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Thread: Catfish on MTV (same concept as the movie)

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    fgg
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    Default Catfish on MTV (same concept as the movie)

    'Catfish: The TV Show' on MTV looks into online relationships

    'Catfish: The TV Show,' born of the controversial documentary film, is a reality series that gets into online relationships — and ethical concerns.

    When Jarrod Musselwhite, a 27-year-old single dad from rural Georgia, was feeling confused about his relationship with a girl he'd met online, there was one person he thought could help: an appealingly goofy New York photographer named Nev Schulman.

    Though an unlikely companion for the high-school-educated rocker, Schulman was no stranger to what Musselwhite was feeling. A protagonist of the controversial 2010 documentary "Catfish," Schulman had himself gone through a virtual romance that didn't turn out as expected.

    "You've been through this, so I'd love to have you with me when I meet her," Musselwhite told Schulman, adding that the experience would be "the greatest gift I could ever receive."

    Musselwhite's story appears in "Catfish: The TV Show," a reality series about online relationships premiering Monday on MTV. In the program, people who've carried on relationships for months or even years with someone they've never met call on Schulman and his friend Max Joseph to guide them through a real-life rendezvous. Invariably, things don't go as planned.

    "Catfish: The TV Show" has the rare distinction of being a cable series that began life as a Sundance Film Festival documentary, and perhaps the even more uncommon aim of devoting its airtime to the challenges of online dating. "I want to connect people with each other in the same way I tried to find connection in my film," Schulman said in an interview last week.

    But as it seeks to tell a zeitgeist-y story about love in the time of Facebook, "Catfish: The TV Show" raises complex questions about self-perception and digital identity — and ethical concerns about training a camera on people during some uncomfortably intimate moments.

    It also stirs the ghost of a movie that drew plenty of hard-core fans and nearly as many skeptics.

    "Catfish" told a compelling story. Schulman falls head over heels with Megan, a 19-year-old Midwesterner he interacts with only online. His brother Ariel and friend Henry Joost, both filmmakers, record him in his infatuatory bliss. But red flags soon appear, and by the end of the movie Schulman and the filmmakers have journeyed to Michigan, where they learn that Megan is not a 19-year-old hottie but Angela, a much older housewife living in difficult economic conditions with a pair of mentally disabled stepchildren. In an elaborate bid to cure her loneliness, Angela had created a fictitious persona using a series of fake Web pages and recently acquired cellphones.

    Though the film received a strong reception at Sundance, documentarians including Morgan Spurlock as well as some pundits called it a fake; the website Movieline described "Catfish" as having "a truth problem." At the very least, skeptics said, filmmakers knew more than they let on as they were making the movie. At most, they staged parts of it.

    Schulman maintains every moment in the film occurred as presented. He also said "Catfish" generated a much different reaction behind the scenes.

    "I was shocked by the response I got from people who had experienced similar things," he said. "People sought me out. They felt like they could tell me things they've never told anyone."

    A TV show was born. The entertainment company Relativity Media, which had acquired the film after Sundance, began developing the stories Schulman was hearing about, using RelativityReal, its TV unit behind nonscripted series such as GSN's "The American Bible Challenge." The project soon landed at MTV, where the division behind the acclaimed "True Life" docuseries set out to turn it into a weekly reality show.

    "I was struck by the universal truths, the mystery of it," said Dave Sirulnick, who runs the MTV division. "There are very few documentaries that you can imagine taking to a TV series. But Nev's story was amazing, and we knew stories like this were happening with so many other young people." (Joost and Ariel Schulman are executive producers, but took a more supervisory role as they concentrated on directing the two most recent "Paranormal Activity" films.)

    Creators say they want to avoid the kind of "gotcha" journalism practiced by many TV newsmagazines that do pieces on this subject. As a result, they spend the second half of every episode following the object of their hero's affections.

    "We're a thousand miles away from 'To Catch a Predator,'" said Tom Forman, chief executive of RelativityReal. "There's an amazing moment where a mystery is solved, yes, but we're interested in the fallout, in who's on the other end of the computer screen. They're usually not bad people, just looking for a connection too."

    Still, thrusting a camera in front of subjects who have a, well, complicated relationship to reality can be dangerous, not to mention ethically sticky. MTV uses independent psychologists to test people before allowing them on the show, while a team of psychologists stands by during production in case anything goes wrong.

    The notion of a network and filmmakers who in the past have drawn criticism for distorting reality now making a show about essentially the same topic will inevitably also raise concerns.

    To quell them, Schulman and Joseph are kept in the dark as much as the viewers, and the episodes often include shots of the crew or Joseph holding a camera. "We want this show to be as painstakingly transparent as possible," Forman said.

    The resolutions on "Catfish: The TV Show" aren't always happy — Musselwhite's slow awakening to the realization that his girlfriend isn't the person he believed her to be is almost painful to watch — but principals say that a fairy-tale ending is beside the point.

    "The thing about meeting someone online is that people can avoid the insecurities many of us have about physical interactions," Schulman said. "So they get much more intimate and involved, and they're not always prepared to deal with that. We want to provide an opportunity to discuss that."

    Sirulnick added that the series speaks in another way to how young people live now. "What's at the heart of the show is this paradox: Communicating with new people has never been easier. And yet it's also never been easier to put up a front in that communication."

