Falling in love with someone you’ve never met makes dating extra harder. They send each other love messages, take cute selfies, and have deep phone talks.
Then the details get suspect. One of them notices that their beloved can’t make video chat or meet up because their camera is damaged or they’re always busy with work, for weeks, months, or years.
“Catfish: The TV Show” helps people in questionable online relationships determine if one or both are being catfished. Each episode is an emotional rollercoaster as the hosts reveal shocking secrets that upend relationships.
Since its 2012 MTV debut, audiences have been hooked. Here are some startling show facts. Let’s explore “Catfish: The TV Show” trivia that diehard fans may not know.
People loved “Catfish,” a 2010 documentary. The film stars catfishee Nev Schulman. Schulman told Page Six in 2020 that “catfished was sort of the finest thing that ever happened to me.” “A lot of people haven’t seen [the documentary] or don’t even realize that I’m hosting the program because I got catfished in sort of a pretty dramatic fashion back in 2008.”
Schulman fell for a Facebook woman in the film. He thought her name was Megan that her younger sister Abby was an art prodigy. He drove from New York to Michigan to meet Megan and her family, but they didn’t exist. Angela, a married 40-year-old, invented it. Vince told Schulman a story that inspired the film, TV series, and phrase “catfishing.”
He stated inactive live cod delivered from Asia to North America would become mushy and disgusting. Catfish in the tanks nip their tails, keeping them busy. “Dull and boring if we didn’t have someone biting at our fins,” he said, comparing Angela to a catfish. Henry W. Nevinson’s 1913 book “Essays in Rebellion” resembles Vince’s account.
Max and Nev are longtime co-hosts.
Max Joseph and Nev Schulman get along well. They seemed to understand one other after solving case after case.
They worked well together because they had known one other for years before the show. Joseph stated in a 2013 Female First interview, “Nev and his older brother, Rel, and I have known each other since we were 14… We’ve always collaborated creatively.”
Schulman called Joseph for help with the show because they had worked together on films. MTV picked up the pilot after they enjoyed it.
After seven seasons, Joseph tweeted goodbye in August 2018. He described working on the show “one of the most remarkable experiences” and said he and Schulman “had become brothers.”
Catfish regularly approach the show.
You’d think the catfishee would contact the show first to see if their online relationship is legitimate, but it’s the other way around. Catfish regularly approach the show. They want to admit their lies in order to apologize or release the burden. Max Joseph told Female First in 2013 that catfish can start afresh after confessing.
Hollywood.com interviewed six cast members from different episodes and found that the catfish contacted MTV first in all but one case.
One anonymous catfish added, “You know how they say [the catfishee] reached out? That’s not true, so why put it in? I contacted them.”
Is “Catfish: The TV Show” catfishing us? False. This reality show is edited like others. They modify certain facts but preserve most of the stories.
Because it’s more dramatic, producers start episodes from the victim’s perspective. It lets hosts and viewers learn the catfish’s identity gradually.
The hosts must improvise as the show isn’t scripted.
Some think the show is scripted. After all, some stories include weird plot twists and exchanges. The hosts and cast say whatever they want, as the show isn’t written.
In 2021, Hidden Remote interviewed co-host Kamie Crawford. “I adore seeing tweets like, “Kamie and Nev are so good at reading their scripts.” What? Really? You can’t write this. Scriptless. There’s no telling.”
Producers know each story’s specifics, but hosts and viewers must do their own research. “We know as much as the viewers,” Crawford added. “The email was our first introduction to the situation. As we read that email, we usually don’t know anything.”
Investigations took longer than expected.
Investigations are interesting. The hosts examine catfish profiles and solve the case in minutes. The investigations take longer than they appear—they’re only shortened for the episode. “It takes forever,” Kamie Crawford told Hidden Remote in 2021. “First conversations with hopefuls usually last two and a half hours. We then research for hours… We work late sometimes.”
Editing reality TV is good here. Watching the hosts’ discoveries in a few minutes rather than several hours is more exciting. “People assume everything occurs so fast,” Crawford added. “‘Oh, what are the odds that you send a text and five seconds later [get] the first response?’ “You don’t understand,” I say. It appears fast but isn’t.”
The show’s participants sign a waiver.
MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show” is selective. If it happened, people could get confused or hurt. Before performing on the show, cast members sign a disclaimer to have their faces unblurred. “There is a private investigator who runs a background check,” executive producer Tom Forman told Entertainment Weekly in 2013.
This ensures safety and cast unity. It also explains why the catfish always has a microphone before meeting the hosts and catfishee. The meet-ups appear spontaneous but aren’t: Before the major unveiling, the crew visits the catfish and gives them a microphone.
Logistics require this: It’s no fun trying to hear catfish. Most importantly, the interactions are authentic.
The crew rejects liars.
As MTV became prominent, people started catfishing for 15 seconds of fame. Marshall Eisen, executive producer and MTV senior VP of news and docs, told Vulture more in 2014. He expected many to lie “to deceive. In the first season, they came alive easily.
Fame has downsides.” The staff carefully screens candidates before the show to avoid false stories. Candidate and partner applications must be thorough. Before production, they must pass background, psychiatric, fact-checking, and waiver checks. “Getting to the bottom of it takes a lot of people scouring over the Internet late into the night,” said Tom Forman (via Entertainment Weekly). “We have to prevent it,” Forman said.
Sometimes plans fail.
People can drop out of the show at any time. This can cause awkwardness. The catfish has skipped multiple dates. They seemed on board but cancelled at the last minute, disappointing the catfishee and hosts.
The cast never surprises the catfish. The major disclosure requires everyone to agree, so if the catfish doesn’t want to proceed, the catfishee is left hanging. Those episodes air. Some are more engaging than normal ones.
“Mathan & Leah” follows Mathan and the hosts from Los Angeles to Washington to meet Leah. Mathan and Leah met at a café, but her sister Jasmine arrived instead. “She wouldn’t come,” Jasmine replied. “She stayed with her boyfriend.” These unpredictable scenarios make the show suspenseful. You never know if the couple will meet or what will happen next.
It’s edited for drama, not contrived.
The act isn’t produced, but some parts are shortened for excitement. “We reduce the probes,” executive producer Marshall Eisen told Vulture in 2014. “Exhausting. We can’t help Nev and Max figure it out. Today’s guys are better, but cracking these things takes time.
We condensed ten hours into five or six minutes to show how hard it was.” Faster travel. The huge meet-up draws many out-of-state catfishees. Catfishes said, “Emails and texts were fake. No emails or texts were preserved or shown.
I regret that many elements were cut from the show “(Hi Ho…No Worries). Though dramatized, the show is factual. Nev Schulman told Newsweek in 2019 that he still surprises himself.
“The emotional complexities of each story—the diverse circumstances people bring from their own lives—surprise me. I’m astonished by the unusual emotional landscape.”
Show participants have a therapist.
Showcatfish and victim suffer emotionally. Both sides are complex. Thankfully, the show doesn’t mistreat its subjects. They guarantee post-filming therapist access. Joseph said (via Vulture): “Our show breaks through and gets people to know themselves and understand their actions and habits.”
Schulman told Newsweek the show is about mental illness in 2019. “Unresolved. Body image, social anxiety, mental disease.” Catfishers are lonely, insecure, or depressed.
“Especially with young people, there is a real need for a conversation about happiness and personal fulfillment,” he said. “That’s why I’m so happy to do the show.” “The show is therapy—it lets individuals talk about their feelings.”