By Maricela Gonzalez
Updated August 28, 2013 at 08:00 AM EDT
Credit: MTV
  • Movie

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.

This episode apparently originally aired on Sunday before the VMAs. Did anyone watch it then? Does anyone watch this show at all? Does anything matter anymore? Max makes baby crying noises really well, and that’s all that matters.

Nev needs to stop forcing unnatural banter in these nondescript hotel openers. It’s not a good look. What is a good look is Max mimicking the cries of a babe. Can we watch him do that for the remainder of this hour? No? Okay, carry on with the show then.

This week’s Catfishee is Artis from Woodstock, Illinois. Four to five months ago, Artis met Jess from nearby Marengo, Illinois on Facebook and thinks she’s one in a million. However, Artis and Jess are already taken. Artis lives with his girlfriend, who is also the mother of his three children. He wants to break up with his girlfriend to finally be with Jess — but first wants to be sure where he stands with her.

“Forget it! I’m not helping,” Nev says as he goes on for an entire episode helping Artis despite never firmly concluding whether or not Artis has been truthful to his current girlfriend regarding his virtual infidelity.

Nevax gets in contact with Artis. Artis clarifies that he hasn’t ever talked on the phone or video chatted with Jess. When the Catfisher won’t even speak to the Catfishee on the phone, that’s a major red flag. If they can’t even pull a Steve Gomez and use someone else as the voice over the phone, then that’s no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather bad.

Nevax agrees to help Artis only if he communicates his feelings to his girlfriend and deals with one relationship before jumping into another.

While on the road to Woodstock — or Not-The-Famous-One-So-Stop-Referring-To-It-As-Suchstock — Nev hurts his foot in an “exercising” injury. I would make a joke about what exactly Nev was doing when he injured his foot but I’ve totally been there and done that.

Nev and Max both admit to having pursued others online while still in relationships but neither feel good about having done so. Nonetheless, in this case Max notes that this time they’re dealing not with someone in love, but someone who “wants to be loved.”

Nevax meets Artis at a diner because Artis still hasn’t come clean to his girlfriend. (Of course.) Artis clarifies that his real relationship is in dire straits — their financial ties and familial obligations to their children are the main and seemingly only reasons that they are still together. He goes on to state that he’s seen only one photo of Jess on her Facebook due to her strict boyfriend. I call shenanigans.

Lights! (Too many) cameras! Investigation! Nevax checks out Jess Venny’s Facebook page, which includes her job at Hooters, her alma mater, the Old Skool of Hard Knocks, her single relationship status, and her many friends from Marengo High School.

If that wasn’t compelling evidence enough of something amiss, a Marengo High School alum, Kevin, writes on her wall stating that he doesn’t think she’s real. Kevin returns Nevax’s message almost immediately, fervently believing that she is fake. Kevin thought something was up after this person he’s never seen before claiming to be from the same small town started throwing herself at his friends. (Was Kevin jealous? Perhaps at first but he wasn’t after realizing Jess is a fake profile.)

Putting a final nail in the coffin, Image Search shows that she’s not Jess for her photo, along with many others of the same woman, are on a myriad of porn sites. (Of course.)

The next morning, Max meets Nev in not-also-his-room to endure another one of Nev’s forced attempts at cleverness. Stop fooling around in an uninteresting way, Nev. Let’s get down to business.

Satisfied with Artis’ notifications that he has opened communication with his girlfriend, Nevax meets Artis at a cafe to share their findings with him. Artis later states that after talking, he and his girlfriend have decided to live together long enough save up funds so they can later comfortably part ways.

I’m glad that Artis at least received the push to finally speak to his girlfriend about the state of their relationship.

Seeing the additional pictures of the woman he thought was Jess, Artis first seems excited, thinking that Jess might be the porn star in the other photos. But no dude, Jess is most definitely not the woman in the pictures. Oh.

Nev encourages Artis, saying that whoever Jess really is must care about him as their conversations are real. Artis is enthused and wants to meet just exactly whom he’s been talking to for almost half a year.

This week we’re treated to a meaty mid-commercial clip instead of the normal Nevax scenes of enjoying the splendor of random American towns. Nevax calls Jess but to no avail. Nev then messages Jess on Facebook, to which she speedily responds. Back and forth they go as Jess still clings to her damsel-in-distress narrative (without giving any details about her true self whatsoever.) She even has the gall to question the legitimacy of Nev’s message.