    'Catfish: The TV Show' looks into online relationships on MTV - latimes.com

    anyone watch this last night? the first episode had a girl who thought she'd been dating a model for 8 months. she spoke with "him" and texted him constantly. there were all kinds of talk of love, marriage and babies. turns out the model was an 18 yo girl who had been using some guy's identity to dupe girls on the internet for 4 years! she was completely unapologetic and could not have cared less that she broke this poor girl's heart.

    side note: i think nev is hot.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Elite Member HelpMeRhonda's Avatar
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    Yes, I watched last night. Okay the first we heard "his" voice, the jig was up. And Cmon why in the hell would she not google this 'guy'. And her excuses for the red flags they found within 5 mins of a little research.. Wow.
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    fgg
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    ^i'm with you. i was thinking "he" was a 12 yo boy or a chick.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Elite Member southernbelle's Avatar
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    I didn't know about this but it sounds interesting! I'll have to check it out.

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    I'm obsessed with this show... With the "model" story I knew this girl was delusional about her excuses once I heard the "guy"'s voice. It was INSANE when they found out the truth... I dont get what this chick's motive was other than she wanted to fuck with a beautiful girl because she herself had been picked on. I have no pity for poor fat girl because what she did was straight up creepy & she didnt even attempt to apoligize sincerely
    The next episode seems slightly better, Of course the hot stripper "Scorpio" wasnt who he said he was... but an overweight, out of work, father of 4 who just wanted to talk to a hot stripper chick. It's obvious she wouldnt have given him the time of day if she really knew who he was
    Sugar... The real gateway drug

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    fgg
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    i find this show really interesting. so far:

    -girl finds out that the guy she'd been talking to/texting with for 10 (?) months was actually an 18 yo lesbian rather than the male model she thought he was.
    -girl finds out that the guy she'd been talking to/texting with was an overweight dude and not the fellow stripper she thought he was.
    -girl finds out that the guy she'd been talking to/texting with for 10 years (!!) was the same guy but he weighed approx. 600 lbs.
    -girl finds out that the guy she'd been texting with for 2 years was actually a girl who dates the original girl's ex-boyfriend. "he" was SO busy that he couldn't ever talk to her on the phone or meet her even though he lived 15 min away...

    if the guy you're talking to never wants to skype/facetime, doesn't call, never meets you and only gives you photos available on his facebook profile, HE ISN'T REAL!
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Elite Member HelpMeRhonda's Avatar
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    I did learn how to Google pics to see if they are posted online anywhere. I thought that was interesting.

    I just can't imagine how naive these people are. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND, for Christ sake USE IT. Or at least search a little further on facebook! Geesh
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    fgg
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    yeah, i learned the google image search. i didn't know you could drop an actual photo in and see where it pops up online. that was very interesting.
    Seapharris7 likes this.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    I posted in a group where someone had claimed to be an Asian woman living in Florida. After several years, when the person got bored of maintaining the charade, she "killed off her character". Posted as a friend saying that the Asian woman's car had broken down at night on a busy stretch of I-95 north of Miami Beach. She had gotten out of the car to get help and was hit and killed by another car, while her child was still strapped in the backseat. Except that this person didn't really exist and the photos the poster had been using were from some unwitting swimsuit model/shots girl's Flickr page.

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    Bump. Didn't want to create a new thread.
    Do people actually correspond with people online without ever meeting them. Well, in most cases yes. I mean, we do that here.
    But some of these people send money to people they've never seen before.
    And I don't like the "celebrity" Catfish with Tracey Thoms - she used it to promote herself rather than deal with the catfish issue.
    Maybe I'm too old - or at least older than the demographic the show goes after, to understand it. But I do love Max's silver coif.
    "If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased." - Katharine Hepburn

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    Elite Member Brah's Avatar
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    Max is a total fox.

    I used to love this show (once had a 'fuck it' day and called in sick to a work shift because there was a Catfish marathon on!) but haven't watched it in a while. After the second season you just wonder how these people could be so foolish to believe some of this shit, and it's especially tacky when celebrities are on, or it has the talk show after show thing. The episodes I liked best are the ones where they meet and genuinely like each other--- like that one quiet loner guy in the Navy or Army or something, who met with the depressed blonde woman in Texas iirc, where she had catfished him but they still connected once they met and a cute little depressed loner love blossomed. That one was so sweet. Hardly any are sweet, so it gets tiresome.

    Edit: I really can't believe the people who send money to someone who sends random photos. Especially since for some of these people it's in the thousands! I understand being lonely, but if you're going to shell out a thousand dollars on someone, why not just buy the friendship/love of someone you can actually hang out with...

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    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    Max and Nev are completely lovable. This show's flipped out. Love it.
    "The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it."...Axel Munthe

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    Bump. Dead thread CPR. I'm on vaca this week and was going to mop my floor until MTV put on their Catfish marathon. Now I am useless.

    STILL crushing on Max, too.
    "If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased." - Katharine Hepburn

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    Elite Member dksnj's Avatar
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    Max is a hottie. Neve is too, but the fact that he has a tramp stamp and is extremely hairy is kind of icky. But he is a cutie and I love his personality, so I'd overlook that.

    I feel like some of this is staged, but I'm fucking hooked.
    BITTER likes this.
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    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    I know, when I first saw nev's furry long haired chest, it was gross. But when his chest hair isn't showing, he's cute again.
    "The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it."...Axel Munthe

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