Catfish MTV Channel 311 on Virgin
Catfish is unusual. It is a series made by the same two guys who made the documentary film Catfish. Catfish the Doc being an unusual, very unusual Documentary about a guy called Nev who goes to meet someone he had been chatting to online and with whom he had fallen in love.
It turned out for Nev that it was all a sham and his beautiful golden locked on-line girlfriend was a middle aged mother of two quite disabled twins.
Catfish the series is an offshoot with the aim of answering members of the general public who have written to Nev for help in contacting an on-line friend or most usually boyfriend or girlfriend.
The team of Nev and his friend and cameraman Max it must be said are quite dishy, my favourite being the avuncular ever camera holding Max.
( When i say cameraman this consists of holding a diddy little camera up in front of Nev’s face in the oddest moments)
Max has grey-white tumbling curly locks over his forehead.
So the two guys, Nev & Max meet with mostly girls so far who consider themselves to be in serious relationships with someone on-line whom they haven’t been able to meet yet. The guys investigate the on-line amour and attempt to arrange a face to face meet.
The dramatic oomph of the programme is this unmasking of the on-line identity Clue:it isn’t always good. It’s usually pretty radical.
Throughout the episode Zev, even in the face of heart rending stories from the girls he meets, stays calm and slightly stony faced. Perhaps this unsympathetic response to tales of woe and suffering is the correct therapeutic response from a therapist or counsellor to confessed traumas. Probably.
Maybe Nev thinks of himself as a kind of Quantum Leap guy except that he cannot interfere in the space time continuum by becoming in any way involved.
However Nev does seem to excel at preparing the people he meets, mainly girls, for the possible shock and trauma ahead:
“I want to get her to feel like she’s in control, whatever happens” he tells wise-cracking lock tumbling Max.
That sounds very wise and quite advanced in some kind of positive helping technique. Psychological whatever. Has Nev taken lessons in this stuff? It’s all very laudable. Still it is a big deal for the people involved. A fantasy crushed. A love story vanished into thin air.
Catfish is surprisingly deep stuff. Whilst almost seeming superficial and shallow. Yet it’s not:it’s interesting. All of the girls so far have been very sweet and trusting and mostly young. But then why wouldn’t you believe someone’s face book account?
Whether you should believe it when you don’t know the person is quite a different matter. As all of the girls so far have, regrettably, found out the hard way. Still, much better to know and bring such complexities of construction out into the open. It’s all bollocks.
Catfish explores that alternative reality made real in people’s minds. Why not? It is easy to do. We seem half connected to the outside world through our computer already.
Catfish is cool. it may get boring and repetitive after a while. We’ll see. But for now i will continue to watch it with all it’s basic elements of drama:suspense, a mystery, a travail as in adventure, a quest if you like and then a reveal..
Although overall it is played in a lighthearted semi-jocular manner there is a very deep dark edge to Catfish. At times the main guy, Nev, looks harried and upset. Perhaps it is all the e-mail requests: “over a thousand” we hear. The two guys Max & Nev appear to live in a hotel suite but don’t really. It’s just for the purpose of filming.
Oh yes, and there are times when it all, Catfish & Nev, becomes very sinister, and so, somehow does he.