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.
After weeks and weeks of Nev wearing a boot for his injured foot, Max calls him out on wearing it while doing decidedly un-injured activities. (Do you think he saw Nev play American football or international football a.k.a. soccer? I wouldn’t put it past Max for being the type of American guy who calls soccer, football.) Nev dodges the question to avoid an angry phone call from an MTV producer paranoid over health insurance coverage for the Catfish star, joking, “I can’t get it off.” It’s a cute quip almost ruined by Max’s overextended fake laughter. Nev can be funny, Max, but he isn’t that funny.
On the couch in their nondescript hotel suite (Room upgrade!), Nevax reads an email plea from Derek. Not to be confused with Lauren’s Derek, this Derek is a 23-year-old Army vet living in the suburbs of Detroit, MI. He meant a girl online, Kristen, 23, who added him on Facebook while he was traveling back home. She’s also 23, but lives in Tampa, FL. They have been discussing sharing their lives, even when he already has two sons of his own. That is a confusing tale itself but essentially he rushes into relationships way too quickly and doesn’t use as much protection as he should. Granted, he’s undaunted by the fact that he’s been spurned by love before wants to be with Kristen for real. But, he wants Nevax’s help to ensure he won’t end up heartbroken once again.
Derek doesn’t have a webcam, so Nev calls him through his laptop. (Is that a thing? Can you actually do that? I learn so much about modern technology from this show!) He’s close with his kids, which is fantastic. It’s also a (very) good reason to seek out Nevax’s help to vet Kristen before he uproots his whole life and affects his real relationships with his children. Derek claims that the reason he hasn’t yet met Kristen is because as a full-time babysitter, she is almost always taking care of her charges. Unconvinced by the excuse but charmed by Derek’s earnestness, Nevax “bust a move” to Michigan!
The episode has only just started but favorite moment so far is the flight attendant telling Nevax to “get on the plane.” That flight attendant has no time for Nevax travel tomfoolery today!
Due to the magic of Michigan, Nev no longer has to wear the boot. Huzzah! (Side note: I’m going to need a GIF of that little jig he does.) Derek welcomes Nevax and crew into his home where he lives with his grandparents. He’s only been home for two months. An Iraq War vet, he endured a knee injury requiring pins to be implanted into his knee. (My knees ache just thinking about it.)
On the topic of Kristen, Derek’s already kind face brightens even more, gushing that she has accepted his kids and wants to be a real part of their lives as well as his. He calls her “perfect” and says that he loves her, but with this past romantic drama, he is unsure what exactly love means.
In a pre-investigation session alongside Derek, Nevax runs a quick analysis on Kristen’s Facebook profile. (Nev also points out that Derek indeed has a webcam — in his iPad. Derek is learning more about technology, too!) Unfortunately, the red flags start popping up even in a quick look through Kristen’s profile. Her last name is listed as “Whoo” as in “Kristen, who?” Plus, she lists photos of more than one girl — including Vanessa Hudgens — as photos of herself. I’ll cut Derek some slack for not knowing who Vanessa Hudgens is, but he should have noticed that three distinct young women are all being used as photo evidence of Kristen.
The Investigation…begins. [Insert exciting music here.] I like the superhero-type call to action “INVESTIGATION TIME!” better, but hey, I’m all for mixing it up. First up, Nevax runs her phone number to reveal the name “Chasity Noneya” from Waterford, MI. None ya (including Nevax) might have noticed this right away, but that is definitely a fake name. More pressing — how do you not notice that someone claiming to be from Tampa has a Michigan area code?! I am always on the look out for those with my same area code. It’s like a secret club, except that it isn’t.
Nevax returns to Kristen’s Facebook and contacts one of her friends, City Lightz. These names keep getting better and better! But obvious red flag number 999 — the name in her Facebook URL is Tricia Waurd not Kristen Whoo. Nevax then searches for Tricia Waurd and finds a pretty woman from the Detroit woman. She has two kids — and a husband. Oh geez. City Lightz returns Nevax’s call and tells them that Kristen used to be listed as Tricia. Is Kristen really a married woman with kids?!
