Catfish: My Guilty Pleasure

Now that The Walking Dead is on hiatus and The Voice is over, I have turned my attention to Catfish the TV show. I saw the original film quite some time ago, and seeing as I don’t watch MTV, I didn’t even know the show existed until halfway into the first season. I actually became aware of it when I noticed some friends chatting about it on Facebook, so I headed over to the show page to catch up. I’ve seen the past 3 episodes when they’ve aired for the first time, including Monday’s episode. If you haven’t seen the documentary already, you probably should check it out. Especially if you’re from Michigan, where it takes place.

If you haven’t seen the show, each episode basically follows the same timeline. Nev, the creator of the original¬†documentary¬†and TV show, reads an email from someone who wants his help. These individuals are in online relationships (and have been for a while), but feel something about it is off. They either aren’t able to meet their soulmate because of financial reasons, because the other person refuses to meet them, or something else. Most of these people have spoken to their love interest on the phone, and some are even “In a relationship” with them on Facebook.

Then, Nev meets with the person who contacted them, hears their story, gets details, does research, and arranges for the two to meet. The two meet, viewers can see who the mystery loved one really is, and we get an update on how each person is doing after the filming ended.

Positives

As much as I’m not a big MTV fan, I do like this show. I think it’s sweet how Nev’s own experience has influenced him to help others, and I think he’s a genuinely nice guy. The scripting doesn’t seem fake (not anything like Parental Control). The stories are all different and interesting in their own way, which keeps it from getting boring. The endings are all happy in their own way, but not every situation ends in the way you’d expect. Nev is nice to everyone and gives people a chance to explain themselves and think about their actions.

A lot of people online date, even teenagers, so I think this show does highlight what can happen to people who choose to look for love on Facebook and other social networks. It also showcases the personality of those who create (or are seemingly addicted to maintaining) fake profiles and the reasons behind their deception.

Negatives

Okay, here’s the thing – are these people really that dumb? And okay, maybe that’s mean to say, but often times Nev’s “research” involves Googling the mysterious person and looking into their friends/conversations/comments on social networks. If you know how to use a computer and are, as these people are, young and “internet native,” you’d think they would know how to research for themselves. I suppose some are “too in love” or want so badly to believe the person is real (sadly, a lot of these people seem to be lonely and want love), but really. The person could be a predator for all they know.

If they won’t Skype/meet you and don’t have mutual friends, photos they’re tagged in, proof they’re real (or any people that seem to really know them on Facebook), they probably aren’t who they say they are. Use common sense, people!

Conclusion

Despite the “cluelessness” of some of these people, I do believe these situations happen to a lot of people who simply don’t know better. So, while it’s an entertaining show, it’s also good for awareness. While, unsurprisingly, some of the stories end in disappointment, others have been happy. This one has been my favorite.