lauren stern examines the hit MTV series…
I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m a huge fan of MTV’s new hit show, Catfish. I’ve been tuned in every Monday night, watching at the edge of my seat since day one, anxiously wondering how each episode is going to turn out. I even admit that I crept up on these kids on Twitter after the episode ended each week. Yes, I am that invested!
But unlike some of my fellow peers out there in this country, I didn’t watch Catfish for the drama or the affected participants. I always viewed Catfish from a cultural standpoint — analyzing it as I have other pieces of media since my days as a student at Rutgers University. And now that all of my “studying” are officially over, I can come out and talk about how incredible it is that this show basically took the idea of online dating and gave it this gigantic platform for discussion.
For a while now, online relationships have been, for the most part, acceptable in our society. [Editor’s Note: Our EIC met his wife on Match.com] I mean, we’ve been pretty accustomed to seeing commercials for online dating sites and pretty used to the idea of two people meeting through a computer screen before seeing each other for the first time in public. And although there has been much advancement in the process of finding an online love, this season of Catfish only proved that there are still flaws, sometimes major flaws, in the system.
It’s clear from what we’ve seen throughout the episodes and even in the news during the season’s run (I’m talking about you, Manti Te’o) that people aren’t taking the proper precautions before jumping into their relationship. They aren’t researching and they aren’t taking their intuitions into account at all. I mean, we’ve seen plenty of stories this season, all of which had one thing in common: lies. Big fat ones – most of which were questioned by one of the participants or brought up by Nev (through simple RESEARCH!) prior to the big meet up. And as viewers, we all sat there at the end of the 11:00pm hour sometimes wondering why the hell some of these lies exaggerations weren’t taken into account in the first place.
But then, there were some cases we were satisfied because of the few episodes that ended with the ideas of forgiveness and essentially erasing everything from the past like a bad e-mail and starting over. Catfish has proven that too – that there’s always a way for us to make something bad turn into something good. Over the course of the season, we saw a lot of new friendships, a lot of people taking a stand and making a difference, and even a handful of relationships. We can’t forget that because it gives all of us out there the idea of hope. At the end of it all, there’s still a belief that solace can be found by skirting around the truth without any consequences. But even with that – there’s still the realization that there’s a very very small chance for this to happen, which I’m sure crossed the mind of most of the participants throughout filming.
The reason why I bring this all up is because this is what I took away from the season. I realized after the show ended that these stories are never over, despite the two month window the show ends us with at the last five minutes of every episode. There’s still an opportunity for forgiveness, apologies, and explanation, which makes me excited to embark on the show’s reunion next week. We still have something to route for and I’m just as excited as everyone else to see what unfolds.