Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Catfish Recap: Sweet Little Lies

So here we are at the much-hyped season finale of Catfish.  The ads keep telling us that we’ve been surprised all season, but to get ready for the most shocking episode of all.  What could possibly top vampire freaks, transgender fakers paying online boyfriends, and gay felons with bus fetishes...?

Nev welcomes us tonight by telling us that, as always, the emails are POURING in.  Let’s see which high-quality individuals we’ll be tracking down this evening.  How about Mike?  He’s from New Jersey and has recently moved back in with his parents because he lost his job.  Also, his girlfriend of five years dumped him to pursue women.  Get in line, ladies!  Things were looking pretty bad for Mike until he met Felicia on the interwebs.  She’s everything he’s looking for, even though they’ve never met.  They talk on the phone every day, but Mike is too big of an idiot to figure out how to use a webcam, so they’ve never skyped.  Felicia also lives in New Jersey, in a town not too far from Mike’s, so he drove over to see her one night and called her when he got there, but she was nowhere to be found.  She finally called him back around midnight, telling him she’d been in a car accident and her phone had been shut off.  But she was okay.  And now Felicia has moved to Orlando, Florida to open her own business (or something).  Mike needs Nev to pin this girl down and find out if she’s for real.

Or if she's a middle-aged women using pictures of her younger self from the late 80s.

So far I’m in.  Felicia isn’t claiming to be a model and she actually looks like a regular person.  The car accident thing was weird, but it’s only been a few months that these two have been chatting, so there’s still the possibility of normalcy.  Max doesn’t think so.  Nev actually sniffs his finger and says something smells spoiled.  That was so revolting and unnecessary, Nev. Especially with all the foot-picking you do.  They call Mike and Mike adds another element to the car accident story, which is that when he arrived at Felicia’s building, he asked the doorman for her and the doorman said no one named Felicia lived in that building.  That’s sketchy.  But Mike would still really like to meet her, so Nev is going to be the hero who makes that happen. 

When they arrive at Mike’s house, Nev asks who painted the beautiful artwork on the mailbox, to which Mike responds his mother did. Careful, Mike.  Nev is inexplicably drawn to older, married, artistic women.  Keep your mom out of his sight.  Mike invites them in and shows them some of his own artwork, which is of a man-robot.

"His name is MegaMike.  He's made of carbon steel, and is my alter ego."

Oh DEAR.  I fear that Mike is perpetually 14 years old.  He’s hanging out at his parents’ house drawing robot men.  Maybe Felicia had the right idea when she dodged their meeting.  The guys look at Felicia’s profile pictures and she’s obviously very well endowed in the chest region.  Nev describes her as full-bodied.  Mike plays the guys a voicemail from Felicia and says he’s really hoping to be in love with the real Felicia.  Nev and Max leave to launch their investigation.

The first thing they do is pull up Felicia’s Facebook page - something Mike never bothered to do.  Her page seems legitimate - she has hundreds of friends and the pictures are of the same person Mike showed them.  They conclude that they need to get in touch with one of her friends to confirm a few things about Felicia, so they send a message to a girl named Charmaine.  They also wonder why there are no pictures on Felicia’s Facebook page of this business she owns, which is a hair salon.  They google the hair salon in Orlando and find a website.  But the website says that the salon was established in 2007, at which time Felicia would have been a senior in high school.  They try to call the salon, but the phone number is no longer in service.  They call Mike to find out the date of the alleged car accident so that they can look at Felicia’s Facebook pictures for signs of injury.  Mike tells them that she sprained her pinky, but there are no pinky splints in any pictures or anything resembling any type of injury.  The guys conclude that Felicia IS the girl in the pictures, but they can’t know for sure where she lives or whether or not she owns a hair salon.  Or if she was ever in a car accident.

"As far as I can see, she only owns a hair dryer and has two tickets for illegal turns."

The next morning Facebook friend Charmaine calls to tell Nev everything she knows about Felicia - and why not?  She knows that Felicia has been talking to Mike online, and she knows that Felicia has been living in Orlando since she was 17.  She also knows that Felicia is an online liar and has misled guys in the past about her looks and whereabouts.  So much so, that her friends and family staged an intervention to get her to stop with all the fake online living. She also says that Mike should be aware that it’s likely that Felicia is talking to other people online, and not just him.  Nev wonders if Mike is interested in being in a relationship with a liar, and Max wonders if Felicia is actually even interested in being with Mike, or if she’s just playing with him to stroke her own ego.  Let’s go see what Mike thinks.

Turns out, Mike DOES think it’s odd that Felicia would lie about where she lives.  But he still wants to meet her and see what’s up.  So Nev calls Felicia and Felicia is weird about them coming to see her.  Now’s not a good time, I have stuff I have to do tomorrow, blah, blah, blah, as usual.  And as usual, Nev guilts her into agreeing to meet, and the guys head to the airport the very next day.  As the plane lands, Mike and Felicia are texting each other, saying how excited they are to meet each other.  And later, the guys all drive to Felicia’s house, which looks totally normal.  And Felicia comes right out the main door when Mike knocks!  Although, this kind of looks like the side of the house, but at least she’s not emerging from a fort made of old mattresses in the backyard.

"I live in the crawl space."

