A lot has changed since 2012, but it seems like some shows on television has stayed the same. One of those is MTV’s Catfish, the show that spawned out of Nev Schulman’s documentary about his personal experience dealing with false Internet identities. That documentary was filmed in 2007 and released in 2010, literally eons ago when it comes to tech advancements in Internet usage–what is still largely the biggest platform the TV show uses. There are many reasons why people are drawn to this show, but there are equally just as many reasons why it’s just bad TV altogether.
First off, when the documentary was released in 2010, many people were already skeptical about the authenticity of the film. Even then, it was a lot easier to accept the fact that what happened to Nev was probably real. The concept of “catfishing” was still a fairly new idea, and people were still getting used to the fact that we had, at the time, the capability to completely impersonate someone or invent an entirely new life through the Internet. But fast-forward to 2018, the concept is literally old and tired. We already know what catfishing is. We know that it can happen, and most of the time, people are more careful now about the people they meet online because Nev gave us a reason to be so many years ago.
Next, catfishing is outdated. There are so many apps nowadays that deal with meeting someone online. There are tens of dating apps that people have been using successfully for a few years now. It seems backwards for the Catfish team to not use resources other than Facebook or other popular social media channels. There hasn’t been a lot of advancement in the show, and it’s literally getting by on shock factor–a poor use of entertainment.
Lastly, there are many things that point to the show being staged. Casting alone is backwards. The person who initiates contact with MTV is the catfish. The producers already know that this person is catfishing someone, yet Nev and Max still have to go and investigate. In addition, everyone’s already on board by the time Nev and Max come around for the reveal. Everyone has their microphones on already when the camera gets to them. We take that they all need to sign some kind of waiver or release form, which means they already know.
People can’t be that gullible anymore, especially when there’s a show about pure gullibility. We can’t doubt it for sure that there are outliers around, but MTV doesn’t find these characters–the characters come to MTV. The opportunities for a setup are just way too many, and it really just makes for the saddest television you can see. You’d think that MTV has it under control when it comes to the creative department, but what they have with Catfish is just completely lacking. They’ve shrouded the entire thing in mystery to keep people watching, but who really follows Catfish anymore, anyway? Our suggestion would be for MTV to make room for something fresher and learn from all the rest of TV networks that are upping their show game.