Have you seen "Catfish: The TV Show"?
First let me ask you, have you seen “Catfish” the documentary? It was on Netflix, and on a rainy Sunday afternoon it changed my life.
The documentary made by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman follows Schulman’s brother Nev as he becomes online friends with an entire family he has never met. He ends up falling in love with one member of the family, though he has talked to her only through Facebook and on the phone, etc.
Of course things start to become fishy, and a few facts about her and the others don't add up.
SPOILER ALERT: She isn’t real. The family isn't real. They were all made up by a sad, lonely woman.
Nev had his heart broken but learned a valuable lesson. He's since turned to MTV and created a show where he travels the country to help poor souls meet their online loves in person.
I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure calling MTV for help meeting my online boyfriend is red flag number one.
My friends and I are OBSESSED with this show. I’m always waiting for Chris Hansen to come out, ask someone if they want some iced tea and then tell them they're under arrest.
In the episodes which have aired since the show premiered, the person of interest hasn't been completely telling the truth. In each case the “victim” is led to believe they are in love with this person they never met. But Nev always comes to the rescue.
He and his crew usually find something strange or odd about the person within the first five minutes of being there. All it takes is a Google search and a few questions. Are people really that naïve?
Maybe it’s because I’m a journalist, but everything “detective” Nev does is what I do when I meet a cute boy on any given day.
If someone says they work at the "Chelsea Handler Show", Nev calls to confirm. If someone has privacy settings which exclude “real” photos of them, he checks on them from another Facebook account. If someone says they have two kids, he calls and asks them if they have two kids. It's common sense. It's that easy.
But some of the people on this show believe every word these people are telling them. They've even been in an online relationship with them for sometimes up to 10 years - without meeting them in person.
My generation or younger should know better. Since AOL chat rooms existed, we've been told to watch who we're talking to and NEVER meet an online friend in person. We hear stories about dangerous creeps all the time.
One would think in this day and age, people would "Google" someone before proposing.
For example, a girl in one episode was told by her online "model" boyfriend that his three sisters died tragically in a car accident. A simple search conducted by Nev immediately proved his sisters were alive and well.
It makes me think - with online dating sites and social media becoming more predominant, are we really more apt to fall in love with a computer screen than an actual person?
So far this show hasn’t ceased to amaze me (but it does air on MTV, so only time will tell). Nev is charming (and super good looking!) and seems to be a genuinely nice person. He's always searching for the truth and wants to help others find love - even if it's unconventional.
Am I the only one hoping the person on the other end will be Old Man Withers from "Wayne's World" when the person expects Rob Lowe?
That may sound harsh, but if someone is willing to fall in love with pixels without doing their homework, they run the risk of being shocked on national television.
So why is it called "Catfish" you ask? Here's an explanation from MTV.com:
Cat·fish [kat-fish] verb: To pretend to be someone you're not online by posting false information, such as someone else's pictures, on social media sites, usually with the intention of getting someone to fall in love with you.
You can catch "Catfish: The TV Show" on MTV Monday nights (and other times during the week, 'cause you know MTV repeats the heck out of its shows). Full episodes are also on MTV.com.
For a full understanding, the documentary is also a must-see.
Jordan Armstrong is a digital content producer at KVUE. She holds a degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of North Texas. Her addiction to television and movies started when she was five years old and wouldn’t stop watching "The Cosby Show." She's a "Power Rangers" fan club card holder and owns every season of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" on DVD. Jordan’s opinions are not a reflection of the views of KVUE.com, KVUE TV, or its parent company Belo Corp. We actually don’t know why we’re letting her have a column.