Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


'Catfish: The TV Show' react in GIF form -- Jesse and Brian

Posted on

Catfish screengrab--Robert Clark

This season’s ‘Catfish: The TV Show,’ which premiered Tuesday, June 25 at 10 p.m. on MTV, features so many OMG moments that it is best to analyze each episode with equally expressive reactions. And not just text-based or still image reactions — GIF reactions

Starting off the episode, Nevax jokes around at the non-descript hotel room’s desk as if they were part of Catfish: The News Program. I would say I would watch that show but without SuChin Pak, I’d probably pass.

Although Robot Max perhaps could make up for the lack of SuChin Pak. (His chrome covering would match his chrome hair!)

This week’s Catfishee is Jesse from Wallingford, PA. She’s 22, unemployed, living with her parents, and ready to start the next chapter of her life. (That hits a little too close to home.) She’s been in contact with a guy named Brian for the past three years. He has propositioned her to move in with him in Alabama and start a real relationship together. She tried once to meet him in person, but he stood her up. She has also given up attempts to video chat with him, so she contacted Nevax for help.

Was I the only one who noticed Nev meet Max’s gaze when reading Jesse’s email? He gazed over at him and said, “He’s extremely handsome.” The fan fic writes itself.

Nevax video chats with Jesse to get more clarification over Jesse’s situation and her feelings. The smooth operator that Nev is, he compliments Jesse, stating, “You have very beautiful teeth.” That’s…not what you say to girls, Nev.

As someone who grew up in South Jersey, I know a South Jersey/Philly area accent when I hear one. Jesse’s is perfect.

They were introduced to one another online through their mutual friend, Fran. Brian and Fran served in the Marines while Fran and Jesse are old friends, having dated when they were young. After communicating for some time, they planned to meet face-to-face in North Carolina, where Fran and Brian were then living. But Brian never showed. He apparently got in some sort of trouble that day, but Jesse doesn’t know anything for certain. Two years later, Brian and Jesse have rekindled their relationship. Brian is ready to settle down and start a family, asking Jesse to move in with him in Alabama. Whoa, this seems a bit too fast, too furious for a couple who have yet to meet in person.

So the Catfisher is Fran, right? Is that too obvious? Is anything obvious anymore? Alright, I’ll stop.

Nevax embarks on the journey from Non-descript Hotel Land to Pennsylvania. Max misses the train from NYC to Philly because apparently MTV is too cheap to fly Nevax and crew directly to Philly. Max may love taking the train but not as much as Nev. (Yes that sentence is purposefully vague.)

Jesse and her adorable cocker spaniel, Romeo, greet Nevax at her home. We didn’t see much of her house, but Nev is right — her backyard is quite lovely. Does Jesse live in the Secret Garden?

Jesse further explains her first missed encounter with Brian. She was in contact with Brian as she drove from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, but as she got closer, he couldn’t be reached. She drove back home the next day, when he called and vaguely confessed that he was involved with something that required police attention. But he refuses to tell her what exactly happened. And now, two years later, they’re more serious than they ever were.

Jesse shows Nevax messages and photos from her “other Romeo.” Nevax also checks Brian’s Facebook, which features a lot of pictures and comments, including one from Fran, vouching for his war buddy. This seems great in all but what isn’t included are answers. What is Brian hiding? Who is Brian? How can anyone contemplate moving in with someone they’ve never met? I’ll stop questioning the entire premise of the show and just keep watching as if this is all perfectly normal.

Armed with coffee and seemingly more unnecessary cameras then usual, Nevax is ready for investigation time!

They check his Facebook again, which seems legitimate. In a Facebook photo, they notice mug shots of him, under the name Robert Clark. The photos are from a stint in a juvenile detention center. Next, they Image Search Robert Brian Clark and find another mug shot but from much more recently — Jan. 29, 2011, the same time Jesse went to meet him. He was charged with “possession of a weapon of mass destruction.” It’s unclear whether he was convicted or not.

“There are a lot of things about this guy that don’t line up.” I don’t need to say anything, but I’ll just leave this here.

The next day, Max enters his own room to make it seem like he doesn’t stay in the same room as Nev. They reflect on what they already know and don’t know since the audience must’ve forgotten everything during the commercial break.