They hug and Mike says he was hoping that Felicia could show them around Orlando today and show them her salon.  She stammers that she’s lied about some things and she needs to come clean.  First of all, she hasn’t lived in New Jersey for quite a while now and she’s here in Orlando going to school.  Also, there’s no salon.  Felicia says she invented the salon because Mike kept asking her to hang out, so she needed a big story to tell him so he’d quit trying to hang out with her.  Oh okay, so the story became that she was “moving to Orlando” to “open a salon.”  She says she’s sorry and she didn’t purposely lie to him - one of my favorite lines on this show.  Um, yes, you DID purposely lie to him.  That’s exactly what you did.  She says she was afraid if she told Mike she didn’t live near him then he wouldn’t see any point in getting to know her.  That’s... a new one.  I mean, he’s meeting people on the internet, right?  Would location really be a deal breaker?  I don’t know what to believe.  Anyway, Mike says he has a hard time dealing with people who lie to him.

"Nothing could hurt a man made of carbon steel."

Nev steps in and says that since both Mike and Felicia are who they’ve said they are, why would Felicia lie about her location and her business?  Felicia says that it’s basically out of habit.  She’s lied to people on the internet for years now and Mike was the first guy she’s even been THIS honest with.  Every catfish says some version of THAT speech as well.  Felicia says she would never lie again.  HA! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  Nev announces that it’s time for Mike to take a break and think about everything.

In the car on the way back to the hotel Nev kind of wonders what the problem is.  I mean, this is actually the girl from the pictures, so doesn’t Mike want to start ring shopping?  Mike points out that they’ve spent a lot of time talking about things that weren’t true, so he’s feeling very cautious.  Geez, finally someone who cares about honesty.  No one else on this show has ever cared that anyone has lied about something other than their appearance.  And in some cases, even lying about appearance didn’t matter!  They head somewhere to talk.  A coffee shop or living room or something.

"I forgot my iPhone."

Nev keeps at it, saying that if Mike were really into Felicia, he wouldn’t care that she lied about some small details of her life that didn’t define her.  Aren’t we kind of missing the point, Nev?  She LIED about stuff that shouldn’t have mattered.  She’s a liar.  THAT defines her.  Am I the only one agreeing with Mike on this?  Mike is worried that they’ve started off with lying.  Exactly.  If she’ll lie about nonsense, why would he trust her about anything?  Mike eventually agrees to meet up with Felicia that night and see if they can continue to be friends on a truthful basis. 

Next stop for Nev is a park with Felicia, who has changed her outfit.  Oh, so has Nev.  Nev asks Felicia what started all the lying in the first place.  Felicia says that she wanted attention and she’s always been told she was fat and ugly, so with online dating she could pretend to be someone else and get the attention she craved.  Wow, that’s pretty insightful - especially for this show.

"To this day when I panic, I revert to a behavior called pseudologia fantastica."

She adds that if her father had raised her, she wouldn’t have done any of those things.  Hmm, that’s quite a jump.  She never felt love from her mother, etc.  But she’s realized what she was doing wrong and doesn’t want to do anything that will cause her to relapse.  She’s really happy to have met Mike, who seems to like her as she is, and she feels terrible that she hurt him.  Aw, now I’m starting to come around to route for Felicia.  Just quit lying, lady!

Later, Mike and Felicia meet up at a restaurant and Felicia is back to her doorstep outfit.  Whatever.  They sit down to chat and Mike admits that he’s a bit angry about the lying.  Felicia says she understands, but she doesn’t want to start investing her emotions just to find out Mike doesn’t feel the same way.  She asks him straight out if he likes her, if he likes what he sees, and if he thinks there’s a chance for them to become “something more.”  She thinks they should be monogamous and give it a shot.  Mike says he’s not sure he agrees.

"I keep asking myself, what would MegaMike do?"

Felicia says she just wants to know if he likes her.  Mike says well yes, she’s nice and they’ve had good conversations, but that’s it for now.  But he’d like to keep talking.  Felicia says fine, but she’s clearly exasperated and says she needs to leave.  Outside, Mike tries to explain himself some more, saying that he just needs time to build a friendship with her, and if she needed time he would give it to her.  When he makes it clear that he would like things to progress, Felicia calms down and says she feels better.  Well good.

Two months later!  Mike is still living with his parents, but has found a new job and hopes to move out soon.  Is he still drawing robot men?  Felicia is still going to school in Orlando and she and Mike are still talking.  She promises she’s being totally honest with Mike and everyone else too.  That’s stellar.  Then we get a screen shot that tells us Felicia is planning to move back to New Jersey in six months because when she went to visit Mike they officially became a couple.  Aaaawwwwwwwwwwww.

  "I honestly love you."

Well goodness, that certainly wasn’t the shocking season finale that was advertised.  There weren’t really any big surprises and this wasn’t the first Catfish couple to stay together.  If anything, this was a super mild episode.  Was that the shock?  The mildness?  The lack of gender-based and/or legal scandal?  The lack of the all-powerful Google Image Search??  It’s lovely that these two appreciate each other and I wish them all the best, but this definitely wasn’t a groundbreaking episode by any stretch of the imagination.  Happiest ending, I guess? 

What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Catfish Recap: A Model, Idiot.

