This season’s ‘Catfish: The TV Show,’ which premiered Tuesday, June 25 at 10 p.m. on MTV, features so many OMG moments that it is best to analyze each episode with equally expressive reactions. And not just text-based or still image reactions — GIF reactions.
I had a snappier line to open up this week’s react, but it was a bit inappropriate. Anyway, Max starts off the episode bringing up something he just so happens to have lying around. He picks up his “charged crystal” that wards of “bad energy” from the nondescript hotel desk, and repels the bad energy in the room — apparently stemming directly from Nev’s nose. I have high hopes for this episode.
This week’s Catfishee is Ashley, a 20-year-old Georgian who is in “desperate need” to meet Mike, who she calls the “love of my life.” We’ll see about that.
They met seven years ago — meaning Ashley was 13 — in a chat room, exchanged numbers, and have been contacting one another ever since. She has asked Nevax for help because she has lied to Mike about her appearance. When they first started talking, she sent him Photoshopped photos of herself that make her seem thinner. Ashley wants to come clean to Mike and is finally ready to meet him.
But wait! Max excitedly exclaims, “She’s the Catfish[er]!” Ashley is no Catfishee! This is the first moment in the long storied history Catfish: The TV Show (that I’ve paid attention to) that the terminology has been clearly identified. Catfish refers to the Catfisher, which we already knew, but the Catfishee in Catfish terms is now definitively called the Hopeful. Did you catch all that? Did I confuse you? Want to go back to our terms? Okay, let’s do that. Moving along…
Nevax contacts Ashley via video chat or ooVoo, which apparently sponsored this episode. (I used ooVoo once — in 2007. Is it still a thing? Maybe I’m an old fart using Skype still.)
Ashley confesses that not only the photos she sent him but all of the photos she posts online have been photoshopped. For her, this is the only way she feels comfortable posting them, manipulating them into an image of how she thinks she should look. She and Mike talked in the past about meeting, but she’s backed out, not feeling ready. She believes he’s being truthful, but she only has three photos of him. This is a definite red flag or as Max would say “Weeei-rrrd.”
In the travel montage, we see Nev’s foot is still injured, but coupled with a disco beat, it looks fun!
Nevax arrive in Georgia and meet Ashley in person. Sitting down with her, Max asks why she didn’t ever video chat with Mike. She answers, “You can’t Photoshop video chat.” All too true…at least for the next five years until they invent video Photoshop that is readily available to average consumers.
She explains that she used to go on chat rooms all the time because she was afraid to leave her house. She still deals with being fearful of how people in the real world would treat her. Her figure has always been an issue for her for most of her life, and compared to her thinner sisters in her adoptive family, it made her feel even more isolated. She was close with her father, but he passed away last year, making it a hard time for Ashley. Her connection with Mike is all the more strengthened now that her father’s gone. She sees a lot of the same qualities her father had in Mike. She calls Mike her “rock” and “soul mate.”
Regardless of the effects, Ashley finally feels grown up enough to come clean to Mike in order for him to be in her life — for real. She’s determined and ready!
Only last year did Mike send her the first photo of himself. Of the three photos, two are amateur body-building type photos, which as Nev warns, are most likely fake.
You know what that means? DOUBLE CATFISH. Sounds like Syfy’s next original movie. Double Mutant Catfish Monster Totally Not A Godzilla Rip-off 2!
Did you hear that? Did you actually hear that? Max said, “Investigation time!” He called it by its proper name! If this show was more popular — and had rabid/talented fans — I would call out for Nevax Adventure Time fan art, but since it’s just only you and me watching, I won’t count on it. But I’d love you forever if you did do that.
And so Investigation Time commences with local coffee shop coffee, excessive cameras in the shots of other cameras in the style of Inception, and the new addition of Nev’s crutches. (We welcome you and your nondescript hotel washcloth coverings.)
“Here we are as always in the Investigation Seat,” declares Max. Oh Max, you should be writing these. (There will be comments below stating that he should because I suck, but let’s be real, I would thoroughly enjoy and read snarky Max recaps of Catfish: The TV Show.)
Nevax Image Searches the [Cat]fishy muscle flexing photos and find nothing. Next stop on the Investigation Train is Facebook. There, they once again discover no results. (Mike is supposedly from Piscataway! I know that town well!) Then, Nevax tries reverse searching his phone number, and it’s listed under Gena, which Ashley says is his sister. Back to Facebook Station it is to find Gena’s page. Gena’s page is un-finished and very private, but Nev writes her a message regardless. The “detective” duo also head to a strange station I didn’t know existed. (So many more ways to find dirt on people than I ever imagined!) Nevax searches Mike’s email address on some magical website and finds a grainy photo of a man with his face obscured to look like “a demon.” (It doesn’t look like a demon but it is weird.)
