TV

‘Catfish’ Debrief: Where Do You Draw The Line Between Superfan And Stalker?

Actress Tracie Thoms' online friendship with a fan suddenly veered into Creepville.

Ever since Twitter became a common method of online communication, fans have had direct lines to their favorite actors, musicians and other public figures, and many celebrities, like Tracie Thoms of “Rent,” have appreciated the chance to chat with their followers. On tonight’s “Catfish,” Thoms shared a story about a lovely young woman named Sammie whom she’d met through the social media site, and who won Tracie over with supportive tweets, encouraging videos and hilarious memes. But after a while, things between the two became strange, and soon, Sammie graduated from superfan into…something else.

Upon meeting Max and Nev, Tracie explained that Sammie had e-introduced her to Reese, Sammie’s supposed best friend and fellow fan of the actress’ work. After some pleasant back-and-forth between the new online pals, Reese suddenly announced that she had cancer, and that her time left on earth was limited. Before Tracie knew it, Sammie shared the news of Reese’s passing.

Understandably, things just didn’t add up for Tracie. She decided to do some “Catfish” sleuthing of her own and discovered that a photo Sammie had posted of Reese’s funeral was a fake after phoning up the facility’s director. When Tracie proceeded to confront Sammie via direct message, Sammie suddenly went radio silent, and Reese’s tweets began to mysteriously disappear. Tracie, Nev and Max concluded that Sammie must have cooked up the character to get attention and sympathy — what’s more, they also discovered that Sammie, all the while, had been following Tracie on a third account.

Out of both concern and anger, Tracie was desperate to meet with the person Max deemed her “serial superfan” and figure out why Sammie had clearly faked Reese’s profile. Sammie took some convincing, but when she finally sat down with Tracie, Nev and Max, she came clean about her actions, and said that because none of her other friends or family members could relate to her admiration of Tracie (among other powerful female talents), she felt like she had a partner in “Reese.” Sammie went on to say that when she realized things had gotten out of hand, she planned to kill Reese as a means to kill her own ruse, too.

Tracie ultimately forgave the sincere Sammie, and during Sammie’s catch-up interview with Max and Nev, she said she’d stepped away from compulsive fangirling and it had improved her life tremendously. She’d even begun to write her own drama! The story ended on a high note, but Sammie’s deceit definitely caused a special relationship to go downhill.

+ What do you make of tonight’s “Catfish”? Have you had any experience with tweeting a celeb? Share your reactions in the comments, and tell us where you draw the line between superfan and stalker.