I Think We're Alone Now...
September 1, 2010 7:55 AM   Subscribe

I Think We're Alone Now, the 2008 documentary about two people who stalk the '80s pop star Tiffany, is finally available on DVD (NetFlix). Since the film, Jeff Turner (who has Asperger Syndrome) has also been restraining-ordered for his romantic overtures toward Alyssa Milano. (Turner gives his side of that story here.)

The film joins the ranks of other documentaries like Grey Gardens, Crazy Love, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, considered by some to exploit the mental illness of their subjects -- regardless of the fact that all these subjects have gone on the record as being extremely happy with the results. Rich at fourfour comments on this in his extremely thorough review of ITWAN.
posted by hermitosis (53 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
People like this are like a wet firework; they could do nothing, or do something beautiful, or violently explode, but all you can do is hold your breath and wait.
posted by Menthol at 8:35 AM on September 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm fascinated by stalkers who seem to aim rather low. Tiffany and Alyssa Milano? Why not aim for the fences and stalk somebody relevant?
posted by Gilbert at 8:51 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm fascinated by stalkers who seem to aim rather low. Tiffany and Alyssa Milano?

Maybe aiming for minor 80s stars is a kind of hipster stalking.
posted by rhymer at 8:55 AM on September 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Why not aim for the fences and stalk somebody relevant?

Then who would stalk the little people? They aren't going to stalk themselves!
posted by DU at 8:57 AM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Aim rather low? Have you heard "I Think We're Alone Now"?

The video is pretty great too.
posted by elder18 at 8:58 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


This image is kind of interesting if you think about what Tiffany must be thinking. "Oh great, not only is that creepy weirdo here again but now he's got someone documenting his every move?"
posted by DU at 9:00 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait...even at the height of her career her videos were shot in front of S'barros?
posted by DU at 9:02 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's more like Tiffany is the personification of S'barros.
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on September 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Tiffany and Alyssa Milano? Why not aim for the fences and stalk somebody relevant?
I suspect the attraction has something to do with a lonely boy and his first truly satisfying round of self-satisfaction.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2010


There's also the fact that the more famous you are, the more likely you are to have bodyguards and an entourage.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2010


It's a depressing topic. It would be much funnier if these guys were to stalk Ed Asner or the guy who played Slim Goodbody or something.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:36 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The review has this line:

The central point of Jeff's story has less to do with Tiffany and more to do with how devastating a complete lack of self awareness can be.

That's one of the reasons I don't fully enjoy these kinds of documentaries. They're fascinating and interesting and I will probably watch this one as well, but they often feel uncomfortable rather than hilarious. I don't blame the documentaries, though; I'm just unable to watch people embarrass themselves without feeling really skeeved out about it.
posted by stefanie at 9:40 AM on September 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Looks like the DVD comes with a poster signed by both the stalkers, which is probably why that link has been traffic-smothered to death.

At least I got mine...
posted by hermitosis at 9:41 AM on September 1, 2010


Or Tommy James. Of course, he would probably get some of his friends to kick your ass if you did that.
posted by koeselitz at 9:41 AM on September 1, 2010


I'm fascinated by stalkers who seem to aim rather low. Tiffany and Alyssa Milano? Why not aim for the fences and stalk somebody relevant?

Wow guys. Jokes about stalking, funny stuff.
posted by headnsouth at 9:44 AM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Has there ever been a case of a REALLY creepy stalker becoming friends with their celebrity crush, and in the end, maybe not being best friends but they themselves are now are in show biz and can say "Oh yeah, I got my big break by stalking .... and we became OK friends but I moved on."

I mean besides Jimmy Fallon.
posted by wcfields at 9:52 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Stalker" is a term too often blithely tossed around with juvenile bonhomie. For those on the receiving end it's fucking terrifying, because as much as the stalker thinks it's about appreciation and love, it's about fear and control. Whether that guy has aspergers or not is open for debate, what isn't is that he's full on delusional and that makes him potentially dangerous, and not in a funny way. This dude doesn't need publicity, he needs psychiatric care.
posted by mikoroshi at 9:55 AM on September 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Wow guys. Jokes about stalking, funny stuff.

Agreed, headnsouth.

From the fascinating "(Turner gives his side of that story here.)" link, it's obvious that Jeff Turner has some naive charm, possibly because of his Asperger's Syndrome.

He comes across like a naughty cherub waving a tiny bow & arrow. But cumulatively, his attentions must become incredibly unsettling.

Definitely one for Netflix.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:00 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


headnsouth: “Wow guys. Jokes about stalking, funny stuff.”

Yeah, I should say – I'm sorry for my comment above, though you weren't replying to it. It was a tangential interesting music connection really, and I didn't mean it as a joke about stalking (for all I know, Gilbert wasn't trying to joke about stalking, either) but it sure came across that way, and that didn't need to happen in this thread.

