Top 10 Shocking Facts About MTV's Catfish

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Top 10 Shocking Facts About MTV's Catfish

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Beca Dalimonte
These "Catfish" facts are more shocking than what we see onscreen. For this list, we'll be looking at the most surprising things you may not know about this popular series. Our countdown includes edited investigations, alternate titles, waivers, and more!
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Top 10 Shocking Facts About MTV's Catfish


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking Facts About MTV’s Catfish.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most surprising things you may not know about this popular series.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on “Catfish”? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Not All Catfishes Are Strangers


This fact may not come as a surprise to avid viewers of the MTV series. But some casual fans may be shocked to learn that not all catfishes are strangers to those they‘re manipulating. Throughout the years, we’ve seen cousins, siblings, and former lovers duping those closest to them with fake personas. In the season three episode “Antwane & Tony,” Carmen used catfishing as a tool to get back at her cousin for past comments he made about her. “Dre & Casey” showed us another version of such familial drama in season 8, with Jackie catfishing her brother to teach him a lesson about cheating. Apparently you can’t trust anyone!

#9: Nev Was Catfished More Than Once


Before there was “Catfish: The TV Show”, there was the 2010 documentary. The feature film followed Nev Schulman as he got catfished by a woman on Facebook. After sharing his personal experience, and spending years helping others confront their own catfishes, one might think that Nev could never be successfully tricked again. Unfortunately, they’d be wrong. In the season 7 episode “Sheila & Rich Dollaz,” he revealed that he was once catfished by a girl he hired to handle his social media pages. He soon found out that she was repeatedly using his profile to legitimize her own. Posing as Nev, she messaged strangers she had been talking to on her own account in a bid to convince them she was real!

#8: Edited Investigations


Time and time again, Nev and his co-host are presented with people hiding every aspect of themselves, yet still seem to uncover their slip-ups in a matter of minutes. The episodes make them seem like the speediest detectives in the business! In reality though, it can take them many, many hours to find evidence of a catfish’s true identity. Of course, producers are aware of the facts prior to filming, and know how each episode should end. But the hosts themselves are essentially flying blind, and have to draw their own conclusions from what little information they can find.

#7: Alternate Titles


It’s strange to think about today, but “Catfish” wasn’t always going to be called that. The 2010 documentary - and subsequent MTV series it led to - could’ve had a few different titles. The possible alternatives reportedly included “The Facebook Family,” “Michigan Impossible”, and “It’s All Downhill From Here”. The name they eventually settled on actually came from a quote by Vince, the husband of Nev’s catfish Angela. His metaphor about the sea creatures was a truly fascinating one, and gave us the term that’s now synonymous with fake online profiles [there are [...] people who are catfish in life, and they keep you on your toes.”].

#6: Catfishes Often Contact the Show


MTV’s “Catfish” typically starts with Nev and his co-host being contacted by someone who believes they - or someone close to them - is being catfished. Yet in reality, it’s rather common for the perpetrator of the fraud to initiate the process. In fact, the casting application is practically designed to facilitate this. It actually asks people if they “have a secret [...] to confess to [their] online partner”. The question of whether the applicant thinks they’re being duped comes after this. As “Catfish” has risen in popularity, more folks have tried to lie in an attempt to get on the show. Fortunately, fact-checks are done, usually revealing any attempt at deceit.

#5: Waivers


It may seem like this show surprises catfish at their homes, but one of its executive producers, Marshall Eisen, has revealed that’s far from being the case. Production actually ensures that all parties know what’s going on - and are aware of what’s expected of them - prior to making an episode. By the time the cameras start to roll, every person involved has individually signed a waiver agreeing to participate and be filmed. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the catfish will show up when the time comes. Nev and his co-hosts have occasionally been confronted with long waits, leading to some real uncertainty!

#4: Changing the Dictionary


There’s no doubt that this MTV show has changed the way we think about online dating. But did you know that it’s also had a direct impact on the English language? In 2014, Merriam-Webster officially added a new definition to the word “catfish,” immortalizing the metaphorical phrase that was initially put forth in the 2010 film. Don’t worry, it’s still a fish with “long tactile barbels.” But the term now also refers to “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.” That same year, Merriam-Webster also added words like “hashtag”, “selfie”, and “social networking” to their repertoire. We’d say “catfish” is in pretty good company!

#3: Providing Therapy


Confronting years of lies can be a pretty emotional ordeal. And “Catfish” wants to make sure that everyone is okay after an episode has wrapped. In order to do so, MTV provides participants with therapy. In a 2014 interview, executive producer Marshall Eisen said that the service was put in place to “make sure that people are taken care of.” Nev has also spoken of the program’s desire to heal, calling it a “therapy show [that] allows people to talk about their inner feelings.” While it’s easy to think of “Catfish” as just another dramatic reality show, it’s provided necessary closure to numerous people in online relationships. It’s nice to know that they don’t leave people hanging after filming stops!

#2: Banned Episode


Even the most loyal “Catfish” fans may be out of luck when trying to watch the complete series, as there are rumors of a lost episode. “Blake & Kiersten” aired on MTV, but it reportedly grew harder to find in the United States afterward - though Canadian viewers have had more luck. Its content seems pretty typical for “Catfish.” It follows a man named Blake as he tries to meet up with his online girlfriend, “Kiersten.” He eventually finds out that she’s actually a catfish named Kendra, and has been using another woman’s photos as her own. Considering the episode’s average plotline, some fans believe that its obscurity is due to Kendra suing the show, though this hasn’t been confirmed by MTV.

#1: All a Hoax?


Whether you’re a fan of the MTV series or not, you’ve probably seen one of its most infamous subjects. Justin Voel-Pel was the catfish in the season 2 episode “Artis & Jess.” He became a minor internet celebrity after an unforgettable response led to some hilarious memes [“You got me there”]. But stories about the whole thing being a hoax also started to float around. Voel-Pel himself has claimed that he actually worked with Artis, and recommended that he do the show with him. While production knew Justin was the catfish, they had no idea he and Artis knew each other. If his story is indeed true, the duo essentially succeeded in tricking many people.
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