Soon after their search, Nev receives a phone call from Gena. For someone who directly responds to Nev on the phone, Gena’s super cagey — like a Catfisher would be cagey. She confirms that she has a brother Mike, but doesn’t speak about him in detail, stating that he is a very “private” person.
Conclusion: He’s not the guy from the photos. So what is he hiding?
The next day, Mike calls Nev directly! But Nev is driving and talking on the phone! Isn’t there a heavy-handed MTV PSA about that?
Mike confirms he isn’t the person in the photos; he assumed Ashley would have known that already. Well, Nevax and I assumed that because this is Catfish, but Ashley sure didn’t. Unsure about whether or not he wants to meet Ashley in person, Mike needs time to think about it. Well at least that skips a few steps of Internet and phone dilly-dallying.
Nev presents Ashley with what Mike told him, and she’s visibly surprised and anxious.
She gets teary-eyed because she’s worried that he won’t be the same person in terms of personality and their emotional connection as the one she thinks she knows. That fear is all too possible in the crazy world of Catfish. See: Jennifer and Skylar.
Yet Ashley is steadfast — it’s now or never. If Mike ever wants to see Ashley in person, then this is the only opportunity he will get before she determines to move on. Nev lays down the law while on the phone with Mike. In true boss style, Nev convinces Mike to meet Ashley with the cameras in tow. The game is afoot! Off to the Land of New Jersey!
Sorry, the Mountains of Jersey!
Upon arriving to the NJ Mountains, Nevax decides to first take Ashley out on the town in New York City. From context clues and an unhealthy love of NYC (I’m from Jersey after all), it seems like they visit Battery Park, attend a Fuerza Bruta performance, and cruise around Times Square in the evening.
Cruising around in the city, not caring about the traffic is one of the best things to do in NYC. Especially when you’re not driving. Only when you’re not driving. I never drive in New York because it’s scary.
After pulling up to Mike’s house, Max rings the doorbell while an injured Nev and Ashley wait outside. You would think Max would have been more considerate and given his little camera a break for someone who mentioned not being comfortable with the cameras, but no of course he doesn’t. He’s just Max. (Spinoff show title?)
He’s not the guy from the pictures but a normal husky guy, who likes to touch his stubble when he’s nervous. (He’s really nervous.) He apologizes for lying about his appearance, confessing that he feared she would reject him if she knew the truth. (Sound familiar?)
He affirms that everything else he revealed about himself and all of the interactions have been genuine. Ashley seems relieved, stating, ”At least you’re not a girl or anything.” See: Cassie and Steven. Mike didn’t even realize that she altered her photos, laughing off her confession due to his greater deception. That being said, he seems so happy for the air to be clear between them. It’s quite sweet.
Despite Mike calling her beautiful and telling her that he loves her in every way, the light and shine in Mike’s eyes isn’t reciprocated in Ashley’s eyes. Sensing the disconnect, Max pulls Ashley aside. She says that she was surprised to see who he was. Even though she knew — or at least should have known — that the guy in the photos was not and never was Mike, she still expected to meet that person.
I can understand being surprised but whatever happened to he’s the “love of my life?” Oh, the people of Catfish are fans of the hyperbole.
This episode included a bizarre montage of Nev doing domestic work. It was one part awkward and one part adorable with a pinch of sexism, so it’s a wash.
Oof, Ashley parts from Mike with a one armed hug. That’s never a good sign. This is making me sad. It seems like this week Ashley is the Nice Guy whereas Mike is a nice guy. Nice Guy is a non-gender specific term like dude, bro, or ladies — at least the way that I use those terms.
As Ashley and Nevax discuss Ashley’s disappointed feelings and discontent I was distracted by the fact that Nev was driving the same exact route I take to go home and write these reacts. (Meta moment for me. TMI for everyone else.)
The next morning, Nevax drop truth bomb after truth bomb explaining that Ashley shut down Mike’s affections because she hasn’t fully accepted herself yet. She owes it to Mike to be truthful about her intentions — or lack thereof — regardless of how uncomfortable she may feel. Honesty, bros and ladies. That’s the heart of every relationship.
Oh geez, it’s a “It’s not you, it’s me” break-up. This is so uncomfortable and sad. She even says it’s probably the last time she’ll see him. Oh my! What a dagger in the heart. Well, that’s honesty for you, I guess.
She is disappointed but takes it like a champ despite some more stubble strokes. He still holds that torch for her stating, ”I just really hope she’s not gone.”
One month later, Nevax
video chats ooVoos Ashley to check in on how she is. Happily, Ashley has started to feel better about herself and goes out in public more often. More happiness: Ashley is going to visit New Jersey again! Oh, and I guess Mike will be there, too. This is good news! Nevax also check in with Mike who says he feels more confident and is excited to see Ashley. I just hope he doesn’t push her too much with the family and friends stuff. See: Jesse and Brian. Good luck to Ashley and Mike — even if a romantic relationship doesn’t work out, their friendship and kinship is undeniable.