I Think We’re Alone Now

Netflix Instant has this way of making things available that you’d never see otherwise, and so conveniently, too. The other night, I wasn’t really up for watching a feature-length film, or a TV show, or a comedy special, and then I stumbled upon this very odd little documentary. It’s not brilliantly filmed or anything, and it’s not terribly filmed either, but both of these things are sort of unimportant because the subject matter is so specific and fascinating. Turns out Tiffany was a popular singer, she’s still around today even though she’s not popular anymore, and there are some batty folks out there who are quite literally obsessed with her.

The documentary focuses on two of those people: Jeff, an autistic fellow from Santa Cruz; and Kelly, an intersex person from Denver. I’m not going to beat around the bush–I honestly do not know which pronoun to use for Kelly. I’m not even sure Kelly knows. There was a lot of alternation happening in the film, so I don’t think it’s remiss or inconsiderate of me not to know, or to admit this. It’s confusing. Anyway. These people. My first reaction, which I imagine is not uncommon, is one of pure amusement. It’s horrible to say, but there are funny moments in there because it just doesn’t seem possible. I know it’s selfish of me to admit this, but I have to be honest: It’s hard not to feel better about yourself (or deeply sorry for them) after watching. These two have this maniacal obsession, and the film alludes to stalker accusations in the past (at least on Jeff’s part), but neither of them harbor malicious intentions. Regardless, it’s still horribly pathetic and, at many times, very uncomfortable to watch. Jeff is autistic and, while he lives an otherwise normal life with his church activities and beach-going and generally friendly demeanor, the minute talk turns to Tiffany he turns into HER BEST FRIEND. As in, everyone else can suck it, because Tiffany is his best friend and mentor, and everyone else cannot possibly be closer to her because he occupies that space. To use the word “delusional” would be like using “cold” to describe snow. Jeff leads a sad life.

So does Kelly. I admire this person for developing such a thick skin in a mostly unsympathetic and ignorant world, and for really not giving a fuck about walking around and letting stares bounce right back at the eyeballs darting around. Kelly is a great athlete, and seems to be a loyal friend. But, again, when Tiffany comes up, Kelly loses rational thought. Kelly wants to be with Tiffany, and gets heavily and easily emotional when talking about it. It’s painful to watch a person so devoted to something that will truly never happen.

I so hoped this movie would redeem these two people, and help me not to find them creepy. In some ways, it did, because by the end their obsessions had waned slightly. Jeff moved on to Alyssa Milano, and Kelly moved on to an actual girl, which is awesome. But I could not get over the creepiness. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be famous, and have people fawning over you in a potentially dangerous way. Neither Jeff nor Kelly were actually dangerous, but without some sort of investigation like this, it’d be impossible to tell otherwise. And yet, the “interesting” factor greatly outweighed the “creepy” factor, probably because it did get better for both parties at the end. And Tiffany seemed pretty well-adjusted in her brief appearances in the film. I wonder what she thought of it.