Tonight Nev cracks open an email from Rico (really?) who has been in an online relationship for three years with Ja’mari.  I will give you one guess as to what Ja’mari does for a living.  That’s right, brilliant readers, he’s a MODEL!!!  An international model, no less.  Because in case you haven’t noticed, models have a terrible time meeting people to date in real life and have to resort to the internet to find true love.  All online romances involve at least one model.  Rico is at a crossroads, you see.  His mother has been taken ill and needs to return to the UK to be near her family.  So Rico has to decide whether he wants to go with her or stay in the US and possibly find true love with Ja’mari.  Well, as an international model, can’t Ja’mari relocate to England?  Oh that’s right.  Only ACTUAL international models can reasonably relocate internationally.  Sorry, is my doubt emerging too soon?

"He said his passport expired."

Nev and Max skype Rico to get things moving and Rico says that he and Ja’mari became friends online because of a common interest.  Ja’mari is a model and Rico wants to get into modeling.  Oh, so like Rose and Kari Ann they can maybe work on some modeling projects together?  Nev asks why Rico and Ja’mari have never skyped and Rico says it’s because when they met Rico was in the military and he didn’t want any of his business “out there.”  Okay, fair enough - that would be a concern in the military.  But what about now?  Why no skyping still?  They never ask.  They just head for Connecticut to meet Rico and launch a Google Image Search.

"Max, give me a quarter!"

Rico turns out to be a genuine cutie.  Like cute enough to believe that a model would find him attractive.  What an interesting turn.  He tells the guys that his mother was in a car accident a few years ago and still suffers from complications of a brain injury.  Ouch.  But Ja’mari has always been very caring and sympathetic. By the way, Ja’mari drives a Mercedes and does very well for himself.  But all of his modeling keeps him on the road a lot, so he and Rico just can’t find a time in both of their schedules to meet.  Rico takes the guys through Ja’mari’s Facebook page and tells them he does print modeling.  Nev asks if Rico has seen any of Ja’mari’s ads.  Rico says no, and Nev points out that it’s odd that Ja’mari doesn’t have a bunch of his ads all over his Facebook page.  Seriously.  He’s the first “model” we’ve met on this show who doesn’t have almost EXCLUSIVELY modeling photos on Facebook.

  But let's not underestimate the bathroom photo.

They tell Rico to give Ja’mari a call so that they can get some footage of them interacting.  He does and it’s all flirtatious.  Ja’mari wants to know where Rico has been all morning, why he hasn’t answered his calls, and then wants Rico to take the phone to the shower with him.  Ja’mari can tell that something isn’t normal because Rico isn’t as open as usual (because Nev and Max are there with their cameras in his face) so he keeps asking what’s going on.

Nev:  "Ask him if his refrigerator is running!"

Then they get all lovey-dovey and say what they love about each other, how precious.  After the call Nev and Max head out to begin their investigation.  They’re pretty sure Ja’mari isn’t telling Rico everything, mostly due to the shocking shortage of modeling photos on his profile.

Over at their coffee shop, Nev and Max google Ja’mari and can’t find any evidence of modeling, so they quickly move on to their Google Image Search.  Nothing.  Nothing comes up.  Pretty odd for a successful international model.  They go to his Facebook profile and try to message a girl named L’toiya, who seems to actually know him.  For the first time ever on this show, the random Facebook friend fails to call Nev immediately overflowing with information.  Then they resort to a YouTube search, which actually turns up a series of videos of Ja’mari and L’toiya.  One of them shows Ja’mari visiting New York for the first time quite recently and spazzing out about it.  The guys point out to each other that a successful international model would not have this type of reaction to visiting New York because he would have been to New York many times.  Not to mention lots of other big cities.  On the plus side, Ja’mari seems to be the same guy that Rico was talking to on the phone.  On the minus side, it’s likely that he’s been lying about being a model and so who knows what else?

Later the guys sit down with Rico to tell them what they’ve found... or not found.  When they break the news that Ja’mari may not be a model, they ask Rico if that would matter.  Rico is concerned because lying about something like his occupation could mean that Ja’mari has lied about a lot of other things as well.  And why on earth would he lie about his occupation?  It just doesn’t make sense.

"How could he help me with my modeling if he's not really a model?"

Hmm, so we finally have a participant who is actually worried that this person might be lying about something other than his appearance.  A contestant who may consider deception a deal breaker, even if good looks are involved.  Nev declares that the next step will be for him to call Ja’mari and arrange an in-person meeting.  Nev is a hero.

When he calls Ja’mari, Ja’mari is super skeptical.  He says that Rico has never told him anything about Nev or a TV show or anything.  After some cajoling from Nev, Ja’mari says he has a lot going on and he’s not sure about just dropping everything on such short notice.  Mm hmm.  Nev finally plays the “Rico deciding whether to move to England” card and Ja’mari says he has tears in his eyes and agrees to meet up.  Nev rushes over to tell Rico and get his pat on the back for being so wonderful and brilliant. 

Everyone flies to Miami, where Ja’mari requests that they meet up in a park.  Yeah, that’s much more catfish-like than a regular house.  Thank you, Ja’mari.  Rico is super nervous and has worn his tightest plaid shorts for the occasion.  They wait around on some picnic tables when finally a regular-looking car - not a Mercedes, pulls into the parking lot and a guy holding a bouquet of flowers emerges.  Rico stands up to walk over to him and they both proceed toward each other down what seems like the longest sidewalk in the world.

"I just came from trading in my Mercedes for that piece of crap."