In response, Nev and Max send her a picture of themselves with her name written on a piece of paper. Nev does his usual mugging for the camera, but Max actually smizes Tyra-style — or as he describes it, he puts on his “serious face to kind of let her know that we mean business.”

Max gets pissed off by Jess’ sketchiness but Nev plays her game in order to calmly coax her into the light of the truth. Jess says she’ll have an answer tomorrow — and so they wait until morning.

The next day, Nev receives a cryptic messages from Jess to meet her with Artis at Emricson Park in Woodstock at 2 p.m. They pick up Artis and head to the park acknowledging that they have no idea what to expect when they get there. Nev is right — “this is about to get real.”

It’s a guy. It’s a pissed off guy. It’s a creepy slow-clapping pissed off guy. O.M.G.

Normally I re-watch scenes to ensure that the description I give in the react is accurate, but I really don’t want to watch this confrontation with Artis and Nevax again because it’s strange and more than a little frightening.

Just kidding, there is the mid-commercial clip of Nevax frolicking through Americana. This week, the duo visit Volo Auto Museum where they ogle and test drive well-preserved American muscle cars. The museum employee mentions all of the girlfriends they’d find in the car they choose to test drive, but it looks to me that they already complete the tableau of Danny (Nev) and Sandy (Max) driving off into the clouds at the end of Grease.

Back at Catfish Creep Fest 2013, “Jess,” actually named Justin, seems to have calmed down a bit. But that doesn’t mean he’s dialed down the crazy. Luckily, Artis removes himself from the situation — which is completely bewildering to him as well — and retreats to Nevax’s car.

Justin sort of but not really explains that he used the Jess account to trap and expose “cheaters.” Indignant, he states, “The guy’s got a family and he’s talking to me? He’s talking to some broad?” Justin who is “obviously” not gay (but maybe!) created the Jess Facebook profile as a joke(?) — or an exploration of self-identity — and noticed that men would contact and flirt with her (him) regardless of their relationship status. He then decided to use this newly discovered power “for good.” It was thus his job to teach cheaters a lesson. But then he says what he had with Artis was a bit personal.

I…don’t understand anything.

Artis is shocked and angry but smartly takes a walk to clear his head. This probably would’ve ended up really negatively (and violently) if Catfish wasn’t involved. Good job, Nevax.

Nev leaves Max with Justin in order to check on Artis to which Max says, “I don’t want to talk to him!” Who would? Justin admits that he’s “a little nuts right now.” (Understatement.) He says that his anger stems from how men have treated his girlfriend in the past. This mean two things: one, Justin is actually in a relationship with someone, and two, Justin is in a relationship with a woman. She is also aware of Justin’s Jess profile and his crusade against evil-doers sketchy online behavior. Justin just hates cheaters, okay?!

Max’s face is priceless: I don’t know what worries him more — Justin lashing out at him or his camera.

For all of the bizarre situations on Catfish: The TV Show, of all the kooky people involved, I don’t really like to say that people are crazy. But sorry, not sorry, Justin is crazy.

As per the usual protocol, Nevax contacts the Catfisher for a post-confrontation sit-down. Can’t they just skip it this week? Anyway, Nevax arrive at Justin’s house, greeted by his sweet dog. Oh no, that’s not his dog but that doesn’t matter, says Justin. “Come in!” Oh no, I think I’ll stay right here thanks. Don’t go in guys! Ah, they went in.

Justin is by far scarier than someone who was arrested for being in possession of a WMD. He thinks he’s someone others will hate, so he blocks them out. Does he feel sorry for deceiving Artis? I don’t know, but he definitely feels something. “What was compelling to me about it was that there was so much chemistry between him and this woman.” Wait…but he was that woman. What?!

Justin used to be homeless. His father died “abruptly” and he found his body, leaving him with no place to go and no one to live for. (Yes, I thought the same thing you did.) His life only turned around after he met his girlfriend. I’m happy that he’s found someone to love, but I’d hate to see an unhappy Justin.

One month later, Justin is still a strange, sad person. But Artis seems to be on a path of reconciliation with his girlfriend. In the end, Artis’ encounter with Jess ended up actually helping his original relationship. I guess this counts as a Catfish happy ending, but I still feel weirded out and like I need a shower. But a funny/sad cat GIF will suffice.

Until next week, Catfishers and Catfishees!


  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 86 minutes