REVIEW: ‘The Thing About Pam’ Is The Most Bizarre True Crime Show Of 2022


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Unless you’re a “Dateline” fanatic, you’d be forgiven for not knowing of Pam Hupp, the doting friend, star witness and brutal murderer depicted by Renee Zellweger in NBC and Hulu’s “The Thing About Pam.”

Zellweger, 52, is almost unrecognizable in her portrayal of the stomach-churning Hupp, a real-life housewife with a murderous appetite for money and attention. It’s Zellweger as you’ve never seen her before: narcissistically haunting in a perfectly fitted prosthetic fat suit and the best of the worst 2010s fashion. (RELATED: REVIEW: ‘The Girl From Plainville’ Is Absolutely Terrifying)

From the off, you can tell there’s something wrong with Hupp. I think all of us have had a friend (or abusive ex-boyfriend) like Pam: she’s helpful, thoughtful to a fault, generous with her time, a control freak, compulsive liar, love-bomber, attention-seeker extraordinaire, infuriating, highly disliked by everyone around her, with a possible touch of some type of Munchausen’s syndrome but somehow always seems to end up on top.

Hupp’s story starts in Lincoln County, Missouri, with the horrific murder of her “best friend” Betsy Faria (portrayed by Katy Mixon). Betsy was stabbed 55 times, the murder weapon still sticking out of her neck when the police showed up to the home she shared with her husband, Russ Faria.

Without exactly saying it, the show heavily suggests that Hupp was the one who killed her best friend. The evidence is laid out pretty well throughout the true crime storyline. For example, Betsy made Hupp the sole beneficiary of her $150,000 life insurance policy and died five days later, according to Time. Whatever happened to Betsy, which the real world has yet to discover, it ended with Hupp serving a life sentence for another murder. Oh, and she’s also been linked to the bizarre death of her own mother, according to Fox 2.

The way Zellweger channels Hupp’s personality disorders and bizarre behavior makes this “Desperate Housewives”-style limited series so hard to turn off. If you’re bored one Sunday, binge the entire thing. I defy you not to. By the end, your faith in humanity will be both broken and restored … and you’ll walk away knowing that your personal Pam Hupp will one day fall from their self-made pedestal.