The recent Netflix hit ‘My stuffed reindeer’ is based on true events. And this is the story of the comedian and his stalker

The recent Netflix hit ‘My stuffed reindeer’ is based on true events. And this is the story of the comedian and his stalker
The recent Netflix hit ‘My stuffed reindeer’ is based on true events. And this is the story of the comedian and his stalker

The miniseries counts as therapeutic writing for its creator, who scripts and stars in the story

April 23, 2024, 17:03

Updated April 23, 2024, 9:55 p.m.

Don’t be fooled by its title or its dodgy ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ cover, ‘My Stuffed Reindeer’ has become one of the creepiest series you can watch on Netflix overnight, and clear contender to enter the top of the best series of the year.

This dramatic comedy about a failed comedian and the woman who harasses him is surprising, groundbreaking… and the most unexpected: real. His creator and one-time victim himself, Richard Gadd, has gone to great lengths to preserve the real events that occurred in his life.

Facing demons

Throughout its seven episodes, ‘My stuffed reindeer’ presents the story of donny, a waiter who tries to enter the world of comedy and who has the bad luck to run into a woman at the bar where he works who, after showing him a little kindness and inviting him to a cup of tea, becomes obsessed with he. What follows is a descent into madness that will affect him and all the people in his lifein a story that is at times chilling and at times so implausible that it enters the realm of laughing to avoid crying.

But what exactly of all this is real? Well… although it’s hard to believe, everything. From the rape of a mentor that led him to process his trauma in a very concrete way, to meeting this woman who harassed him and the other relationships he had in between, Gadd has had years to process this difficult period in his life and turn it into part of his art.. Initially he did it in a theatrical “one man show”: he did all the voices himself and told the entire story on stage with the help of very little props. It is in one of those performances where was contacted by Netflix to turn the story into a series.

About ten years have passed since the events shown in the series took place (the creator admits that it occurred in his twenties and he is currently 34). And in that time Gadd has learned to distance himself from history. That is why None of the characters that appear in the series maintain their real identity. This is the case, for example, of Teri. Her relationship in the series and her personality are based on a real relationship Gadd had with a trans woman, but her name and occupation are different to preserve her privacy.

In no case is this as evident as in the case of Martha, the stalker in the series. Both Gadd and Netflix have been especially careful to hide his identity and change his appearance for the series, with the intention of not harming the person behind it. And in real life this situation is “resolved” according to Gadd, and he prefers not to demonize a person who, although he did terrible acts, he does not consider to be necessarily a bad person.

“I honestly couldn’t say if she would watch this series. Her reactions to anything varied so much that she couldn’t predict how she would react to anything. She was a very idiosyncratic person. We’ve gone to great lengths to disguise her to the point where I don’t think she would be able to recognize herself. What I have borrowed has been an emotional truth, not a point-by-point profile of someone.”

But if there is anyone who sometimes comes close to the fear that bullies cause, it is internet detectives. Some say they have found both old social media profiles that could belong to the stalker and images of Gadd’s performances from years ago where the real “Martha” can be heard laughing. Another series will be made of them at another time.

In Espinof:

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