Just as Season 5 of Catfish boots up, I will be reviewing the most recent 5 episodes of the MTV series.
So what is Catfish: The TV Show all about?
The show is a reality series that documents co-hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, as they help people uncover the truth about the people they have developed relationships with over the Internet (i.e. dating sites, forums, etc.).
In terms of the Internet, a “catfish” is defined as someone who creates fake personal profiles on websites, using other people’s pictures and made up information, in order to “lure” in vulnerable people.
This actually happened to co-host Nev Schulman, who discovered the woman he had been in an online relationship with had been completely falsifying her identity to him. Schulman used his experience as motivation to try and help other people uncover the truth about people they have grown emotionally attached with over the Internet, but have never met in person.
The first episode I will be recapping is season 4 episode 9’s “Jamey and Ari.” The show begins by introducing us to “the bait,” which is Jamey, a young “meat-cutter” living in Texas. Jamey had met a girl named Ari on the dating site Plenty of Fish, who is a beautician that resided not too far from Jamie.
However, not surprisingly, it is revealed that Ari always seemed to have a new excuse whenever Jamey would try and arrange a meet up in person. Eventually, after Jamey developed strong feelings for Ari, Ari told Jamey that she had something to tell him and that it would be best if they met on Catfish.
Usually, the “catfish” doesn’t want to be put on the show and have their true identity revealed. However, this is a unique case, in which Ari wants to reveal herself to Jamey while being filmed for national television.
Nev and Max begin investigating into Jamey’s situation. They find out from Jamey that he has actually video-chatted with Ari, but when doing so Ari presents herself so that he can only see her face. At this point Nev and Max speculate that she may be bigger than she lead Jamey to think, and is therefore insecure and nervous to meet in person.
By using the information Jamey supplies them and their seasoned snooping skills, Nev and Max find several indicators that Ari is not lying about her identity. Her Facebook profile seems to check out, with around 350 friends mainly from the Houston, Texas area (which is where she claims she lives).
However, they do find a status on her profile where she refers to someone being “her man,” and also find a picture of Ari with a man named Caz, who they think could potentially be her husband.
They present their findings to Jamey and suggest that Ari could potentially be married; nonetheless, Jamey still wants to meet with her.
Meanwhile, Ari is sending numerous hostile texts to Jamey, telling him that she no longer wants to go through with the show.
Ari reveals that when she first met Jamey, she thought they were just going to be friends. She then goes on to reveal her “big secret” – Ari is transgender. She bravely reveals that she is preparing to become a “full girl,” and is taking hormones to get ready for the surgery needed to fully transition.
At this point, Nev boldly asks Ari (recall: they literally just met about 5 minutes ago) if her previous boyfriend, Caz, knew about her being transgendered. In addition, he asks whether her and Caz had sex (which Ari answers no). There is no question that Nev doesn’t hold back, which I think is beneficial to the basis of the whole show.
Nev and Max take it upon themselves to reveal Ari’s secret to Jamey, which I personally found off-putting, as it seems more suitable for Ari to be the one to reveal it.
Jamey’s initial reaction is filled with shock. He is first hesitant what he wants to do next, but eventually decides to meet up with Ari.
In an incredibly awkward meet-up, Jamey and Ari stand meters apart as Nev and Max interrogate their every thought and emotion they are feeling in the moment.
Probably the best call of the whole show, Jamey decides he wants to sit in private with Ari, which somehow in Catfish world means that their whole conversation is filmed. Here, Ari abruptly ends the conversation, as she no longer wants to talk.
In the end, Jamey and Ari maintained minimal interaction. However, Jamey decides he will explore the local dating scene, while Ari, took the situation a bit harder due to Jamey’s decision to end their romantic connection due to her revelation. She does reveal that she now considers Jamey a friend and ultimately feels she has gained from the situation.
This episode seems like perfect timing. Following Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance speech at the ESPYs and the premiere of TLC’s I am Jazz (about a 14-year-old transgender girl), this episode highlights the difficulties many transgender people face.
Although Nev and Max may take a bold and unapologetic approach to finding the truth behind suspected “catfish”, their techniques definitely create an intriguing show.
From the producers of the acclaimed documentary film, “Catfish,” comes a new MTV series that brings together couples who’ve interacted solely through their LCD screens. Over the course of months or years – these romantics have become smitten – but what will happen when they meet in real life for the first time?
In each episode, with the guidance and help of the star of the “Catfish” movie, Nev Schulman, and his filmmaking pal, Max Joseph, a hopeful romantic partner will go on an emotional journey to discover the truth about their significant other. Has that object of affection been telling the truth? Will true love truly blossom? When that fateful knock on the front door finally comes – only one thing is certain – that these incredible voyages will be filled with mystery, uncertainty, forgiveness, joy, and sometimes, even shocking revelations.
catfish [kat-fish] verb: To pretend to be someone you’re not online by posting false information, such as someone else’s pictures, on social media sites usually with the intention of getting someone to fall in love with you.