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.
You can’t start the episode heavy breathing and shouting “Go lower, c’mon!” in the classic nondescript hotel room and not make me think certain things are going on. You just can’t.
This week’s story follows Jennifer, a sweet 18-year-old Iowan, who met 22-year-old San Francisco State student Skylar Hazen on an online game/social network. They talk and text on the phone often, but Skylar continues to find excuses to avoid video chat. Right off the bat, Max has doubts and questions, “He’s in school for computer tech, and he won’t video chat with her?”
Let’s be real — Skylar Hazen sounds like a fake name. Early prognosis for this week’s case does not sound promising, but Jennifer’s expectations seem rational. She knows she really likes Skylar but is cautious to explore any deeper feelings without knowing more about him. Her story seems more realistic and relatable than others, which heightens the stakes even more.
But wait a second, Nevax. Don’t say “Wow!” when she states she’s been online since the age of 10. Most millennials (ugh I know I hate that term too) have been online since they were kids.
After flying in such a tiny plane (Oh no!), Nevax arrive at their not-so-nondescript historical hotel — that also happens to be haunted. Spin-off Catfish show idea: Max and his cameras connect lovelorn real people with their ghost companions. I’d watch the hell out of that show.
Nevax checks up with Jennifer in person. I normally like the Catfishee, but I really like Jen — as does Nevax. Jen is a kind, pretty high school senior who wants to clear up the murkiness of her pseudo-relationship before heading off to college. In middle school, Jennifer was bullied, so she embraced online communities and games for connection and friendship.
Unnecessary cameras? Check. Snacks? Check. Max touching himself? Check. It must be investigation time.
Nevax reverse searches Skylar’s phone number (since that worked out so well for Lauren) and come up with — not much. It’s nevertheless a good sign that the number can be traced to Martinez, CA located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But when Nevax attempts to confirm his attendance at the university, the administrator states there is no student by that name at San Fran State.
Moving the search to MyLife — a service I’m quite irrationally afraid of — Nevax does discover a Skylar Hazen profile. Born in 1994 (Oh my, I’m not getting any younger!), Skylar is 19 years old, an online gamer, a Nebraskan, and boyfriend to another girl.
Nevax reaches out to this Skylar Hazen’s friend, King Sleepy a.k.a. Austin (whom I will henceforth solely refer to as the King of Sleep) and hope he can shed light on the Hazen situation. See what I did there?
“There’s only one Skylar Hazen in the entire world!” declares Max. So this must be him, right?
The next morning, King of Sleep of House Siesta responds to Nev’s message, willing to talk. He confirms that he knows Skylar, and, yes, his friend does indeed have a girlfriend. Interestingly, Skylar met his girlfriend through an online game.
Most likely tipped off by his Lord Protector the King of Sleep, Skylar reaches out to Nev, willing to talk. This is the first time in Catfish history that the suspected Catfisher has reached out to Nevax during investigation time! It has, after all, been a long, varied history for Catfish: The TV show.
Speaking to Nev over the phone, Skylar has does not seem to have heard of Nehv or even Jen. He does have a girlfriend but once again flatly denies having any online friends named Jen. So, it’s not Nebraska Skylar? I’m still not buying it.
Nevax regroups with Jen at her house and also meets her parents, Jeff and Jana. They say Jen has always been a good kid, which is obvious since Jen is a gem.
(Side note: Jeff, Jana, and Jen are super fun family names. It’s a perfect use of “J” first names without going Duggar overboard.)
Nevax goes through the results, or lack thereof, with Jen. She’s confused and so am I. Honey, if we understood why people lie then the world would be a much better place.
And so, Nev plays his last card and calls Skylar directly.
Nev gives it to Skylar straight — he wants answers for Jen and intends to set up a meeting. Unfortunately, Skylar is cagey, stating that he is too busy due to finals.
While he promises to think about Nev’s offer and call back, the most troubling moment of the phone call was the hesitant pause he made before confirming that he is in fact Skylar.