They call Jesse to arrange meeting with Fran, who could possibly shed light on Brian and his background. They meet with Fran outside a cafe where Max off playful but the music and rain suggest the conversation will be quite serious. Get it together, Max.

Fran explains that Brian was his Platoon Sergeant in Afghanistan and was responsible for keeping him safe and alive. Fran describes that his service caused him to have two black spots on his frontal lobe, which affect his short-term memory. Fran reveals that Brian also suffers from TBI, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, due to his time in Afghanistan. When they returned home, they both got divorces. (Wait, he was married?)

Even Fran doesn’t really know what happened when Brian never showed up to meet Jesse. That being said, I think it’s safe to say that Brian is not Fran. I guess that’s a silver lining, no?

Nevax meet Jesse immediately after their conversation with Fran and present with their investigation results from the juvenile detention photos, the WMD charge and mug shot, and his past marriage. She’s stunned yet still determined to meet Brian in person.

Nev makes the call to Brian. He is definitely nicer to Brian than usually is with Catfishers. Is it because of the WMD charge or that he’s a Marine? Or is it that Brian is much more forthcoming and polite than other Catfishers, and I’m just way too judgmental?

And they’re off to Alabama! For someone who’s afraid of airplanes, Jesse seems to be totally fine. (Did she just say mention that in order for us to hear more of her amazing Philly accent?)

Once in Alabama, Nevax and Jesse She’s nervous — and isn’t calmed when they pull up to a spartan trailer home. What if we were wrong this whole time? Is it truly Brian?

It is him! It’s Brian! This marks the second time ever in the decades long history of Catfish that the Catfisher is who he says he is.

But this occasion is less joyous. There are still many questions left unanswered about Brian. Like if he was married when he started talking to Jesse. — or if he carries WMDs in his car.

The mid-commercial clip is a gem worth its own episode. With no explanation whatsoever, Nevax attends a Crawfish Festival in Cypress, TX. After chowing down on crawfish, Nev and Max take “old timey” photos in a costume booth. Cowboy hats and feather boas are involved. It’s pretty amazing. Henceforth, Nev is synonymous with The Gunfighter and Max with The Lady.

Brian finally explains what happened in 2011. He stopped at a gas station before meeting with Jesse, but then experienced an episode. Flashing back to wartime in Afghanistan, he sat in his car wearing a flak jacket. When the police arrived, they found a disassembled sawed-off shotgun, which is kosher in Alabama but is considered a weapon of mass destruction in North Carolina. He was arrested not charged. He was then later diagnosed with PTSD. After that, he went on to PTSD counseling.

He also admitted that at that same time,  he was legally separated but still technically married to his now ex-wife.

After unloading all that truth, Jesse and Brian spent the rest of the day together. While that’s a lot of new information to handle, Jesse tells him that she loves him to which he reciprocates and kisses her.

The next morning, the Gunfighter and the Lady want the full scoop. “We gotta dish,” says the Lady Max. But straight shooter Gunfighter Nev bluntly asks, “You guys fooled around a little?” Jesse confirms that they did indeed do the deed, marking the first “official” hook up on the same day as the first encounter in the long, complicated history of Catfish: The TV Show.

Brian introduces Nevax and Jesse to his family, inviting them to a day of barbecue and fishing. Everyone has a great time—Brian seems like he couldn’t be happier. His family seems to take to Jesse well. Jesse seems happy as well, but she’s holding something back.

Is it just me or does she seem to have reservations that she’s not sharing? It’s obviously not a perfect situation but one would hope that she would be more forthcoming with a guy that cares for her so much.

Two months later, Nevax checks in with the intense couple. Brian says that they talk every day but Jesse hasn’t visited again. He’s hopeful that their relationship will work out. However, Jesse says in a separate video chat that she was going to surprise Brian that day with a visit, but something vague happened that dashed those plans. She says he was then upset when she backed out. In a rare update intervention, Nevax connects Jesse and Brian in a three-way video chat to help them work out whatever vague issues they have.

Jesse ends up visiting Brian anyway, but she soon after decides they aren’t right for each other and ends their relationship.

I knew it. I didn’t want to think the worst, but I knew it. It’s been awhile since Catfish has made me sad. Although next week, it seems like I’ll be shaking my head a lot, so I’m looking forward to all of the sassy GIFs I can use.