When they finally reach each other, Rico gets his flowers and they kiss.  They come back over to Nev, Max and the picnic tables.  Apparently this park is right on a beach because Ja’mari explains that his family came to this beach a lot while he was growing up, and they had a lot of problems, but they always felt united at this beach and that’s why he wanted to meet here.  Okay, that’s a nice story, or it could be that where he lives isn’t exactly model-appropriate.  He tells Rico that he has some confessions to make.  No way!  First of all, his name isn’t Ja’mari, it’s James.  Also he doesn’t drive a Mercedes (you don’t say!) and  he doesn’t have his own place.  He’s 22 and lives with his mom.  Oh and he’s not a model.  He’s a bus driver.  So actually when he’s told Rico he’s “on the road,” he really has been on the road, so to speak.  So it wasn’t a total lie, see?  And he wants Rico to give him the weekend to show him that it’s not about material things, it’s about the two of them.  Fine, but isn’t Ja’mari the one who’s made it about material things by lying about all of that?  Rico wants to start the conversation over.  So Ja’mari’s not a model of any kind?  JAMES says no, but he DOES take nice pictures of himself.  HA HA HA!  And about the fake name?  James had gone through a lot and wanted to distance himself from his troubles, so he started going by something else.  Rico wants some time to think about everything - as per the usual catfish episode timelime.  He goes to smoke a cigarette and Nev sits down with James.  James says he never wanted things to happen this way and he blames himself.  But there was just never a good time to tell Rico the truth, you know? IN THREE YEARS!  We’ve heard this story before, James.  It’s bogus.  There were plenty of times to tell the truth.

Back at the hotel, Nev and Rico google James.  The real James, not Ja’mari.  What they find is a police record.

Nev:  "So here we can just Google Image Search his mugshot and voila!"

Apparently James stole three different buses and drove them around on their routes.  So he impersonated a bus driver.  Rico says that’s psychotic.  Who puts on a bus driver’s uniform and drives buses around then brings them back?  Just now James calls Nev’s phone.  Nev tells James that they found the bus driving story online and James says that it’s all bull, and that he “won that case.”  Nev says no one knows what to believe since James has proven himself to be a liar.  James just wants a chance to win Rico over in person, so they decide to get together in about a half hour.  Rico says he will hear James out.

They all sit down at a restaurant and James starts right out with, “It was never my intention to deceive you.”  Uh... yes it obviously was, James.  I don’t know why they say this every single time.  If it hadn’t been their intention to deceive anyone, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation.  Anyway, James has brought along an entire file of paperwork that he says will help explain what’s been going on.  He grew up in the ghetto and there was no access to public transportation in his neighborhood, so he petitioned his county government and got buses to service his area.  This was at age 14.  A few years later, some guy stole some buses and drove them around and everyone remembered James from his bus crusade and associated him with buses, so he got blamed as the guy who stole the buses.  Huh?  That sounds like a stretch to me.  He spent two years in county jail trying to clear his name... and finally did.  While in jail he passed the certification to become an actual bus driver, which he is now.  That’s an odd career choice considering what he’s claiming to have gone through and why.  When he was released he stopped going by James because he didn’t want to be associated with the bus debacle anymore.  He didn’t want everyone googling his name and finding out about his police record.  Rico points out that he’s not “everyone.”  James assures Rico that his heart never lied.  Whatever that means.  Only his mouth did?

The next day we all meet up again at another park.  James is frantic to get Rico to tell him everything is okay.

"I'll still help you become a model.  You can take my bus to your castings. "

He talks about worrying all night that Rico was mad at him, then he thanks Rico for giving him the strength to be free from what was holding him back.  He finally asks Rico to forgive him.  Rico says that yes he’ll forgive him but he won’t forget what happened.  And he needs to go to his mother in England now and make sure she’s okay.  And if he loves it there and decides to stay, maybe James can come with him!  I don’t know, what would James do for work?  They drive on the other side of the road in England.  Nev has to wrap things up so they hug and noisily kiss several times goodbye. 

A month later Rico’s mom has improved.  And Rico has decided to stay in the US so that he can be with James.  And James is happy to leave his past in the past and move on.  They plan to get together again soon.  Awwww.

This episode wasn’t nearly as shocking as some we’ve seen, but we still got that ever-present phony modeling story.  What’s with everyone pretending to be a model and everyone believing that everyone else IS a model?  How did you guys like this one?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Catfish Recap: Hot Shemale

Nev has a doozy for us tonight.  This episode is advertised as a “double catfish,” which at first worried me that I might have a double-header to recap, but what it means is that in this instance, both parties are tricking each other to some extent.  More than usual, I guess.

Nev reads us his email from Rod, who met Ebony on a website for gays and bisexuals.  (Take note, Chelsea, Dani, Aaron.  Those websites exist.)  Ebony introduced “herself” to Rod as transgendered.  They’ve now been in an online relationship for four years.  At first Rod was worried because he’d never been with someone who is transgendered, but Ebony turned out to be awesome.  The problem is that he’s been using his cousin’s pictures instead of his own and calling himself KJ.

"I'm whose cousin now?"

At the beginning of the relationship they couldn’t meet up because Ebony had cancer (!) and now she just keeps putting it off, so Rod needs Nev to make this happen.  Soooo the one using the fake name and pictures is the one wanting the meeting and the straightforward person is the one avoiding it.  Good grief, does reality even exist anymore?  It seems like these people just live in the fairylands of their imaginations.  Why even bother meeting in person?  It hasn’t been necessary for four whole years!  Isn’t Delusion just a nicer place to be?

