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.
Nevax starts off the episode eating apples on the nondescript desktop in their latest nondescript hotel. I’m going to pretend all of the camera people and that random guy aren’t there, so I can keep on thinking it’s just Nevax: The Morning After that opens every show.
This week focuses on Ramon and his suspicions that the love of his life, Paola, who, of course, he hasn’t met in real life, isn’t really who she says she is. During the one time he video chatted with Paola, a different person from her profile photos was visible. Um, that seems to be a big clue, Ramon.
In this week’s travel montage, Nevax flies to Arizona to meet with Ramon. They do the usual cavorting and goofing around the airport. They even do pull ups on the air tram. Wow, what I would give to never have to deal with them in an airport.
Ramon greets Nevax as they arrive at his home. He’s a timid guy and seems nice enough. He tells them that he works the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift at the local casino as a kitchen worker. He doesn’t own a car, and as such, it seems like he doesn’t have much a social life. That is, except for Paola, with whom he is totally in love. He seems to be a soft-spoken, cute romantic who also happens to be unbelievably naive and stupid, or to put it simply, he is hopelessly devoted to Paola.
Ramon walks Nevax through his video chat experience with Paola Rodriguez. (When they say the person’s full name you know that’s a red flag since why would they need to protect the privacy of a fake person?) He says that after seeing the other person, Paola texted him saying that the person in the chat was his cousin. She claims it was a test to see if he really loved her for her and not just her looks. Nevax checks the cousin’s profile who turns out to be a young woman named Loyda. (Let’s pretend that this wasn’t the easiest catfish scheme ever and this isn’t the Catfisher even though it totally is.)
The real doozy stems from Ramon’s confession that he has paid Paola’s phone bills, gifted her a Wii and cell phone, sent her his bank information, and mailed her thousands of dollars in prepaid cards.
Let’s continue to pretend that we still need investigation time in order to term who Paola is (Loyda), so yay! Investigation time! Nevax image-searches some of Paola’s photos but nothing out of the ordinary comes out. Moment of silence for Image Search’s most uncharacteristic failure.
Searching Paola’s Instagram profile name, Nevax manage to track down another Facebook using Paola’s photos, this one under the name Paola Provost. Because we still don’t know who Paola Rodriguez is (Loyda), Nevax insist on video chatting with Paola Provost to ensure that she does not and has never known Ramon. The next morning, she responds to Nevax (as they sit on the bed together!) and she has no knowledge of Ramon. I’m shocked.
What actually does concern me is how sickly Nev looks. I know I said before how he looks skinnier than he used to, but now it seems like there are heavy dark circles under his eyes.
Nevax breaks the news to a stunned Ramon. Nev does his persistent, tough guy phone conversation with Not Paola (Loyda) as Ramon continues to watch the recording of Nevax and Real Paola’s video discussion.
Nevax with Ramon in tow flies to Florida to confront Not Paola (Loyda). During the car ride, Ramon says that within the past eight months of knowing Not Paola he grew to “love the girl.” I’ve noticed the use of “the” in this context used before by other Catfishees and Catfishers. I wonder if it’s used to distance themselves from the emotion attached to the person in question without completely disavowing their feelings.
Sorry, my colloquial linguistic nerd is showing.
And finally we learn that (gasp!) it’s been Loyda all along. Ramon confronts her about how she could have taken advantage of him like that, but Loyda is immediately super defensive and claims she created the fake Facebook page purely out of boredom. C’mon Loyda. He did spend over $3,000 on you thinking you were someone else.
Inside Loyda’s house, she retorts that Ramon’s shock is not completely warranted. He has seen her before and called her by her real name, Loyda. They have Skyped and FaceTimed before the show. Wait, what?
You know Max is pissed when he forgets about his unnecessary camera and drops it to question Ramon about his sincerity.
As Nevax reels from this new information, they seem perplexed and bewildered by Ramon’s supposed selective memory. Let’s be real, Ramon wanted to be on the show. Regardless of whether or not he already found out for himself that Paola was Loyda. You can tell he’s lying because he keeps licking his lips like Barty Crouch Jr.
Nev states that both Ramon and Loyda are active parts of this messed up relationship. Thinking that it’s been enough for one day, he takes Ramon aside to the car asking him why he was in this relationship in the first place. Ramon confesses that he didn’t really have a social life, and she was his only real friend. It seems lonely individuals will do a lot to make a connection, even deceive people including themselves.
The fun side trip this week is once again not so much as fun as unfunnily twee. Receiving good relationship advice from a slot machine gambler, “Cut your losses. Drop it like a hot potato,” Nevax fail at the slots but pretend to win at craps. Woo!
Sensing the obvious strangeness to Ramon and Loyda’s predicament, Nevax go back to investigation mode and study Loyda’s real Facebook page. They see a photo of an engagement ring with a note stating it is a gift from Ramon to his love Loyda. Did Ramon propose to Paola?!
No, he flatly denies it. Nev points out that with the money he sent Loyda, he technically did pay for the ring. Max notes that according to Facebook, they’re engaged. So it must be true, Max. It must be true.
Ramon and Nevax meet with Loyda again this time armed with her brother and her mother, Loyda Sr. Loyda Sr. is more delusional and stubborn than anyone else involved combined. She doesn’t accept the fact that Loyda Jr. fabricated the ring gifting and engagement.
Loyda and Ramon talk alone without the pressures of Nevax or Loyda Sr. Loyda never explicitly fesses up about the ring, but Ramon offers that although there isn’t going to be a relationship between them, he doesn’t want to lose Loyda’s friendship. He tells her she’s his best friend. She agrees to those terms but seems disappointed that their romantic relationship will no longer continue.
Months later, Ramon now plans to attend college soon and has been saving up for a car. He hasn’t stayed in touch with Loyda who apparently has a boyfriend. When asked if he’s hurt by that, he says no but still looks sad. Loyda confirms that she has a boyfriend, which she met on her real Facebook. Whether or not I buy that, she does confirm that despite being asked to, she is repaying Ramon the money he sent her. What a bizarre episode of a quiet guy who wanted to be on TV, but more profoundly, wanted a connection so badly that he accepted a delusion of his perfect girl until literally being forced to face the facts.