger, who is a two-time Oscar winner, for wearing the fat suit. She’s totally wrong in the role. Granted, Zellweger has never been given the option of playing bad. And with her sourpuss scrunchface, she does have Hupp’s arrogance in thinking she’s better than everyone else. But she’s just wrong for this role.
And let’s get the point of this post, Zellweger is acting like she’s in a totally different series. Mainly, so far, it feels like it. Hupp was a manipulative con artist. And while female con artists are making the rounds with limited series with The Dropout and Inventing Anna, why not give Hupp her series? But the problem with the series is that it’s playing the newcomers.
There was nothing light-hearted about this case. Maybe the Coen Brothers could’ve added some spark here. But Hupp was along the same lines as Dee Dee Blanchard who was the subject of Hulu’s The Act, where she was wonderfully played by Patricia Arquette who brought the best to the role. Hupp, like Blanchard, had a checkered history and was in it for the money and the power to hurt other people. Thankfully, the courts got everything right and finally put her behind bars.
You can very easily read Hupp’s Wikipedia page rather than sit through the subsequent episodes week after week. I don’t know how far the series is going to follow Hupp’s saga but I hope those behind the scenes show us the thing about Pam was that she’s a psychopathic killer. I just hope they don’t decide to make Hupp a sympathetic person the way the other series have done to Anna Sorokin and Elizabeth Holmes.
What do you think? Please comment.