Anyway Nev and Max think Rod will make some good TV so they head straight for Jackson Mississippi.  They find Rod at work.  He’s a cook at what looks like a pub of some kind.

Demonstrating the need for handwashing policies.

They sit down and ask him what he likes about Ebony.  Rod says that Ebony is always there for him no matter what, he’s never been this close to anyone before, and she’s beautiful.  He shows the guys some pictures, pointing out that just from looking at the pictures you would never know that Ebony used to be a dude.

Especially holding that pink phone.

Nev asks if Rod went on the website for gays and bisexuals expecting to meet a guy.  Rod says no, you could meet anyone on there.  Well, I suppose, but I would venture to guess that if a straight lady is who you were after, a website for gays and bisexuals wouldn’t be your first stop. Am I just old?  Nev clarifies, asking Rod if he is attracted to men. Rod says no.  And at first he thought Ebony was a plain old girl.  Nev asks Rod how he feels about being with a guy physically.  Rod says it’s something he would have to get comfortable with, but he’s willing to try because Ebony is just that cool.  Nev asks why Rod never came clean about his name and his pictures.  Rod says because if he told Ebony the truth, she might think that he’s also lying about other things and stop talking to him.  Well, does Rod think Ebony is hiding anything?  He says yes he does because she’s “very secretive.”  What, on text message?  Rod is nervous that Ebony might not be who she says she is.  Max cuts in and asks him if he realizes how hypocritical that is.  Yeah Rod.  You’re NOT who you’ve been saying you are.  Do you really have any room to judge?

Later Nev and Max invite Rod into their Google investigation.  Well this is highly unusual.  Why does Rod get to participate in Google Image Search?  But before they can even get started, Ebony is blowing up Rod’s cell phone.  The guys have him put it on speaker and we get to hear Ebony cooing and calling him poo-poo.  Poo-poo?  Really?  Then she tells him all about the new panties she bought.  You know, I can’t say I’m all that invested in this faux-mance.  And the more we proceed, the less I care to see how this turns out.  But for you, beloved readers, I shall persevere!

As the Google search continues, we learn that Ebony is involved in 39 online meet-up groups.  39 online meet-up groups?  Is real life just not cutting it?  And from a friend’s online comment we learn that she has a daughter.  Something she’s failed to mention in four years.  Okay, so basically there’s no telling what lies beneath these 500 layers of falsehoods that these two call their relationship.  Does anyone care?  Yes, Nev does.

The next morning Nev calls Ebony after Max preps him on how to deal with her strong personality on the phone.  Nev pretty much fails.

"What do you mean you've never heard of me?"

But as he fumbles around trying to have a conversation, he asks if she’s always identified as transgendered.  Ebony says she doesn’t like the term “transgendered.”  She prefers “fabulous woman” because that’s what she is.  Okay fine.  When Nev tells her that “KJ” has something he would like to tell her in person, Ebony says that they’ve always been very open and honest with each other, so she can’t imagine what he might have to tell her.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry right here.  Seriously?  She actually gets pretty fed up with Nev but finally agrees that she’ll meet KJ to find out what on earth he could possibly have to tell her that has not already been disclosed.  And in case what he wants to tell her involves a marriage proposal she needs a huge rock.  That’s charming.

Rod is at a park shooting hoops with his friend Mike when Nev and Max catch up with him.  They all sit down to discuss things and Rod admits to Mike that his online girlfriend Ebony is transgender.  Mike doesn’t even blink.  He keeps sitting there expectantly, so Max asks him if he knows what transgender means.  He doesn’t.

"Like she's from another country?"

Here is how Rod explains it to him, “She got the same thing we got.”  And somehow this clears it all up.  Mike kind of giggles and tells Rod that if he’s happy, Mike’s happy.  I’m so glad we involved Mike in all this.  The guys tell Rod to get his sleeping bag ready because they’re heading out on a road trip tonight for Atlanta to meet Ebony. 

When they pull up to Ebony’s house the next day, Rod has decked himself out in a weird combination of a t-shirt, jeans and a dressy vest.  Like from the early 90s.  Oh and a ball cap.  Armed with roses, he knocks on the door.  For the first time in Catfish history, we are at a normal looking house and the sought-after person promptly answers the FRONT door.  Strange.  Even stranger?  Rod is CLEARLY not the guy from the pictures, but Ebony immediately embraces him, saying, “it’s you!”  Shouldn’t she be saying, “Where’s KJ?”  Maybe she’s distracted by the roses.

"Is there a diamond hidden in one of those???"

Nev is elated.  Ebony does finally say, “You look so different!” as she’s inviting everyone on into her house.  Once inside she tells Rod that he looks nothing like his pictures.  Ya think, Ebony?  Do you have any idea who you just let into your home?  He says he doesn’t want her to be mad, but those weren’t pictures of him.  No kidding.  Ebony says she doesn’t understand why he would do that, then he says he has one more thing to tell her.  Here’s how it sounds, “My name Rye.”  Ebony doesn’t understand him either so it’s not just me.  When he finally communicates that his name is Rod, this is where Ebony draws the line.  She’s disappointed, hurt and she storms away.  But very soon she pulls herself together and re-emerges.  She says she has a confession of her own.  An 11-year-old daughter.  Oh and one more thing.  She’s not transgendered.  She’s just a run-of-the-mill female.  But she used to be a lesbian.  Until she met “KJ” whose e-mance apparently turned her.  She never planned on falling in love with a man, but here she is in love with KJ.  Rod.  Whoever.