Nevax returns to Derek’s house to present the investigation findings. “He’s a good guy,” Nev says, which is true. He’s just a little love dumb. Derek at least realizes, before Nevax begins, that Kristen’s phone number is a Michigan number with the same area code as his grandmother. Oh God, the Catfisher can’t be his grandmother, can it?! That would be the biggest twist in Catfish history by far. Regardless, Derek’s hopes crumble as he sees the results, especially at the thought that he may have been talking to a married woman this whole time.
With nothing left to do but confront Kristen or Chasity or whomever, Nev makes the confrontation call. He reaches “Kristen,” who admits to formerly living in Michigan, hence the area code. She’s a sketchy one this week and abruptly ends the conversation stating she’ll talk to Nev “tomorrow.” Oh my, I don’t like where this is going.
I know this is an intense and rather serious episode (I’m not complaining! It’s a nice change of pace), but I adore the fact that once again Nevax has been upgraded to a nondescript hotel suite. (What’s next a nondescript honeymoon suite?) Moving on, Nev calls Kristen the next day, but she isn’t picking up his calls. Soon after, she texts him to set up a meeting that day — in Michigan with no more pretense of living in Florida. If Kristen hadn’t replied to Nevax or agreed to meet with Derek, then would that be the end of the episode? Would an episode even air with such an ending? I would feel sorry for the Catfishee, but I am interested to see how Nevax and the Catfish team would approach such a situation. Sometimes non-action can be compelling television — just look at Downton Abbey. (Yes, I really miss DA. In my heart of hearts, Nevax misses it too.)
After a mere 10 minute drive, Nevax and Derek arrive at a house. Nev is greeted by a young woman named Chasity. (To be honest, I thought Chasity was a fake name too, but I doubt her last name is Noneya. When last names are real, the producers blur it out to protect their privacy.) The first thing Derek asks Chasity is, “So you’re not married?” Good question, but it’s a good second or third question. The first question he should have asked is, “So, who the hell are you?”
Chasity is a single mother of two, who started the Facebook profile a few years ago “for court reasons.” She used it to monitor her children’s father’s page in order to monitor what he posted. She then noted any questionable posts as evidence for him not to receive visitation rights once he is released from prison. To keep her page looking legitimate, she tried to keep it active. She then changed her profile to Kristen Whoo from Tampa in order to stave off attention from other guys. Why would she have to do this if she only needed the page for surveillance purposes? (Much to my dismay, this is never explained.)
Plus, her last name is listed as Noneya as in her real last name is “none ya business.” Amazing. Sketchy and shady but amazing.
Unlike the other guys (again WHAT OTHER GUYS?), Derek was “different.” Chasity affirms that she has been honest at least in sharing her true feelings for him. That being said, Derek is not happy. Overwhelmed by all of this new information, Derek leaves with Nevax in order to process all that he has learned about the real “Kristen.”
The next day, Nevax convinces Derek to return to Chasity’s grandparents house to get to know her. He seems in better spirits and is looking forward to talking with her one on one. Chasity takes them to a lake in the backyard stocked with actual catfish. Meta Catfish-catfish moment!
Despite Derek’s open-mindedness towards Chasity, it almost seems like Chasity is expecting him to forgive her immediately. She acts slightly confused and frustrated on why he didn’t instantly forgive her. I call shenanigans on that attitude. That’s not okay. Derek tells her straight, ”We’re going to have to re-talk about everything.” That’s the best move Derek has made all episode.
One month later, Nevax checks with Derek and Chasity. Soon after meeting in person for the first time, they went out on a date and got to know one another again. Things didn’t work out (of course) and now Derek is focused on going to school. Chasity has deleted the Kristen profile and started a new job. (Hey, a job at Burger King is better than no job at all.) Chasity and Derek’s story is definitely a strange tale, but I hope now they can start off on more genuine, separate adventures.