To be fair, finals week is a very hectic, stressful time. But if I can take time out of my finals schedule to go to the midnight premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness, then I think someone can spare a few hours to meet someone they claim to like.
The next morning, Nev hasn’t heard back from Skylar. What does Skylar want? Does he care about Jen? More importantly, who the hell is he? So many questions, not enough answers. Being the proactive person he is, Nev calls Skylar again.
This time Skylar is more — but not much more receptive — to the idea of meeting Jen. In the end, a plan is set, and Jen and Nevax head to San Francisco.
As Nev and Jen rush to make the flight on time, Max records himself running in the airport. Really Max? I know I shouldn’t be surprised by your antics anymore, but sometimes I’m dazzled by your charm. This stuff swiftly snaps me out of it.
Nevax and Jen thankfully make the flight to San Fran. The next day, they head to Skylar’s house to finally meet him face-to-face. Jen is understandably nervous about meeting Skylar, especially since most of the questions regarding his identity remain unanswered.
How much do you want to bet it’s Nebraska Skylar Hazen, liege lord of the King of Sleep?
I would’ve lost that bet. It’s not 19-year-old Nebraska Skylar but 20-something-year-old Bryan. Bryan is not interested in Jen and doesn’t seem to really care that she journeyed from Iowa to California to meet him.
Nev retorts, “Then why the f— are we here?” Nevax is pissed. Jennifer is a gem, as usual, calmly taking in the truth from Bryan. Jen isn’t the only girl he’s talked to after meeting online. But he wanted to use this chance to reveal himself and end his Skylar scheme.
Dumbfounded, Nevax asks Bryan why the need for all of the deceit. Bryan says he wanted to “brush up his game.” It’s not that big of a deal since he was “giving her a gift of being in the relationship.”
Who does this guy think he is, Mystery? (This is my second The Pick-Up Artist reference this week and I’m not sorry.)
In this week’s mid-commercial clip, Max illustrates why he sticks to catching videos on his camera and not baseballs in a mitt.
Max tells Bryan he’s living a “shallow, miserable existence and people are going to think you’re a douche bag.” Jen, representing all of the people Bryan has deceived, questions why he needed to waste their time instead of confessing right away. Nev basically mutters “What the f—?” throughout the entire confrontation process.
Nothing seems to get through to Bryan. He shrugs, darts his eyes, and spews half-apologies and excuses.
I can’t with Bryan. I just can’t. And, apparently, no one else can either for Nevax and Jen soon leave.
Nevax talks to Bryan the next day in search of answers or, at the very least, remorse. Bryan starts to explain his actions with “Certainly I’m not cold-hearted, but,” which is never a good sign.
However, it soon becomes clear. Having been spurned and led on by a girl in the past, he realized he could practice his “game” online without fear of being hurt again. Instead, he would be the one in control and could discard connections at any time with virtually no ramifications. I’m not so sure what “being physically led on” means, but it sure sounds like Bryan is a “Nice Guy.” Ironically not in fact a nice guy, a Nice Guy is someone who believes he is kind and respectful to females but is then shocked and infuriated when he is not considered as a romantic or sexual partner by said females. How dare you not want to be with him?! Those revealing clothes were “physically” leading him on! He deserves to be loved!
Nev takes in Bryan’s “explanation,” stressing that he hopes he learns from this experience. But Max is firmer with him, asserting, “Do not contact Jennifer ever again.” Oh my God, I like this protective Max. The charm is back, Max. The charm is back.
Since they traveled all the way to Northern California, Nevax decides to explore and enjoy San Francisco with Jen. Ever the optimist, Jen says this week is the first week she’s felt comfortable about herself. I hope college goes well for her. She seems like the type of girl who will flourish when surrounded by like-minded, more mature peers in a college setting rather than confines of high school. Rooting for you, Jen!
Two months later, Bryan is still a cagey Nice Guy who I don’t trust has actually learned anything from this experience. Jen the gem is in great spirits, looks forward to college in the fall, and continues her involvement with her game community. Online communities can be great when approached with caution and care. Am I right, commenters?