*For every success story in the cyberworld of online dating, there are about 100 catastrophic fails – mostly stemming from folks who either lie, or use someone else’s photo in their online profile to give themselves more curb appeal.
Thanks to MTV, there’s a new reality series about these types of online deceivers and their potential victims.
“Catfish: The TV Show,” which premiered earlier this month, is based on the 2010 documentary “Catfish,” in which filmmaker Yaniv “Nev” Schulman followed the progression of his own online relationship, and ultimately, captured footage of himself falling victim to this very type of web chicanery.
The term “catfish” refers to someone who sets up a fake online persona by using someone else’s pictures and information. Their motivation is to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and trick someone into falling in love with them – which is what happened to Nev in “Catfish.”
In the MTV series, Nev and his “Catfish” co-filmmaker Max Joseph help online couples who have never met in real life and want to know if the person they have had a relationship with and fallen in love with is actually just a “catfish.”
“The same way, in the film, the viewer goes on the story with us as we discover what’s going on, we are sort of the viewer because [Max and I] are discovering as it’s happening to us and telling a documentary story in a narrative sort of form.”
The casting process of course took place on the Internet. “We asked, ‘Have you formed a relationship with somebody out there? Has it become meaningful to you? And have you done everything but meet, and would you like to?’ And then we just started talking to the folks,” says the show’s producer Tom Forman. “It was a long process, and there were people who decided they wanted to do it. There were people we decided we didn’t feel comfortable putting on television even if they wanted it, and then there were a handful left that we felt really good about.”
In the next episode, airing Dec. 3, a young mother named Jasmine has found comfort in a fellow single parent named Mike. Though she loves that he understands exactly what she’s going through, she’s confused about why he’s not really trying to meet her in person, despite living just 15 minutes away.
“I don’t have my son’s father around, and he can make me feel at home,” she says of Mike, who’s told her he’s a model scout that’s always on the go. “It’s about having someone that cares for you–loves you for who you are.”
Is Jasmine being played? Scroll down to watch a 10 minute sneak peek of this episode, airing Monday, Dec. 3, at 11 p.m. on MTV.
Meanwhile, have any of these online daters heard of Skype? Face time? Nev answers below.