This is serious – you're right. Actually, I am interested to see this documentary, but I worry about it – it'd be easy for them to take entirely the wrong tack. 'One side of the story... then the other side of the story' is a common tack for documentaries, but it'd be unfitting here. He may have a 'side' to his story, but it still amounts to stalking, and it's still a terrifying thing for the person who has to experience it. We might remind ourselves that stalkers usually don't choose famous people; and their victims usually don't have the protective resources that Alyssa Milano and Tiffany have.
posted by koeselitz at 10:05 AM on September 1, 2010


Also: had I the resources, at one time I'd have probably stalked Alyssa Milano. I'm still considering it, as she's more appealing with age (to me).

But Tiffany way wasn't my type.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 10:14 AM on September 1, 2010


I don't think this is about getting their "side" of the story so much as it's about examining an all-too-common phenomenon in pop culture. I think stalking celebrities (however minor) is in a whole different league than stalking someone you actually know.
posted by hermitosis at 10:22 AM on September 1, 2010


Coincitentally the song "I think we're alone now" was the #1 on Billboard the day of my birth.
posted by hellojed at 10:29 AM on September 1, 2010


Why not aim for the fences and stalk somebody relevant?

Tiffany is an eighties icon though. In general as well, the less megafamous a celebrity is the greater lengths a small set of fans will go to so they can be their friend/lover/substitute mother. Sure you can aim for a Captain Tightpants, but the guy who spent three episodes as the Third Demon On the Left holds a very compelling attraction for a smaller group of people. It's a different type of fan altogether and much different from the groupie sort.

I've peripherally known a few times where people had actual breakdowns or had the police called over such minor celebs that it wouldn't make the entertainment blogs on a slow day. The only thing they all have in common is a startling lack of self awareness. More than anyone else I've ever met, they had absolutely no idea that what they were doing was unwelcome or unusual in any way, or if it was unusual it must be because of the unique circumstances/relationship. Scary stuff sometimes.
posted by shinybaum at 10:54 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am fascinated by the way biographers and documentarians comb through the body of work from a creative type in search of the "perfect" title, such as Let Me Take You Down, about Mark David Chapman.
posted by adipocere at 11:14 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


an all-too-common phenomenon in pop culture

Did stalkers exist prior to, I dunno, the Beatles? Or Hollywood? Other than Tesla, obvs. It seems like they should have--all the elements existed (i.e. this isn't a technological issue). Any famous cases?
posted by DU at 11:15 AM on September 1, 2010


Sure you can aim for a Captain Tightpants

Well, maybe you can ...
posted by krinklyfig at 11:16 AM on September 1, 2010


Any famous cases?

Not sure about the stalking but Byron and Liszt where mega-stars in their respective periods.
posted by The Whelk at 11:21 AM on September 1, 2010


The Cap'n isn't my type.

Did stalkers exist prior to, I dunno, the Beatles? Or Hollywood?

Women in the Follies had their rich admirers sending them massively expensive gifts, and ballerinas from way back had their patrons. A German Ambassador gave Olive Thomas a $10,000 dollar necklace when she was a Zeigfeld girl and people lined up in the thousands to see big Broadway stars...
posted by shinybaum at 11:23 AM on September 1, 2010


Take heed: when you mess with Tiffany, you mess with the WHOLE MALL.
posted by dr_dank at 11:28 AM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Valentino had stalkers. I would suppose the modern iteration runs in parallel with the rise of mass media and the industrialized production of images. Before that, perhaps it manifested as a kind of religious mania or delusions?
posted by jokeefe at 11:31 AM on September 1, 2010


I'd imagine the behavior in the past was filtered through a lot more religion...
posted by The Whelk at 11:35 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


There were famous Elizabethan actors, I'm not sure how they got famous without a facebook page though.
posted by shinybaum at 11:38 AM on September 1, 2010


I'd imagine the behavior in the past was filtered through a lot more religion...

Oh yeah, Jesus had a whole bunch of pretty famous stalkers. Fortunately, back in the day they wised up and stuck them all into institutions to keep them away from the rest of humanity. They even thought to separate out the men from the women to prevent them from breeding more.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


You had to lug around a huge folio of Her Majesty's Book Of Faces and hire a scribe every time someone changed their status from "Whoring" to "Entangled In Hymen's Bonds Of Affection".
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on September 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Presumably there were line drawings of Edward Alleyn steppinge oute of his carriage without his pantaloons on.
posted by shinybaum at 11:56 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You needed a strong nail and a steady hand to post something to your wall.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy crap:

Jan Bondeson. Queen Victoria and the Stalker: The Strange Story of the Boy Jones.

The amazing tale of Britain's first celebrity stalker. After her coronation in 1838, Queen Victoria was a frightened young woman. She was relentlessly pursued by a weird teenager, Edward, 'the Boy' Jones, who had an uncanny ability to sneak into Buckingham Palace without being detected.

Once, he broke into her bedroom and stole her underwear, and at least twice he sat on the throne. 'If he had come into my bedroom, how frightened I would have been', the Queen wrote in her journal after the Boy Jones had been hauled out from underneath a sofa in her dressing room.


amazon link
posted by shinybaum at 12:06 PM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


"The Marquise de Merteuil has invited you to the event 'Liaison Dangereuse'. To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below..."
posted by hermitosis at 12:09 PM on September 1, 2010


The Boy! The Queen Is Dead by the Smiths makes reference to that.

