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A talking penis in Disney’s court

It was impossible to anticipate that the brand that has most zealously tried to become a symbol of family entertainment would one day offer us close-ups of a phallus chatting with its owner

A scene from the series 'Pam & Tommy.'

Faced with the series of recent and unpredictable events that we have been witnessing, it might be healthy to dwell a little on the unimportant ones, even if the important ones keep demanding our attention. That is why I can’t stop laughing at the fact that it is Disney+ that is streaming Pam & Tommy, a miniseries recreating the turbulent relationship between Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and actress Pamela Anderson of Baywatch fame. Sex, lies and porn videotapes for the whole family! In the United States Pam & Tommy is being streamed by Hulu, but the international rights were bought by Disney, which is distributing it through Star, one of its content hubs for adults.

A lot has been said about the conversation that Tommy Lee has with his own penis in episode two. In this scene, the latter moves around like a character in The Muppet Show as he attempts to convince his owner not to get engaged to Pam. Their dialogue is adult material, but the staging is closer to John Dillermand, a Danish animated series for children about a man with an extra-long penis, than to pornography – unlike an upcoming biopic on Spanish porn star Nacho Vidal that Bambú Productions is doing for Starzplay.

In ancient Greece, as we were so well reminded by the British classicist Mary Beard in her documentary Mary Beard’s Shock of the Nude, depicting the male ideal of beauty was less controversial than depicting the female one, and it always involved a small phallus. Yet here we are now in the modern era, representing penises whose size is ever closer to being measured in soccer pitches, a fact that the historian blames on sexualization. For those of us who live in countries with medieval art that sometimes features pornographic imagery, it is hardly shocking. But let’s see how the streaming service juggles all its different content when any viewer could easily conclude that everything, right down to the talking cock, is Disney.


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