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.
Welcome back, Catfish fans! I missed Nevax on the off-week, and I’m glad we’re back. This week marks a new chapter for the series — Masterpiece Classic presents Catfish: The TV Show. Nev attempts to class up his nondescript hotel joint, opening the show as if he’s a real news anchor or host. Silly Nev, this isn’t real hard-hitting news, it’s Catfish! Max stops Nev’s flirtations with sophistication short, so that we can continue the show in the flashy MTV style we’ve come to know and love.
(That being said, now I’m waiting for the Downton Abbey–Catfish crossover. Has someone written that AU fanfic yet? Get on it, Internet.)
This week’s email comes from a 18-year-old Floridian called Nick. Nick has been in contact with 18-year-old Iowan, Melissa, for over six years. They have grown to be quite close, and Nick calls her “the best person I know.” They met on a Tila Tequila fan page, which is the weirdest, cutest thing. (Remember Tila Tequila? You know you do even if you wish you didn’t.) He has been honest with her and for the most part believes she has been honest with him. But watching all of the deceit and betrayals on Catfish has scared him. He is desperate to meet her in person before he goes off to school in Texas. It’s now or never!
Nevax checks in on Nick via video chat to find out more details about Nick’s predicament with Melissa. Despite his young age, Nick is steadfast in his feelings for Melissa, loving “everything about her.” They have even video chatted (although it was dark). Besides the distance between their homes, the main wrench in Nick and Melissa’s relationship is that she is currently living with her boyfriend, Olin. (Yeah that would usually create problems for starting a real relationship.) Melissa claims she is only living with him because she has nowhere else to go. This may be the case, but it doesn’t really sound like a situation conducive to the start of a real romance for Nick and Melissa.
And so, Nevax is off to Florida to help Nick determine if there is a true future romance with Melissa or not. Airport shenanigans ensue as usual but at least we find out one major fact — Max and zebra print go very well together.
Nevax approaches Nick’s house, calling out the Italian flag license plate. (I’m shocked there were no Jersey Shore references.) Nevax sits with Nick as he describes how Melissa is such a significant part of his life. In 2006, Nick’s beloved grandfather passed away, and Melissa was one of the only people he reached out to for support. Because of this their bond has strengthened, and according to Nick, it can surpass any obstacle (even ones called Olin.) Nick is sure that Melissa would choose him over Olin if forced to make a decision. But could she be hiding something that may complicate matters?
Nevax and Nick view Melissa’s Facebook page together. Luckily, Nevax is convinced that she is a real person with real friends — and a real boyfriend. Nevax forces Nick to confront Olin’s page, solidifying the fact that he too is a very real presence in Melissa’s life. Nick even calls her and we see firsthand that although they exchange “I love yous,” Olin is a significant part of her daily life, too.
What’s refreshing about this episode is that Nick and Melissa have a genuine connection that is (mostly) devoid of the secrets and lies that cloud many Catfisher-Catfishee relationships. As Max points out, the most important question really isn’t whether or not Melissa is who she say she is but rather would Melissa actually choose Nick over Olin.
And so, we proceed to Investigation Time! Nevax chooses a fancy cafe this week, fitting in with the Masterpiece Classic presents Catfish: The TV Show theme. Nevax messages Melissa’s Facebook friend Emily in the hopes of asking her about Melissa’s connection to Olin. Looking deeper into Facebook, Nevax discovers a photo of Melissa kissing her friend, Cale. Does she have a girlfriend?! (After all, Tila Tequila is bisexual.) Eh, I’m not convinced. What’s more surprising is that we finally see a full body photo of Melissa, and she is more heavy set than previously thought. A confused Emily calls Nev responding to his message. She states that Melissa is with Olin but doesn’t really talk about her relationship with him that much. She also is aware of Nick because Melissa has mentioned liking him in the past. However, Emily hasn’t heard anything recently about “the guy from Florida.”
All in all, Investigation Time is a bust: Melissa is generally who she says she is, she may have been lying about her appearance, and we still don’t know her definitive relationship status (and sexuality.) This week’s case seems like it would be solved with less work if Nevax just contacted Melissa right away. But hey, where’s the fun in that?
Nevax return to Nick’s house the next morning with “a lot of interesting information about Melissa” a.k.a. hardly any information about Melissa. Blah, blah, blah Nev explains his most compelling investigation efforts but the biggest reveal comes when Nev shows Nick the full shot of Melissa. Nick is surprised for she doesn’t look as he imagined. Nev’s kind of a tool about it, almost pushing him to say that she is bigger than he expected. Dude, we get it — move on. Let’s hope Nick doesn’t pull an Ashley since at least she’s shown her actual face.
Set up in what looks like the Florida bed and breakfast version of the Dowager Countess’ parlor room, Nev (finally) calls Melissa to arrange a face-to-face visit with Nick. She opens up to Nev and shares Nick was her touchstone when at the age of 15, she was sent to a treatment facility for self-harm — just as she was there for Nick when his grandfather died. She cares deeply for Nick, but she confesses to living with her “boyfriend/roommate” Olin. While technically not dating, Olin and Melissa still have some semblance of a relationship. Afraid of rejection, she nevertheless wants to meet Nick and consents to Nevax and Nick traveling to Iowa. Onward to Iowa we go!
But before heading to Iowa, Nevax and Nick make a pit stop at the barber shop. (Nev and Max just can’t get enough of barber shops and marriage, eh?)
Nev calls Melissa to confirm their meeting time and place. She says Olin is not comfortable with this whole thing, so she prefers to meet them at her friend’s house. Fine. A little shady, but fine. Soon enough, the moment of truth is at hand, and Melissa exit her friend’s house to meet Nev. Yes, she’s on the heavier side, but she still looks like the same girl in the pictures. She did consciously frame them in a certain way, but it’s not like she Photoshopped her photos or worse, used photos of someone else.
Melissa quashes any suggestions that she is romantically involved with Cale or any other women, stating that she is straight. The real issue — as it has been since the beginning of the episode — is her relationship with Olin. Nevax gives Nick and Melissa space to talk alone. Melissa shows Nick a letter he sent her long ago. It’s obvious that there’s a spark between them, but they are both shy and reserved. They (sort of) confess their feelings for one another, but Melissa is torn between Olin and Nick. She can’t give Nick a straight choice. What did I say? I knew it.
The next day, Nevax visits Melissa and Olin at their place without Nick. Olin isn’t the controlling non-boyfriend that I thought he would be. He seems nice enough and is quite generous to offer Melissa to stay with him and his mom. That being said, he still has a ways to go in the maturation department, especially when it comes to romance. He’s young, so I understand fear of commitment. But Olin and Melissa’s current status is unstable. Melissa won’t be able to have a clear relationship with any guy — Olin and Nick included — until she is established on her own.
Melissa and Nick meet again, establishing that Melissa is not ready to become romantically involved with Nick. She needs to figure out the other aspects of her life — and define her situation with Olin. For now, Nick and Melissa’s potential romance has ended before it even began. Their shot at love has ended.
One month later, Nevax checks in on Nick and Melissa. They remain in close contact and are each other’s best friend. This is the best possible outcome for these two. Nick and Melissa must go on their separate journeys in order to grow up and become the people they want to be, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t provide emotional support and friendship for one another. Sometimes, “just being friends” actually works out.