Catfish returns to American television, and it returns with a bang.
A reality-based documentary show that is a guilty pleasure for many, Catfish is a series in which the lies told by people to their online lovers are revealed in dramatic style.
Hosted by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, the second half of Season 5 debuted with a double episode on MTV, the first featuring a man who has supposedly catfished over 400 women.
Predictably, Twitter went into a frenzy over the steeped drama of the show.
Fans were relieved that the long mid-season break was over and quickly subscribed to the excitement generated by a shady man named Lucas who had hoodwinked not just a Playboy model and the center of the show — Jayme — but also a series of other women.
Catfish returns amidst a growing culture of representing a protracted and untrue self on the internet — something which all net denizens have been guilty of at one time or the other.
But instead of Instagramming a holiday which actually happened a year ago, the people who are caught on Catfish exploit their online anonymity to fool or mislead lovers.
Over time, the show has exposed many catfishers, each with a bizarre twist of his or her own.
There are women who have pretended to be more than one person, men who have struck friendships with other men pretending to be women, and people of both sexes who have used photoshopped photographs of others claiming that it is them.
While many watchers have doubted its authenticity, questioning how people have been this naive to get emotionally entangled with characters as shady as represented in the show, Catfish returns to its usual level of success and audience engagement.
The second episode of the two-episode return of Catfish is on a similarly outrageous story involving a shady man called Anthony and a woman called Larissa who has never heard his voice in the course of years of knowing each other.
The small town setting of Episode 2 in Yakima, Washington, has also gotten its fair share of Twitter reactions, in addition to the general disbelief over the gullibility of the victims.
According to the Empty Lighthouse Magazine, Larissa was catfished before by a female friend pretending to be a boy named Jose, and this time, she had sent $500 of her saved school money to Anthony.
The Empty Lighthouse also provided an insight into the events which unfolded in the first episode and led to people pronouncing their anger with the catfisher on Twitter.
At the helm of it was the character Lucas, who it turns out is quite the prolific catfisher and lives off fooling women with fake photographs and promises of a relationship.
His latest victim was Jayme — a mother of two, a former Playboy model and a dancer from Portland — who contacted the makers of Catfish in an effort to discover the truth about the man who she was apparently in love with.
As hosts Nev and Max snooped around, and according to MTV News, the count of women who came forward with stories of being misled by this same man rose to three. Joseph even tweeted about the messy affair while the show premiered.
The women eventually discover — with the help of the show’s hosts — that the serial hoodwinker is a character called Zac. Zac, however, is ultimately unrepentant of his soliciting nude photographs from women and beguiling about 400 of them.
When Jayme returns to confront him again and explain the effect his behavior has had, reports Bustle, Zac is nonchalant and does not realize that he is wrong.
However, the show reveals that Jayme and the other women now have no contact with Zac and are healthier and happier in their lives.
Each episode of the series begins with a reminder that show host Schulman was also similarly hoodwinked by a person named Angela who had fifteen Facebook profiles. Schulman, however, has moved on and is expecting his first child with fiancee Laura Perlongo.
Catfish returns with the resounding message of being alert when interacting on social media. The series which was inspired by a film named Catfish, based on the experiences of Nev Schulman and Angela, has sparked the conversation on online safety and the fact that there can be no assurance of character when it comes to online personas.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]