The latest season of "Catfish" just began, and this season is full of firsts! Some fans argue the storylines are too elaborate to be real, but the network promises they are legit.
Back in 2014, Denise Martin for Vulture talked with Max Joseph—who's no longer on the show, but explained back then how the show is actually real and how it all works.
Filmmaker and Catfish investigator Max Joseph told us after last week’s episode that the MTV reality hit “is about breaking through to people and getting them to see themselves and understand their decisions and their actions.” That’s a self-congratulatory way to talk about the Zeitgeisty show in which Joseph and fellow cybersleuth Nev Schulman solve cases of online identity fraud. It’s also the truest way, because Catfish is not just out to expose people lying about their bodies. Like all other reality shows, it’s super contrived, but maybe not in the ways you might think. Here are the eight important things Vulture learned about how Catfish gets made after a frank conversation with series executive producer and MTV senior vice president of news and docs Marshall Eisen. Think of it not as destroying the magic but as proof that all that anxiety is real, which makes Catfish just plain good TV.
Below is a list of how the show works and what makes it real. Check out Vulture's article for more details.
1. The liars get cast first. 2. Everyone signs a waiver to appear on-camera before filming begins. 3. But the waiver doesn’t guarantee cooperation. 4. Nev and Max are kept in the dark more than anyone else involved. 5. It can take Nev and Max a long time to crack a case. 6. Plenty of people want to catfish MTV now. 7. The stories have gotten pretty dark. 8. MTV sends therapists to meet with everyone after production wraps.
Digital Spy even compiled a list of the best "Catfish" episodes. Check it out.
But others aren't as sympathetic with the show and believe MTV is playing us all. Ranker listed all the reasons it believed the show is fake, and the top reason seems pretty valid:
The 'Catfish' Is Always Mic'd When Crews Arrive: Catfish leads you to believe that Nev, his cameraman, and the 'catfishee' are spontaneously going to visit the catfisher at their home or some other agreed upon location. However, these meetings are anything but spontaneous. Have you ever noticed that the catfisher (and any other relevant people on scene) are all miked up and ready to go when the crew arrives? There's no way the catfisher doesn't know they're busted long before the crew rolls up. Most likely, they've spent a couple hours getting make up on (there's never an awkwardly shiny face on the show), being miked, and having their house scouted for shoot locations.
While some are skeptical about why the show is still airing, many will still continue to watch. 🤷🏽♀️
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