"Can I get those roses back?"

Rod says he’s sorry for lying about his name and appearance and now he’d like an apology as well.  Ebony says she doesn’t know if she can forgive him.  She’ll have to think about it.  Then she goes, “I forgive you!”  and runs over to sit on his lap.  Rod laughs nervously and Nev decides it’s time to take a break.  They’re going to regroup at the hotel and give everyone a chance to think about all of this.

In the car Nev asks Rod what he thinks of Ebony being a woman.  Relieved, right?  Rod’s all weird, saying he doesn’t get why she wouldn’t have told him that.  Nev asks Rod - again - if he’s “curious” about men.  Rod answers by saying that Ebony has been sending him 200-300 dollars a month, and paying his cell phone bill and since he was unemployed he figured he’d keep it going.  But he wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been giving him money.  Oh REALLY.  That’s certainly a different story from the one you were telling two days ago, Rod.  So anxious were you to meet this amazing Ebony in person.  If this was just a financial arrangement, why involve Nev?  Rod is clearly very disappointed to learn that Ebony is NOT transgendered.  I didn’t see that coming I have to admit.  Nev and Max decide their mission is clear.  Help Rod figure out and admit - on camera - who he really is. 

The next day they swoop up Rod in his hotel room and deliver him to Ebony where the two of them are going to have a heart-to-heart and and end on good terms, come hell or high water.  Ebony opens the door just like she did yesterday - squealing with excitement and hugging Rod.  They sit down on the couch and Rod tells her in a roundabout way that he hasn’t exactly been using her, but really he just thinks of her as a friend and he’s stuck around this long because of the money.

"Well I hope you enjoyed owning a cell phone."

Ebony says she gave him money because he was there for her.  And yes, she lied about one little thing, but everything else was real.  Rod is quick to jump in and point out that the lie was a very big thing.  This is rich coming from this “straight” guy who just found out his girlfriend is a woman, not a tranny.  And let’s not forget KJ and the photos.  Ebony is very insulted to discover that Rod only wanted her money and points to herself, saying “this is what you wish you could have had.”  Actually, no, Ebony.  It appears that Rod has been looking for something else entirely.  But he was hoping to hide it under the guise of being extremely open minded.  You blew that for him by being a plain old girl with no penis.  Rod has said all of three words and now he says he’s going to go and he gets up and leaves.  He gets into the car with Nev and says he just wants to go back to his room.

But Nev doesn’t have his BFF photo yet.  Nor has he received a heartfelt gay confession from Rod, so he runs back into the house to pump Ebony for more info.

Nev:  "He's still the guy you fell in love with."
Ebony:  "KJ?  You're right, he IS still my KJ."

Ebony tells Nev that when she was battling cancer, she went on a gay website to try to find a guy who would just be friends with her.  Okay, then why did she pretend to be transgendered?  For the first year of knowing Rod, she was under the impression that he was gay.  She keeps claiming that ALL she wanted was someone to talk to, so I still don’t understand telling him she was transgendered.  That makes it seem like she was trying to bait a gay guy. We never do get an answer to that question.  But anyway, Nev tells her that Rod is clearly very confused and questioning his sexuality, and this could be Ebony’s big chance to be the friend to Rod that he was to her through cancer.  Bravo Nev.  You’ve done it.  You’ve managed to turn this twisted tale into a message of love, forgiveness and FRIENDSHIP.  Ebony goes to the car and assures Rod that she is there for him.  She hugs him and asks if he’s mad at her.  He says no and she says, “I’m not mad at you either.”  Ebony has been furious, then full of forgiveness about six different times in the last ten minutes.  They hug and Nev pats himself on the back.  Problem solved, friendship formed!

Rod:  "So you'll keep those checks coming, right?"

A month later Rod and Ebony are still friends, but they talk several times a week instead of several times a day.  And Rod needs some time to think about what he wants.  I think it’s pretty clear what he wants, but far be it from me to stop him from spending another four years pretending on the interwebs.  Ebony is back to being a lesbian and has a new girlfriend.  Well congratulations, lady. She knows you’re a woman, right? 

Okay guys.  This show gets more bizarre by the week.  I seriously don’t even know where to look with this one.  These people may be better off on the internet because I think imaginary relationships are all they can handle.  And she was sending him money?  I just can't. What do you think?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catfish Recap: Amanda Hugginkiss

Nev starts this week off by telling us that June 25 is National Catfish Day, as declared by Ronald Reagan.  Well, I’m sure he would have thought twice if he could have foreseen what you’ve created here, Nev.  It’s an embarrassment to humankind. Anyway, Nev’s current project is Tyler who has been in love with Amanda on Facebook for two years.  Two years!  Amanda is just not like the girls Tyler meets in Flint, Michigan where he lives.  She lives a few hours away in Kalamazoo, so of course she’s totally different.  But she doesn’t have a cell phone and her webcam is always out of the question for some reason or another so ALL communication - for two years! - has taken place on Facebook.  Can Nev help end the madness? 

