Clichés We've Come to Expect from MTV's Catfish

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MTV's Catfish

MTV's Catfish has been on the air for more than a few seasons now. Sometimes it is hard to believe there are so many people falling in love online, yet never meeting each other. I am not even going to go down that road as to whether you can be in love with a person when you've never even been in the same room. According to the Catfish folks, you can be in love just from texting or talking on the phone. Over time, much of what we see on the show has become a Catfish Cliché.

In case you have not had the delight of watching Catfish yet, the premise is simple. Boy meets girl... well, not exactly. Boy (or girl) finds boy or girl online and strikes up some type of conversation. The two become interested in each other, but never meet. One person decides to contact Nev at MTV to see if he is able to hook them up in person, sometimes across the country. Nev and his buddy, Max, become low-budget detectives (they basically do some internet searches) and learn more about the participant's mystery love interest. 9 times out of 10, the person is a "catfish," meaning he or she is not the person that appears in the photos. There is always a big reveal and the two "online lovers" confront each other; that is when the real fun begins.

I have to admit, this show is addictive. The person approaching MTV and asking for Nev's help is always so sincere, or at least appears to be. As a viewer, you know within no time at all if the other half of this couple is lying. It is a shame the participant never seems to know that. Then the magic happens when the mystery guy or gal is found and confronted. I can't decide what I like better, the "investigation" that sometimes solves itself with just a Google search, or the big reveal and confrontation. No matter what, it is just pure awesomeness despite some standard clichés we've all come to expect.

The mystery person has an amazing job.

For some reason, when people decide to "catfish" someone, they go big. You'd think your standard catfish person would try to find a realistic occupation to tell the other person, but nope. There are two main cliché jobs we get to hear about all the time:

  • Model
  • Music Producer

For some reason, these jobs are the most popular to hear about on Catfish. The best part of it is, the person being told these lies always buys into them. Someone is a rich model, but only has two photos on her Facebook page? Someone is a busy music producer, but still has the time to stop every five minutes for texting? Something is a little fishy, well, a little catfishy.

During the big reveal, we always get to see the truth. He said he was a music producer, but he is really unemployed. She said she is a model, but she really works at Kmart. Oh, the lies! In some instances, some of these folks are simply unstable and they want to believe their lives are that cool. In other instances, they started weaving a web of lies and it snowballed out of control.

The evidence is ridiculously easy to find and obvious.

Sure, there are some situations on the show when the viewers are genuinely surprised. However, there are plenty of times when the person being "catfished" had more than enough clues to figure out their online love was a fraud. Just a little research and, wow, guess that person is not an Abercrombie model after all!

There are also some obvious signs of shadiness or fakery (if any of those two words are actual words). For instance, you may have a girl that has been talking to a guy for a long time. He is supposedly rich, but he does not Skype or have a phone. How is this guy surviving in today's business world like that? Sometimes the lies go on for years. I don't know how people stick to these relationships for that long, but for some reason, they do on Catfish.

Nev is going to be hopelessly sentimental.

Bless his heart, Nev, the host of the show, always wants to believe there is hope. Nev was also catfished years ago. He thought he was in love with a person that basically did not exist. He was actually dealing with a lonely woman that made up all sorts of stories and imaginary characters... except she presented this to Nev as if it was all true. He believed her lies, befriended imaginary people online, and was basically entertainment for this lady. A movie was made about the experience and called Catfish. That is how all of this got started.

You would think with that experience, Nev would be far more skeptical about some of these tales. Sometimes he really is a skeptic, but tries to remain open-minded. Most of the time, he comes up with some sweet and sappy lines hoping this time... maybe this time... the person will be legit. Maybe it is his way of working through his own pain.

Every viewer knows Nev is just too sentimental, even if his awkward sweetness can be adorable at times. He also gives people the benefit of the doubt for way too long. Recently, I watched a show with an obvious catfish in it. She had a secret, but would not say what it was until she was on the show. Nev kept saying, "Oh, maybe she is overweight." Bless your heart, Nev. Such a nice, innocent guy. That could never be the twist on this show. He also thought perhaps she was married. Ummm... nope. Think again. She was transgender. I suspected it all along, but not Nev!

Viewers have come to expect the same lines in every show.

