The Thing About Pam's Glenn Fleshler Breaks Down The 'Very Absurd Day' Of Filming With Renée Zellweger

Glenn Fleshler as Russ Faria in The Thing About Pam
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 4 of The Thing About Pam, called “She’s A Loving Daughter.”

The plot is thickening for Pam Hupp on The Thing About Pam as her elaborate lies about Betsy Faria’s life and death continue to unravel, to the point that Russ’ second trial overturned his conviction and he’s a free man. Pam tried to sell a story about a sexual affair between her and Betsy to give Russ a new motive for murder, but she’s running out of people who will believe her. “She’s A Loving Daughter” delivered a standout reenactment of a Pam story, and actor Glenn Fleshler broke down what it was like to film those sequences with Renée Zellweger and how “very absurd” this week’s was.

When I spoke with Glenn Fleshler about The Thing About Pam, he shed some light on the reenactments that he filmed as Russ with Renée Zellweger (who wore a prosthetic bodysuit for the role) as Pam and Katy Mixon as Betsy. He revealed what the sequences were actually known as, and the perks of filming them: 

Those were referred to in the script as 'Pam Visions.' And so it's just a chance to step outside of the moment-to-moment reality of what was going on with Russ and to play this other version of Russ, which was the version of Russ that Pam is trying to spread to the town, that he's this abusive husband, that he is this bully. But they're done in a style that are kind of extreme, so you know that they're Pam twisting the truth. So we got to play it in a kind of big, broad style, and that's rare for this kind of show, to get the opportunity to do something so tonally different. So it was a lot of fun for all of us.

The characters and people of the town don’t get to see Pam’s stories quite as theatrically as viewers do, so it was easy to understand early on why they were buying into what she was saying. Now, as of “She’s A Loving Daughter,” far fewer people are willing to 100% suspend their disbelief about her increasingly convoluted stories about Betsy Faria’s final days and why Russ must have killed her. 

The “Pam Vision” from the latest episode was wild enough that it seemed possible for a moment that even Leah Askey was about ready to call her out. Pam’s story involved her playing softball with Betsy down in a basement, Russ angrily storming in while chomping on a chicken leg, and calling them both “muff thumpers” out of his fury about their affair. 

The Thing About Pam Betsy and Pam playing softball

(Image credit: NBC)

It was a huge departure from every other story that Pam had spun about her relationship with Betsy, and seemed poorly thought-out even by her standards in this series. Glenn Fleshler explained what it was like to film this particular reenactment with Renée Zellweger and Katy Mixon, saying:

That was a very absurd day. Unfortunately, it was the day before Thanksgiving. I was about to fly home for Thanksgiving. And nothing can ruin Thanksgiving more than just eating a zillion chicken legs all day long on set. [laughs] Renée and I had a lot of laughs, and Katy, doing those scenes. Throwing the softball back and forth, and me chomping on chicken and spitting it all over Renée. Not a very COVID-friendly scene, I'm afraid. Yeah, it was just a lot of fun and silly. We did that the same day, I think, as we did the one where I punched through the wall in the previous episode and then you see Pam's face through the hole in the wall. And there was a little more to that one than what you saw, where she kind of jumps in between me and Katy and tries to like, you know, bully me and I back down. We thought of it as our kind of bad Streetcar Named Desire production. It was kind of a lot of community theater feeling that day. [laughs] But yeah, super fun to do.

There are a number of ways to pregame for Thanksgiving, but apparently eating chicken leg after chicken leg for a community theater-esque “Pam Vision” is not the best one! I think fans can probably agree with Glenn Fleshler that it was “very absurd,” and it’s only fitting that this was Pam’s big swing to keep Glenn behind bars. It didn’t work, and Fleshler’s promise of plot twists are going to “send everybody spiraling” seems to be coming true already! Fleshler shared how it felt to finally be able to play a Russ who has been exonerated:

It felt amazing. It was such a relief to finally get to play some scenes where I was happy and laughing and smiling and relieved and we're spraying champagne everywhere and hugging. It was a great change of pace from the previous three and a half episodes of suffering and pain and worry and loss. Yeah, it was really a great relief.

Find out what The Thing About Pam has in store for Glenn Flesher’s Russ and the rest with new episodes on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC in the 2022 TV season. This is a limited series, so it will come to an end after just six episodes in April, with medical drama New Amsterdam Season 4 taking the time slot back starting on April 19. You can also revisit The Thing About Pam so far streaming with a subscription to Peacock and/or a subscription to Hulu

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).