I just watched something that was so close to a Chris Morris spoof that I'm still not quite sure... and yet I read about it when it broke in the press and you can find the court documents to prove that it really did happen. So I'm left thinking, has media reporting and documentary making become so synonymous with 'scripted reality' that the people taking part don't even know what's really true and what isn't? Because it sounded scripted and seemed to be acted, but I'm not sure if that's because it's so ridiculous...
This, by the way, was the Channel 4 documentary Three Boys and a Retard, or The Girl Who Became Three Boys or The Girl Who Had The Stupidest Friends Known To Man. Its real title is something like one of those three. I can't be bothered to check right now. But it's about Gemma Barker, at the time an 18 year old girl who was friends with two younger girls (Alice and Jess) and then at some point decided to pretend to be a boy and have an internet relationship with Alice and then had to actually dress as a boy and meet up with Alice and then actually have a relationship with Alice, despite the fact that Alice already knew Gemma (now Aaron) and had spent lots of time with her and had seen her with her own eyes. Apparently Alice was unable to distinguish one of her best friends from one of her best friends talking in a slightly deeper voice and wearing a hat.
You know how when you watched Superman as a kid it was always a bit ruined by the fact that in real life everyone would be able to see that Clark Kent is Superman because THEY HAVE THE SAME FACE? Well, turns out not everyone would.
In fact, so thrown by the addition of a hat to Gemma's head were they, that Alice and Jess went to bed with her thinking that she was a boy named either Aaron, Connor (inexplicably spelled Cona by Jessica throughout this documentary) or Luke.
Let's join Jessica Sayer. Jessica Sayer (Jess as she prefers to be known. I think this might be because words of one syllable are easier for her to form with her flapping jaw) is the friend of Alice who was duped by Gemma when Gemma decided that pretending to be Alice's boyfriend wasn't enough. She created another Facebook profile for Connor McCormack and went about seducing Jess. Seducing Jess, by the way, takes approx 10 seconds on MSN. Jess may possibly be the thickest person I have ever seen on television. And I have watched all of Made in Chelsea.
Jess also met Connor in person. This time Gemma rolled out the big guns. She wore a hat AND a hoodie. And, wait for this, you won't believe that this worked on anyone, insisted that she could only communicate with Jess by text. In person. By text. So Gemma/Connor would text something and Jess would read it and then answer with her voice. This is how she communicated with her boyfriend. Jess uses the excuse of being 15 for a) not recognising that her new boyfriend is her friend in a hat, b) thinking it's normal for a boy to only communicate with her by text and c) basically any other totally retarded thing that she did.
It gets more convoluted and bizarre with Gemma creating another boy who seduces Jess by MSN after Connor dumps her. Eventually, about 50 million years after it should have done, a penny somewhere seems to drop for someone in this fucking ridiculous situation and Alice and Jess work out that Aaron and Connor appear to be very similar to each other.
They sic the cops on Gemma (I wasn't clear about this bit but it seemed something along the lines of now they realised they'd had some kind of sexual gropings with a girl and not a boy they in retrospect thought that it was some kind of assault. Hmmm). Anyway, Gemma gets arrested and strip searched and after another gazillion years a police person notices that Aaron has tits.
BUT. But. It wasn't the fascinating psyche of a person who would go to such lengths of subterfuge (well, sort of. She created a Facebook page, which isn't difficult. My friend's pug has one. And she wore a lot of hats) but the absolute ridiculousness of the girl who fell for it. Jess Sayer wears her stupidity with pride. She's sold her story to the tabloids, she clearly wholeheartedly participated in this documentary, (whereas Alice understandably never shows her face), she was far more interested in flicking her hair and saying things like: "Like I don't have a toilet that's capable of holding sick!" and "When you meet a boy, you don't expect it to be your friend dressed up, so I didn't think anything of it" and "He told me he was shy so never seeing his face or hearing his voice seemed perfectly normal, and certainly convinced me to go to bed with him" and, perhaps most bizarrely of all, "He took my shorts, knickers and leotard off [while in bed]". I couldn't get past that for a while. Who wears a leotard under knickers and shorts in bed? Who? How? Why? WHY? WHYYYYY DID ANY OF THIS HAPPEN?
The documentary ends with an interview with Jess's new boyfriend. She met him on MSN. But, as she says in the haunting last line of the film, "I know definitely he's a boy because I asked my friends who know him." She's sitting next to him at the time she says this. She could just turn and look at him and see he's a boy with her eyes. But now maybe she's stuck in some loop where she thinks all men are her friends in disguise.
I noticed the director ended on this note with some chirpy sideshow-esque music. Almost like the documentary wasn't really about Gemma at all...I think we'll see more of Jess Sayer. She'll probably become a cultural icon to replace the late, great Jade Goody.
I have to go and put my head in some bleach now and then read some Nietzsche.
I feel violated.