Anyone who has ever considered having a long-distance relationship online, at some point, has to ask themselves the ultimate question, is this worth it? Catfish the movie, followed the exploits of show’s creator Yaniv “Nev” Schulman online. Catfish the series delves into the phenomenon of young people with deep emotional attachments to someone over the internet.
“Nev” opens each episode with an individual who believes they are in a long distance relationship with someone they have never met. Through each segment, the mystery deepens as “Nev” first speaks to the person who contacts him via phone, then he flies to their separate destinations and negotiates a meeting.
The show is obviously emotionally driven, with nice guy “Nev” as the kind and patient mediator, who just wants to get to the bottom of the wedge between them. The questions posed by the show resonates, how can two people, truly have a lasting connection, based simply on the very basics of modern communication??
Season 1 Episode 4 is most memorable as Jasmine (the viewer) who has been in a relationship for two years with someone named Mike, discovers that the man she’s been communicating with is actually, (SPOILER ALERT) Mhissy (the current girlfriend) of an ex boyfriend of Jasmine’s named Trigg! Fans from the movie may not expect such shocking reveals in each episode, but newcomers to the show (with an interest in psychology) may actually learn something from time to time by analyzing the emotional struggles behind the superficial lies and shocking initial confrontations.
The meeting between the two young girls, at first, is as expected. Jasmine is overwhelmed by realizing the lengths to which this young woman has gone through to keep her from her ex and handles it, like a champ! With “Nev” there for support and interference between the two, he is able to break through the outrage for the audience to get to the real life issues.
It turns out that Mhissy lost a child a month before she met Trigg, at the same time single mom Jasmine is in the “friends with benefits” stage of her relationship with Trigg. The two girls had met in passing, realized they were dating the same person without incidence, and afterwards Mhissy went through incredible lows and lengths to distract Jasmine in order to “keep her away from Trigg.”
She created profiles, one as an attractive man (Mike) and another identity (Ceanna) as a friend to lend legitimacy to the identies. Mhissy even went so far as to have several phone numbers synced up with the profiles and a male partner handy for direct phone calls to Jasmine. She even had “right” sounding messages for the voicemails to ensure the deception would last.
It is clear to all, “Nev” and even his trusty camera man, that a lot of time, effort, and work went into keeping Jasmine, a single mother, from her man. “Nev” asks the obvious, why?
“Just for this moment, just so that I can have a smile on my face.” Mhissy replies airily.
The truth of that statement, uncomfortable to watch as it plays out on camera (as a lover of psychology myself) is palpable as Mhissy tells her emotional ordeals. The tragic reasoning behind her actions simply screamed “emotional detatchment” and “transferrence of affection” instead of the first suggestion, that Mhissy could be harboring some malicious intent.
Even as a lay person to psychology, it is clear, Mhissy, who at first appears to be cruel and heartless, had to find a way to deal with the loss of her child as well as have someone else feel loss and a similar hurt to her pain. Jasmine, just happened to be the one person, a young attractive single mother, after the same man.
This reality show sets itself apart from other MTV offerings, by lending an introspective look into what motivates people to go through such extremes, just for the slightest emotional contact. Nev is dreamy, neutral and willing to lend a patient ear from both prospectives, the viewer and the Catfish. That secret hope of a resolution, and an opening of new avenues for both people after they have met, is exactly why Catfish fans are hooked.
Season 2 of Catfish premieres on Logo June 25 check you local listings for a chance to jump in!
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(psychological observations in this article are mine and purely for entertainment)