In defense of "Catfish"
February 3, 2013
"Catfish: The TV Show" has taken a lot of crap lately, and I won't stand for it. The MTV documentary-style program chronicles the story of Internet daters who believe they are being misled by their online crushes. Sure, it has its drawbacks, but there are several reasons why you should be watching.
5. It shows a less superficial side of Internet daters
Nothing will warm your heart like the subdued, semi-accepting reactions people have to their expectations being crushed. When a straight guy finds out the skinny blonde girl he’s been talking to is actually an overweight gay man, he reacts respectfully in a way I never expected. Even more surprising than their subtle reactions is when the duped decide to give their lying Internet counterparts a chance at friendship or even something more. Oftentimes on “Catfish,” you expect an explosive reaction and instead get mild disappointment. It's nice to see people acting with a bit of dignity on MTV once in a while, right?
4. Parenting done right
There was one moment on “Catfish” that actually brought me to tears. Kya called her mom to tell her the boy she had been talking to online was actually a transgender man, and even host Nev was nervous. Her mom told her as long as he treats her with dignity and respect, she’s happy. This moment blew me away! While you might argue her mom should have been a bit concerned with the whole meeting-up-with-strangers thing, the love for her daughter was clear, and everyone could use support like that. Go moms!
3. Nev’s tramp stamp
OK, the winged horseshoe (at least that’s my interpretation) tattoo on Nev’s lower back is laugh-out-loud funny — as is Nev’s ridiculously hairy chest, which makes a more-than-necessary number of appearances on the show. Nev, if you ever see this, I think you’d be a great candidate for this. Anyway, Nev’s self-absorption and constant bed-head make the show what it is. It’s as absurd as a winged-horseshoe tramp stamp and just as hilariously unbelievable.
2. It's topical
If the Internet has taught us anything, it's that people will use any method possible to try to hook up. “Catfish” is bringing to light the dangers of Internet dating: the prowlers that are out there and the sad, lonely people pretending to be someone they’re not. By now, you’ve probably all heard about Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s internet scam. Nev, the resident expert on fake Internet relationships, weighed in, telling MTV News, “My reaction is, quite frankly, no different from my reaction on the show. It doesn't really change anything for me that this victim is a high-profile football player. I think it can and obviously does happen to anyone.” However, in true Nev fashion, he managed to circle back to himself. “I very much got sucked into a relationship — it wasn't my intention, but it happened to me.” In case you forgot, Nev was once led on by a girl online.
1. Creates controversy
If you want to hear about the annoying and unrealistic parts of “Catfish,” there are plenty of blogs to read. However, I have never been one to come down on a show for its ridiculousness or implausibility if it provides entertainment. One thing that can’t be taken away from “Catfish” is that it’s everywhere. Take the show at face value, and it can be very entertaining for the pathetic MTV show that it is.