On August 20, the Observer received an unsettling email from a grandmother in small town California named Cheryl Nagle. She asserted that a mysterious man on Facebook was infiltrating her community’s social media networks, and creepily sending friend requests to a bunch of local kids. And that the Observer, in some bizarre way, was connected to it all.
Obsessed with MTV’s Catfish, we took Ms. Nagle up on her tip. It turned out to be true.
The true test of any celebrity couple is whether a gaggle of Tumblr-loving tweens has dedicated substantial after-school hours to concocting elaborate fanfics where they live happily ever after (or at least bone). There are countless pieces of Glee fanfiction on the web, and don’t even get us started on the creepy One Direction passages (“I Was Kidnapped by One Direction.”)
In case you’ve never used the verb ‘Catfishin’’–either because the concept is too vague, referring both to the idea of lying about your identity on the Internet and to those who sleuth out people who have lied on the Internet, or because you have remained blissfully unaware of the whole Catfish documentary and subsequent TV show–today is the day you join the learning curve.
Because as clunky and undefinable as it is, the term Catfish has now jumped out of its own self-referencing creation and joined the popular lexicon thanks to this business of Notre Dame footballer Manti Te’o's fake girlfriend. And in an even weirder ourborous, the fake sister of the fake girlfriend reached out to original Catfish victim/MTV Internet sleuth Nev Schulman over the Internet while all of this was going down.
We’re not sure how many of you out there actually saw Catfish, the pseudo/documentary directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost of Paranormal Activity 3 and 4 fame. It was a very hyped film in 2010, especially after it received a Sundance buzz-bump that led to Brett Ratner’s company Rogue Pictures acquiring the distribution rights and creating a marketing campaign in the style of The Blair Witch Project, which played up the film’s ambiguous placement on the reality spectrum.
Ostensibly, the film began as a chronicle of “Rel’s little brother Yaniv (‘Nev’), and his relationship with Megan, a girl he met online.” It soon devolves into one of those “too unbelievable to be true” (except they say it is) narratives about the perils of trusting the identity of anyone you meet on the internet.
tonight in dvr
We’re here to tell you just how to set your DVR before heading out for drinks or dinner–or just watching something better on TV!
Catfish is a weird little document: practically outdated when it was released in theaters (to huge hype and limited box office), it represents ruling-class anxieties about the never-ever-realized “inevitablities” Read More
Without opening the whole can of worms of whether or not last year’s Sundance darling Catfish was like, a real-real documentary or a pseudo-documentary or a fake documentary that fooled nobody and that was the point, one thing can be said for the film: It did for Internet dating what Fatal Attraction did for having affairs with really high-strung women with bad perms. Without giving too much away–though if you still are worried about Catfish spoilers maybe you should just go Netflix Catfish already?–the documenting of Nev Schulman’s Facebook relationship with long-distance girlfriend Megan made us all want to go home and unsubscribe from every dating site and social network we’ve ever been a part of. Then that feeling passed, and we were back on JDate within 24 hours.
Which is all to say good luck to Nev on his latest endevour, an MTV “docu-series” where he help couples find love over the Internet. And just to avoid any confusion, this show will also be called Catfish.
In Other News, ROUND 'EM UP
- No but seriously, James Franco is prettier than us. Like, by a lot.
- The Kardashians are opening a “Dash” store in SoHo. If you’ve been following the show, you may recall the episode where Kourtney, Mason, and Scott look at apartments in NYC. If you haven’t been Read More
ROUND 'EM UP, In Other News