No matter what episode of Catfish I am watching, I know I can expect some of the same statements on each show. It does not matter if the couple only chats online or if they have phone conversations. They always make some type of connection, and they express it the same way each time.

Some of the standard clichés participants have told Nev and Max on Catfish include:

"I've told him things I've never told anyone else."

"We have a real connection other people won't understand."

"I could see this person being the one."

"I want to meet up, but there is always a reason we can't."

"We text each other every morning!"

"We talk online / text / talk on phone for hours every day."

It is funny how much love is happening in these situations until the couple finally meets. If the person does not look like his or her photo, never mind. All those hours and all those nights of dreaming about each other suddenly go down the drain when the model on the computer shows up with pimples and 20 pounds overweight. Of course, some lies are unforgivable. One person claimed to have deaths in the family that never happened. Another person claimed to be a man, but was really a woman. Those lies are hard to look past.

Suddenly this once shy person wants to be on TV.

The funniest aspect of Catfish is that everyone agrees to be on the show. Sure, this person has been ditching the opportunity to meet his or her one true love for months or years, but suddenly, with a little pep talk from Nev, this catfish is ready to meet up. Even stranger, sometimes these people have hid in the shadows due to poor self-esteem or some dark, hidden secret. But hey, it is cool. Bring all the cameras over, and now he or she is ready to share the story with the world.

I am not saying all of this is too fishy (or too catfishy). I think it is more a commentary on how our brains work. There are some people that seem legitimately more comfortable dishing all their dirt on TV. Perhaps that was the goal all along. After all, many of the catfish that appear on the show live in an online fantasy world. What better way to spread the craziness than on TV? Even crazier, people like me tune in all the time to see it! As long as it keeps getting weirder (and it does!), we will keep on watching it, too.


Copyright ©2015 Jeannieinabottle


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Comments 9 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 19 months ago from south Florida

Thanks for this heads-up, Jeannie, about a TV show I have somehow missed. Now thanks to your intriguing revelations I'll have to catch the first show of the new season. Shall I tell them you sent me?


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 19 months ago from Central Florida

I've never seen this show. I don't understand the meaning behind "catfish" as a term for these unsuspecting/lying people. Can you clue me in?

Do any of the couples actually turn out to be who they portrayed themselves online?


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 19 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

drbj, yes, make sure you tell them I sent you. Hehe. Trust me, it gets weirder and weirder as time goes on. You won't be disappointed.

bravewarrior, the term "catfish" is basically someone that is a fraud on the internet. Usually a person sets up a profile using a fake photo and then makes up details about his or her life. Sometimes the catfish is doing this because it is a fantasy for him or her. Sometimes the catfish wants to hook up with people that are "out of his or her league." Other times, the catfish may actually know the person, and it is a joke or a form of revenge. One time, a girl had been catfishing her cousin for more than a year simply because she was mad at him. The poor guy thought he was dating someone awesome.

Yes, every now and then, it is not actually a catfish, but it is a rare. A few episodes brought together couples that were genuinely honest with each. Sometimes there is still a happy ending, even if there is a catfish. One time, this girl pretended to be a guy, but it was cool with the girl she had met online... the girl was bisexual and she said she cared about her no matter what gender she was. Now that is devotion! The show never gets boring, I will tell you that.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 19 months ago from Central Florida

I still don't get the catfish thing. Unless it refers to people who scrape the bottom to nourish themselves. It seems more like they ARE the bottom. You know, where scum is found.

Not to change the subject, but I absolutely love catfish. That's why I don't understand (or like) the reference.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 19 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

The reference is kind of obscure. In the original movie, the "catfish" that tricked Nev was married to a guy that called her a catfish. He said that the catfish of the world make things more interesting. Because of him calling his wife a catfish, Nev started to use the term to describe others who were fakes on the internet.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 19 months ago from Central Florida

Hmm. Odd. Maybe he should have called her a clown fish. They're beautiful, but poisonous.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 19 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Yeah, that would have been better. He was a little different anyway. He was not bothered by his wife's behavior at all.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 19 months ago from USA

I'm not watching enough television, that is obvious. This sounds entertaining beyond belief.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 19 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It is an absolute delight... one of my guilty pleasures. You should give it a try.

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    Jeannie InABottle (Jeannieinabottle)1,161 Followers
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    Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics - anything from hamsters to office work.


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