Nev and Max skype Tyler and agree to come to Michigan to help him hunt down Amanda.  I guess driving to Kalamazoo all on his own hasn’t been in Tyler’s realm of possibilities.  When they hang up they both comment that Tyler is remarkably normal.  He’s good looking, athletic, and probably meets girls all the time.  They decide that there’s something alluring about the on-line girl.  Yes, it’s called a fantasy.  She’s anything you can dream up in your mind as long as she’s off in Facebook Land.

She doesn't talk or get her period either.

It looks like Tyler lives the farthest out in the boondocks of any of our e-daters so far because Nev and Max have to stay in a cabin at a KOA campground.  Are there no motels in Flint?  Is it the land that God forgot?  Not a big tourist destination I guess.  Tyler shows the guys around his backyard and they want to know why Tyler isn’t dating any of the cute girls from Flint they saw on his Facebook page.  Tyler says they’re too immature and play head games.  Nev points out that two years of refusing to even talk on the phone is a head game in itself.  Tyler just says that as long as there’s a chance Amanda is the real thing he wants to find out.  So they check out Amanda and Tyler’s Facebook interactions, noting a particular exchange where Amanda expresses her desire to put certain parts of Tyler’s body in her mouth.  Tyler admits to sending her risque photos.  Hmm, embarrassing.

"Yeah, I just don't think someone would lie about fellatio."

As for Amanda’s lack of cell phone, it seems that when she moved away for college, she and her dad were on bad terms so he refused to continue paying for her phone and she can’t afford one herself. Riiiiiight.   8-year-olds have cell phones nowadays.  Come on. 

The next day, after a relaxing evening in the cabin, Nev and Max head over to go fishing with Tyler and some of his buddies.  They fish in a small pond where Nev catches the equivalent of a goldfish and Tyler and crew pull out some pretty big fish.  One is even a catfish - imagine that!

"Now we can cancel the photo shoot for the Season 2 poster."

Tyler waxes sentimental about what good friends he has and the friends tell Nev what a good guy Tyler is and how he deserves someone who appreciates that.  They think the whole internet girlfriend thing is weird, especially her total lack of a phone.  And they talk about what a hard time they’ll give Tyler if Amanda turns out to be a guy.  Amanda Hug ‘n Kiss. 

Nev and Max manage to find a coffee shop with wifi in this town with no hotels and they proceed to do their intense research rituals on Amanda.  They pull up her Facebook page to see what’s going on and here is a recent post she put up:  “Why can’t sex be like it is in the movies?  Music in the background, guy with abs and one that really cares?”  Okay what kind of post is THAT?  It’s an obvious invitation for guys to answer her advertising how sexy and romantic they are and how GREAT and movie-like sex would be with them.  There is NO other reason to post something like that.  Max, of course, quickly points this out.  They notice that none of the responses to that post seem to come from people who actually know Amanda.  They message a few of the guys talking to her to see if they can get any info.  One named Mikhail calls them and says he met Amanda on Facebook, they’ve never talked on the phone, and they exchange messages of a sexual nature.  Then a guy named Brendon calls with an identical story.  Facebook, no phone, sexual chatting.  So obviously this girl is using Facebook as her ego stroking playground.

Nev Schulman, P.I., pulls out all the stops.

Time for the almighty Google Image Search!  And Amanda’s pictures match up with a MySpace profile of a girl named Trina (not The Natural).  It’s funny how MySpace was this free-for-all for everyone to sort of flaunt themselves.  Pictures like “Amanda’s,” with bikinis, underwear or whatever were everywhere.  It was like a virtual escort catalogue. I guess since Facebook is so minimal it’s hard to do the whole porn-model-profile page.  You’d have to spend a lot more time hunting people down to pay attention to your nudie pics.  Anyway the guys brilliantly conclude that Amanda is not the girl in the pictures.  Duh. 

So Nev and Max go back to Tyler’s the next day to tell him about the MySpace profile with all of the same pictures as Amanda’s Facebook profile.  Tyler says he feels betrayed but he still wants to find out who he’s been talking to all this time.  So Nev and Max head back to the cabin to send Amanda a message - don’t forget, she has no phone.  Amanda answers that she’s not sure about all this, although she DOES want to meet Tyler because he’s her favorite person to talk to.  Oh yes, I’m sure she’s never said THAT to anyone before.  She keeps saying that she doesn’t want to let Tyler down.  By meeting him?  Okay CLEARLY this person is nowhere near the person in the pictures.

Don't miss one exciting second of Nev typing, Max.

She says she feels like she’s always letting guys down.  Sounds to me more like she NEVER lets guys down because she never meets them.  Eventually Nev convinces her to agree to meet up.  And magically she’s “at a friend’s” MUCH closer to Flint than anyone thought!  Let’s go!

On the way to Amanda’s Tyler speculates that maybe she is some super sexy farmer’s daughter.  Oh yes, I’m sure THAT’s what she’s worried will disappoint you there, Tyler.  Super sexy people don’t just randomly choose OTHER super sexy people’s pictures to use in place of their own.  Let’s think, shall we?

"As long as she's a 7 or 8... well an 8.  That's still fine."

Finally Tyler decides that as long as Amanda turns out to be a cool chick - even not the chick in the pictures - he’ll be happy.  I’ve heard THAT one before too.  Everything is fine and dandy until the girl weighs 300 pounds.  Then suddenly “cool chick” doesn’t cut it anymore. 

