Upon watching Catfish, I discovered it wasn’t a movie with a creepy, dark tone, at least not in a horror way, but instead the story of a man and his online relationship. It was the story of Nev and a girl he believed was Megan. He discovers things aren’t quite what they seem and meets the first ever Catfish: A person pretending be someone they are not online and starting a romantic relationship.
The movie is great. It’s really interesting and regardless of not quite being what I expected, I thoroughly recommend it. I wasn’t expecting there to be a Catfish: The TV Show, made by MTV. Once I started watching it though, I couldn’t believe how simple but enticing a concept the show was.
It pretty much follows the film but with various other couples. Nev now plays the mediator between a concerned person and their potential Catfish. He meets the person who has been dating someone online without ever meeting them, discovers the backstory and promises to get the bottom of it.
That is where the show’s entertainment begins. Nev has a sidekick, Max, who films most of the show and helps Nev track down the truth behind the Catfish. This is usually through searching Google, researching using social network sites and making various calls to people who may be connected. Its amazing what you can find out about people online just using Google and Facebook and is a glimpse into how insecure our identities are now since the internet has become so dominant in majority of our lives. It’s also baffling that so many people don’t do this research themselves or hide their fake identities better.
The show really hits its stride once Nev makes contact and persuades the mystery person on the opposite side of the relationship to meet. Regardless of what the outcome of the “reveal” will be, it’s never less than engrossing. Me and my girlfriend guess our way through the first half of the show and then are left shocked, dumbstruck or laughing our way through the second half. The various different people who are on the other side of the door when the couple meet for the first time is staggering but brilliantly interesting.
The show is the best of reality tv. There is exploitation but you feel like these people kind of deserve it. The choices these people make and the things they believe or ignore in their attempt to find the true love is astonishing. Its also amazing to see the different types of situations that can arise from these circumstances, with people pretending to be super models to long-time enemies being the eventual Catfish.
Apart from the great concept and the fantastic relationships that are chosen, the show has two more strong elements going for it. Nev and Max are likable, down to earth and even more relatable because you know Nev has been through it himself. He has a great way of putting people at ease, explaining each element of the show and reacting in the same way most people react as they watch.
The production is fantastic too. It has a documentary style that made Catfish so interesting a movie in the first place but interlinks it with social media and internet graphics, helping the story zip along and the relationship we are seeing unfolding (and usually dying) become accessible and interesting.
I thought a tv version of Catfish would be an awful idea but it turns out it’s a great concept that has a lot of scope. There are plenty of stories of people in online relationships that have never met the person on the other end and unfortunately, a lot of those cases end with the person on the other end being a Catfish. This show takes that and delivers it to you to witness on-screen and its nothing less than totally compelling.
Overall, if you get chance to catch any of the first season of Catfish: The TV Show, give it a go. I promise you’ll be intrigued at the very least and completely hooked on the concept and reveals at the most extreme. The movie is great but the TV show is where this story really shines.