Have you heard about Catfish? No, not the yummy fried variety; the TV show. Yep, there’s a program on MTV called Catfish. It was spawned (heh, see what I did there?) by a 2010 documentary of the same name. Grab a cup of coffee and get comfy and I’ll tell you all about it. Whether you want me to or not.
The documentary released in 2010 was made by Ariel Schulman (“Rel”) and his friend Henry Joost when they began filming the life of Ariel’s brother Yaniv Schulman in late 2007. Nev (pronounced Neev) was a 24 year old photographer in New York at the time. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Angela contacted Nev via Facebook to ask for permission to paint one of his photographs. The two began corresponding and Nev fell in love. To make a long story short, Angela had used a name that was not hers and photos that were not of her in her profile. So when Nev went to meet her – followed by his brother and Joost with cameras at the ready, he was heartbroken to find that she wasn’t who she purported to be. Gee, what a surprise. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the movie so my sarcasm may be unwarranted. Um, yeah.)
However, when the movie was released Nev was quickly inundated with emails from folks who had similar experiences. So Nev and his friend Max Joseph decided to make a TV version of Catfish for MTV and the rest is history. In each television episode Nev goes through his email and picks a lucky (?) correspondent to help. He and Max go to the person’s hometown to meet them and find out more about the online relationship they’re in. Following the initial meeting they research the “partner”. Then they contact that other person and persuade him/her to meet their online “crush”. If an agreement is reached, Nev and Max (and the MTV crew) accompany the first person to wherever the other person lives. Wow that’s not awkward at all is it? (Both the sentence structure and the situation.)
I wasn’t excited about the show’s premise; it seemed a bit unrealistic to me. Doesn’t everyone know you have to be careful about meeting people online? And wouldn’t you recognize a red flag like the other person not being able or willing to meet you…over and over and over? But somehow I got hooked (Catfish – heh) and I had trouble turning it off last night. Part of the appeal for me is the hope that someone will go to meet their “soul mate” and find the person really is real, and really does love them. I met Hubs via a telephone service before either of us had Internet so I know it can happen. And in the opening segment where they show clips from different episodes there’s this one clip that shows Nev jumping up and down with happiness. The couple is off camera so you don’t see them but I can only surmise that the meeting went well. I sooo want to see that happen!
So far I’ve seen two different episodes where the person on the other end of the computer was a woman – when they were supposed to be men. Another episode where the woman who sought help had been in the online relationship for 10+ years! Whoa.
I think part of what I like about the show is that Nev is right there with the person who asked for help, being encouraging and supportive. And following the meeting he tries to help the two people find some closure – which is not always easy. Overall I’d give the show 4 or 5 stars out of 10. I still have trouble with the fact that folks in today’s day and age (especially in the US where we’re usually beyond savvy) aren’t more careful online and I have a hard time feeling sympathy for those who get hoodwinked. But I really, really want to see the episode where Nev gets so excited he’s jumping up and down!
Stay tuned peeps. Tomorrow (or the next day) I’ll tell you a little story about an unusual kangaroo mum. If you could see the beaming smile on my face you’d be excited about it too! 😀