Well, the house looks normal, but obviously no one will come to the front door.  I don’t think that’s EVER happened on this show.  And sure enough, someone comes walking up behind them from out of the garage.  Meet Amanda...

Tyler:  "You still got those pictures of my junk?"

Amanda is actually Aaron.  He says, “I’m Aaron.  Also known as Amanda Miller and I do owe you an apology.  I’m sorry.”  Tyler stays upbeat and just says, “Okay,” and introduces himself.  As they begin talking Tyler says he’s kind of shocked and Aaron goes, “Really?”  HA HA HA!  Um, yes Aaron, really.  He’s shocked that you’re not the white blonde GIRL whose picture you’ve been hiding behind.  Aaron admits that he’s talked to over 100 guys as Amanda, but that there’s not so many lately because he did really start liking Tyler.  Somehow this doesn’t seem to make Tyler feel any better.

"So there are hundreds more out there like me?"

In fact, when Aaron was going to school in Kalamazoo, he struck up an online relationship as Amanda with his R.A.  The R.A. figured out what was going on and Aaron got in big trouble and got kicked out of school.  Whoa, that seems a bit drastic - kicked out of school?? But what do I know about college campus cyber dating rules?  Aaron goes on to say that it’s easier to get the attention of straight guys when he’s posing as a woman.  Yes, because they’re STRAIGHT.  He says he’d rather not be gay, but what are you going to do?  He’d like to remain friends with Tyler, but Tyler seems hesitant.  Nev decides it’s time to leave and let everything settle in.  Back in the car Tyler frets that his friends will never let him live this down.

Back at the cabin Nev and Max get onto Aaron’s Twitter - the REAL Aaron.  He’s been waxing poetic about meeting someone today he’s loved talking to and about how he’s been two people but now he’s becoming one.  He has also tweeted these lists that look like they’re written in crayon on lined paper.  They’re about what he wants in life and what he promises his future husband.


Why do people tweet stuff like this?  Why do they so desperately want other people to read these things and comment on them?  I don’t get this. 

The next day they go back over to Tyler’s and Tyler has “unfriended” Amanda.  Well yes, I would think so since Amanda doesn’t exist.  They want to go back over to Aaron’s and they want Tyler to come.  He hesitates, but then agrees.  When they arrive Aaron is flanked by two girls who went to high school with him.

"Aaron taught us how to tweeze our eyebrows."

He introduces the guys as they come in, saying that Max is the cutest.  Ha!  The girls talk about Aaron’s online habits, saying they know he’s harmless and doesn’t mean to be hurting anyone with these fake profiles.  Tyler interrupts, saying this isn’t like exaggerating how well you played in a high school football game; this is messing with other people’s lives.  And he doesn’t appreciate Aaron just acting like it’s a joke.  Aaron says he hasn’t messed up anyone’s life, but Tyler reminds him that he messed up his own when he got kicked out of school.  Oh yeah, that.  Aaron’s girlfriends are shocked to hear this.  They wonder why he wouldn’t have told them about getting kicked out of school since they’ve always been there for him.  Nev decides it’s time for a one-on-one with Aaron.

"It's not like that was the only school in the world or anything."

In alone time, Aaron says he needs to start making things right after deceiving so many people.  But sometimes he wishes he didn’t have his family because they are what is holding him back from moving to a big city where he could just be himself instead of hiding behind fake Facebook profiles.  Nev says he needs to like himself first.  And that he definitely has a voice.  Oh geez, does he mean the voice of Amanda?  Why are Nev and Max always trying to find the hidden genius inside the sociopath?  Can’t people just be REAL?  It’s not easy for anyone, but that doesn’t mean you get to jerk everyone around with you.  Plus, if Aaron’s so comfortable on the interwebs, why not try an environment where guys want to meet other guys?  What’s with trying to dupe straight guys into liking him?  You don’t have to move to a large city anymore to connect with people like yourself.  Is this really that big of a mystery?

Aaron goes back to talk to Tyler some more and Tyler says that it seems like Aaron is perfectly happy to live this way - deceiving other people.  All he can gather is that Aaron is a compulsive, pathological liar and he doesn’t have any room in his life for someone like that.  What?  No BFF photo then?  Aaron says he’s not sure why he did all this, but he is sure that he’s going to stop.  And having a nice person like Tyler in his life would help him, but he understands if Tyler doesn’t want to be friends.  But he’s really, really sorry.  Tyler says he accepts the apology and he wishes Aaron well.

They go outside where Nev and Max are hanging with Aaron’s girlfriends and Max gets all distracted filming a turtle.  Everyone seems to part on civil terms.  No photo. 

When Tyler gets home he tells his friends about Aaron, but he’s nice about it, saying that Aaron’s had a tough life and did this to fill some emptiness.  His friends seem like decent guys and just nod somberly.  Who knows what they’ll say when the cameras are off? 

A month later Tyler is going to college, not dating anyone in particular, and definitely not dating anyone online.  Aaron has miraculously managed to move to New York City where he no longer feels like he needs to pretend to be a girl on the internet.  He and Tyler have not spoken.  Nev is proud that Aaron has been able to take charge of things.  It’s all because of you, Nev.  All because of you. 

I’m kind of indifferent about these two.  It’s hard to sympathize because Tyler was willfully ignorant and Aaron was willfully hurtful.  But neither of them seemed like total creeps, so whatever I guess.  Live and learn.  What did you guys think?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta