New reality show catches gritty truth of online relationships

New reality show catches gritty truth of online relationships

Catfish, a new show on MTV that follows both the highs and lows of online dating, has become an instant hit. The show is based off a documentary released in 2010, which followed Nev Schulman on his journey to reunite with his own online relationship.

Schulman did not find success in his relationship but decided to make a show for others who wanted to be reunited with their own online lovers.

The show has an interesting premise. Every episode, a new person comes to Schulman to help them find who they have been talking to online. The range of relationships vary, with some couples only chatting for a few months, while others have hit the ten-year mark (believe it or not).

Most of the people featured on the show seem pretty naïve, not finding it suspicious that they have not talked to their online lover on the phone or ever seen their face. However, it is their innocent hope that makes the show. Each time, hopeful viewers tune in believing this will be the episode where a person has actually fallen in love with someone real.

Schulman and his camera man Max Joseph do some background research on the person through Google and also look into their Facebook or MySpace profiles. They usually find some type of evidence making the person look suspicious.

Whether the relationship has lasted for a couple months or several years, the emotions surrounding the reveal of the person is always climatic. The drive over to the person’s house is butterfly inducing because you never know who will be waiting on the other side.

Most episodes of Catfish feature someone who has lied about who they are. Sometimes it is a big lie, like someone being a completely different gender or having a different name. Other times, it is just little white lies.

But most of the time the person leaves disappointed.

And sometimes it is just an all-out hot-mess, resulting in fights and tears.

Catfish, from the outside, may just look like another trashy reality show but what makes it work is how timely it is. The popularity of online relationships only makes sense with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram taking over our lives.

Whether you have fallen in love online or not, the mystique of who you are online is something that everyone can relate to. It seems that social media profiles have become more about making yourself seem better than who you are in real life. Everyone is constantly taking pictures of what their eating, where they are, and who they’re with. It’s like one giant popularity contest and whoever gets the most likes or re-tweets wins.

Maybe the true magic of Catfish lies in the fact that everyone participates in the fabrication of the online world. Everyone is striving to make their Internet personas better than who they are in real life.

Most people may have not fallen into the traps of loving someone they’ve never met, but they can understand the modern world of online love we live in and how easy it is to buy into the way someone portrays who they are online. And all of this is probably because we all aren’t what we appear to be over the Internet.