We’re all obsessed by something to a certain extent. Football, films, flans… All sorts of things. They make up part of our character. The documentary I Think We’re Alone Now follows the lives of two people whose obsession, in this case 80s pop star Tiffany, is not just part of them, it consumes them.
Jeff Turner has Asperger’s and would like us to know that he and Tiffany are good friends and have met on several occasions. The media has reported on these ‘meetings’ and refers to them by the colorful, but more accurate term of stalking. Jeff doesn’t seem too bothered, being more embarrassed they use his full name in legal documents. Kelly McCormick was born intersex and fell in love with Tiffany after a serious accident left her in a coma as a child. She has never met Tiffany, but is damn sure that she is destined to be in a relationship with her. Hell, she gets hot flushes whenever Tiffany wiggles on TV.
Whilst it’s hard to turn away from the events that unfurl, the problem with I Think We’re Alone Now is how dirty you feel afterwards. Not because of Jeff and Kelly per se. Their passion for Tiffany is confronting, there’s no denying that. Jeff, a born again Christian, will follow her anywhere, including erotic conventions. Kelly meanwhile has pictures of the Tiff all around the house she shares. Our issue is the rather icky feeling that this is all somehow exploitative and not in the subjects’ best interests. The filmmakers even going so far as to engineer a meeting between the two superfans, so they can see Tiffany in concert together. It’s as natural as Catfish dialogue. Yes, they get along but the suggestion that Jeff was the one to reach out initially seems dubious.
After parading them for inspection over 50 minutes, the film tries to wrap things up with a happy ending that feels contrived and cheapens everything that little bit more. It’s clear that Jeff and Kelly have unresolved issues that the film toys with, but then ultimately drops. I Think We’re Alone Now is certainly a documentary that you won’t forget in a hurry, but it may not be for all the right reasons.