Just in case you don’t remember CATFISH the docu-film, here’s a little catch-up: Back in 2010, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman directed a real-life documentary that followed the life of (younger brother) Nev Schulman and his Facebook relationship with a girl named Megan. They had an internet-only relationship but one day, Nev and his directors decided to track Megan down, so they could finally get the boy and the girl together. However, when they tracked Megan down, they found out that she wasn’t who she claimed to be and was – in truth – Angela, an older lady who had been using photos of a girl she knew to make friends online.
The MTV show takes this concept, has retained the services of experienced Nev Schulman as a presenter and now they help people discover the truth behind the words of online-only communication and it’s an interesting mix of intrigue and – what feels like – clever showmanship and stage craft.
In Episode One, we concentrate on Sunny and her 8-month connection through Facebook and texting with a man named Jamison, who’s (supposedly) a model and works in L.A. Sunny is an attractive Arkansas blonde, who tells Nev of all the perfect things she’s talked about with him and although they’ve never met, she’s sure that he has to be real – especially as Jamison has told her that his three sisters died in a car accident. That kind of truth can’t be a lie, surely?
There’s no mistake that every show will probably have a twist but what’s necessarily real, doesn’t feel like the complete emphasis of the show, with show being a very interesting word here. Whatever the outcome, Catfish: The TV Show appears to be designed to try find a cathartic outcome and there are ten shows to explore this in the first season. I have suspicions that some of these may be heavily researched before getting people involved in possibly dangerous situations, but the great thing is if there is a negative outcome, MTV try and get the people involved together, so they can find a resolution.
This human touch makes Catfish: The TV Show stand out a little more than most similar ‘reality’ shows but make no mistake, you’ve still got an army of adverts on MTV and the long-term impact remains to be seen, as well as authenticity. However, at least with Catfish they’re trying to do the right thing and with it, an innovative mix of tension-fuelled, annoyingly addictive pop-culture television gets us once again.
CATFISH: THE TV SHOW is airing on MTV now, you can also find more info here with a little sneak peek below