Why V.I.P. Is A Better Pamela Anderson Show Than Baywatch

No matter what Pamela Anderson does, she will always be seen as the busty lifeguard running down the beaches of L.A. in a tranquil frenzy. In the role of C.J. Parker, the New Age-y lifeguard with a heart of gold, Anderson made her mark on pop culture. But it was really the kitsch of the 1998-2002 series V.I.P. that proved her skills as an actress–not to mention her sense of humor and personality.

Camp
Camp
As the shrewdly ditzy Vallery Irons (a fine drag name, if ever there was one), Anderson shows off her comedic abilities with ease. In fact, she’s very much the sort of comedienne one imagines Jessica Simpson wishes she could be. Formerly a hot dog stand worker (vendor?, either way, it’s gauche), Vallery finds herself falling into the role of decoy bodyguard after removing a celebrity named Brad Cliff from harm’s way. Cliff, who had met her at the hot dog stand, invited her to the premiere of his latest movie, where a deranged fan tries to kill him. After saving him, Cliff feels the need to save face by claiming to the press that Vallery was his bodyguard all along.

Enlisted by the V.I.P bodyguard agency after seeing Vallery’s face splashed across the headlines, Vallery often finds herself in dangerous (yet always camp) situations. With a guest star list that includes Jay Leno, Charles Barkley and Stone Cold Steve Austin, how could V.I.P. ever be anything other than clinquant? And therein lies the primary difference between Baywatch and V.I.P.: The badness was far more intentional–and humorous. And, considering the show’s creator, J.F. Lawton, wrote the script for Pretty Woman, V.I.P. seems almost like some esoteric spin-off.