Actually Buckingham Palace has been broken into a few times.
posted by The Whelk at 12:50 PM on September 1, 2010


Why not aim for the fences and stalk somebody relevant?

I think that if my life were awful and I just lost it mentally, I would end up stalking somebody famous from my childhood, because nostalgia is so powerful. David Cassidy maybe. Or that guy from the Dr. Pepper commercials.
posted by JanetLand at 12:50 PM on September 1, 2010


I've been waiting for this to be released in wide distribution since my friend wrote a review for Twitch back in 2008 and showed me some excerpts online - now it's at the top of my Netflix queue.

To everyone asking about stalkers and fame, I'd guess that all the way back to the 17th century a danna paying a geisha for her mizuage would count... sorta.

That said, I think that stalking someone, celebrity or otherwise, is abhorrent.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:05 PM on September 1, 2010


I think you're on to something, JanetLand.

Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker -- I will see you two back together. You're not only brothers; you're best of friends!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:07 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, Jameson Parker. Dude just disappeared.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:46 PM on September 1, 2010


I quite enjoyed him in Prince of Darkness.

And, jesus, I see he was shot by his neighbour (but survived).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:04 PM on September 1, 2010


Hey, come on now: Alyssa Milano has over a million twitter followers. Okay, sure, some of them may be following her "ironically," but do you have over a million twitter followers? I sure don't.

Tiffany circa 2010, on the other hand, I wouldn't even be able to pick out of a lineup. No offense, and no one should be stalked (obviously), but what a bizarre figure to fixate on; I can't help but think this gentleman is not only unhinged, but just deeply lame. How sad.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:20 PM on September 1, 2010


Actually I think Tiffany and Debbie Gibson both have a strong core following, if tiny by now. A lot of people unironically love the eighties and from their wiki pages Tiffany was in Playboy in 2002, has had an album out as recently as 2008 and has been on reality tv/guest spots a lot. Gibson has followed almost exactly the same career path.

A Syfy original movie "Mega Python vs Gatoroid" starring the pair of them will be out in 2011 - these are just exactly the type of people to attract a certain type of stalker. In fact Gibson has had quite a few.
posted by shinybaum at 3:40 PM on September 1, 2010


Even stalkers want to be special. If you fixate on somebody like Tiffany, then you are likely to be the only one (or one of two). If you fixate on Mick Jagger, then you're going to be dealing with numbers of other stalkers (I'm assuming), many of whom have years of seniority. If you want to stick out of the crowd of crazed fans, stalking somebody who is not only accessible but who is only half-famous would be one way.
posted by jokeefe at 3:51 PM on September 1, 2010


A Syfy original movie "Mega Python vs Gatoroid" starring the pair of them will be out in 2011

Don't forget she was also in "Mega Piranha."
posted by Tenuki at 5:02 PM on September 1, 2010


Wow, Debbie Gibson must really love some mega.

*On-topic*
This sort of thing is really creepy, and stephanie's comment really resonates with me.
posted by waitangi at 6:30 PM on September 1, 2010


Zounds. Forgive the derail, if the thread lives on, but I mrgrimm, I hadn't any idea that the event I mentioned was connected to your comment. He wrote a book about what followed.

Parker, star of the 1980s TV series Simon and Simon, was shot by a crazed neighbor in Los Angeles. Although Parker recovered physically from his injuries, the incident left him psychologically crippled, prompting him and his wife, Darlene, to leave Hollywood and run a cattle and horse ranch in the California hills. The change was positive, but Parker found it difficult to return to acting and Los Angeles. He remained haunted by the memories of being shot and suffered bouts of severe depression; he even contemplated suicide. He is blunt and direct as he describes his feelings: "I am walking down the hall to shower before dinner when the panic hits me more suddenly, more unexpectedly, than a bullet. Panic is not fear. It is not an urge to run to or from anything. It is not anything external that I can deal with. It is all-consuming, blinding, maddening." Parker focuses his book primarily on his life as a rancher-how he learns all the necessary aspects of running a ranch from nursing sick animals to taming a calf and putting animals to sleep. While the writing is good overall, Parker tends to rely on quoted conversation in the early chapters. Readers interested in the rugged life of a ranch hand will find this appealing, but whether a larger audience will remember Parker as an actor and want to read about his "demons" is dubious.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:04 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. I never knew. Thanks, DB.

I quite enjoyed him in Prince of Darkness.

I totally forgot he was in it! I really liked that movie, well at least the end.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:25 PM on September 2, 2010


Remember that pretty much any female -- and numerous men -- in the public eye are stalked. This is one of the darkest corners of our culture industry and the cult of celebrity.
posted by Yakuman at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2010


I am reminded of the book A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Reexamined as a Grotesque, Crippling Disease and Other Cultural Revelations.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:33 PM on September 5, 2010


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