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.
There is no denying Catfish doesn’t understand its target audience. Case in point, the episode starts off with Nev, unable to control his desire to touch Max’s hair (that barber shop really did wonders for their relationship), fondles his friend’s silvery follicles, telling him to get some “flame.” There’s more than one thing flaming about this moment, or maybe I’m being too fan fiction-y.
Still taking advantage of last week’s nondescript hotel suite upgrade (sitting area!), Nevax reads an email from Keyonnah. She is 19 years old from a small town in North Carolina. She states she is in an “online turned very passionate relationship with someone who appears to be the rapper Bow Wow.” Let’s stop right here. We know where this is all heading. There’s no way that this guy is going to actually be Bow Wow. Absolutely, no way, despite what Nevax hypothesizes. It’s only a matter of whether this is an extra absurd episode or an extra absurd episode. (You know it’s extra absurd when Max sets his camera down to laugh.)
According to Keyonnah, Bow Wow is the host of 106 & Park and lives in New York City. According to Wikipedia, Bow Wow lives in Atlanta. According to common sense, no one in their right mind would believe this. She seems like a kind-hearted person, but honey, oh honey, no. If I commented on a Max Joseph fan page and received a notification from someone claiming to be him, I’d be giddily excited for two minutes before realizing it’s bulls—t and never go to that page again.
The reason Keyoonah does believe that Bow Wow is who he says is largely due to the fact that he’s sent her over $10,000 to her in the four months they’ve known each other.
ooVoo makes its second appearance as Nevax video chats with Keyoonah. Although a bit skeptical, she hopes it is Bow Wow. (She’s at 60% in terms of how much she believes it is him.) She wonders aloud, “Who in their right mind would send this amount of money, and they haven’t seen me?” That’s a great question.
Another great question would be: Who in their right mind would believe they are in an online relationship with a celebrity without video proof? I mean, Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) sent videos to his online pal, verifying that it was really him — even if it turned out that he was the one being Catfished.
Are Nev and Max always late for their flights? Is it because of their penchant for airport shenanigans? This flight seems more or less tomfoolery free, although they were still delayed as Nev pulled a rookie mistake in wearing hipster tie-up boots through security.
Anyway, Keyoonah explains that the money Bow Wow gifted her was sent by his assistant Larry Brown. She saved most of the money and used the rest to help with her family members’ bills as well as her daughter’s daycare. It may be skeevy to take money from someone you don’t know, but if you’re going to do it, then you should do as Keyoonah did and use it wisely.
The “detectives” Nev and Max start their preliminary investigation with Keyoonah, who pulls up a personal Facebook page for Shad Moss (Bow-Wow). However, this is not the page she originally contacted. That fan page has subsequently been deleted, which isn’t shady at all. All Nevax can then work on is the phone number Keyoonah uses to get in touch with him. I smell a Reverse Search coming!
Investigation Time begins with Nev wrongly labeling gelato as ice cream to then order sorbet as Portuguese-speaking Max ably flirts with the Brazilian employee better than the non-Portuguese-speaking Nev. After finishing their gelato and sorbet (yawn), the dynamic duo research Bow Wow’s background. Already, Wikipedia and a random news article prove more reputable than any of Keyoonah’s information. In the article, Bow Wow mentions that he Skypes with his daughter. Even if he just really hates ooVoo (like me), he still has the capability of video chatting with Keyoonah if in fact it is really him. (It becomes even more obvious by the second that it is not him.)
Using the only real lead, Nevax reverse searches the number to find it is registered to Renee W. from North Carolina. What did we learn from last episode?! The area code is indicative of the location of the caller! Keyoonah never realized that the 919 area code on Bow Wow’s number is a North Carolina area code?! Why aren’t Nev and Max freaking out about this?!
Nevax finds Renee’s Facebook, showing her to be a middle-aged woman. She has a son, Maurice, who like Bow Wow, has a daughter. Despite this, Nevax doesn’t think this is the Catfisher.
Nev reaches out to Sandra of MTV Media Relations to ask if she has any information about Bow Wow. (Why didn’t they just reach out to Bow Wow’s team? I’m sure the production staff did, but maybe that’s too legitimate for on-the-cuff, Internet private eyes Schulman and Joseph.) She has worked with him professionally, but she doesn’t know anything about him personally. She does, however, know that his assistant is most definitely not “Larry Brown.” That’s enough for me to know that Bow Wow is not being truthful about his identity. What was also enough for me was the fact that some random person claims to be Bow Wow and refuses to do anything to prove it!
Nevax presents Keyoonah with the findings including the profiles for Renee and Maurice, who she doesn’t recognize. (Yeah, no we figured that already.) Despite not knowing who exactly the Catfisher is just yet, Nev is 99% sure it is not Bow Wow. Keyoonah is crestfallen; she starts to accept the fact that she was deceived. Nev reminds her and the audience that this happened to him, too. Oh, Catfish — how you catch all walks of life in your feigned promises of virtual love.
All that’s left to do is call Bow Wow’s number. The call goes to voicemail, but Bow Wow responds via text. He’s “very busy filming the show,” so he can’t talk to Nev. Ugh. Nev presses harder, admitting that Keyoonah knows he is not really Bow Wow. He writes back, “You’re right, I’m not Bow Wow. I’m Shad Moss.” Double ugh.
The next morning Nev gets a text from “Shad.” Still maintaining the guise of Bow Wow, he writes that he is in Atlanta and wants to meet with Keyoonah. He’ll only be there one night, so the window of opportunity is small. Because it’s a great lead — and MTV is super cheap — Nevax and Keyoonah drive 10 hours from North Carolina to Atlanta to meet “Shad.” He does after all live in Atlanta, as per the always accurate information of Wikipedia. Could it really be him?!
Nevax and Keyoonah arrive at Bow Wow’s “cousin’s house,” where he told Keyoonah to meet him. It’s the moment of truth: Nev knocks on the door and it’s…Bow Wow!
Wait, it cannot be! OMG! It’s a little boy! It’s an underage guy who has convinced this 19-year-old woman she is in an online relationship with a twenty-something music and TV personality! Catfish has discovered a new degree of scandal!
Oh wait. The Catfisher is not an underage boy. He’s not even a he or underage. “Bow Wow” is actually a 23-year-old woman named Dee; her stage name is Dee Pimpin’. She claims that she never lied about her feelings towards Keyoonah and hopes to move forward from the situation.
Dee explains that she created the fan page specifically to meet girls, stating that “she likes a challenge.” She seems angry at Keyoonah, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to accept the fact that she’s a female. I can understand hurt feelings for someone not liking you in the way you hoped, but what high horse did she get off on to be pissed with someone she has so blatantly deceived? Be whoever you want to be but deceiving people is not okay. It seems like she is actively deceiving people just because she can.
Keyoonah is floored that Bow Wow is actually Dee. I didn’t think this show would reference a lambskin dildo, either, so we’re all learning truths we didn’t think we would this episode.
Unconvinced that Dee can afford to provide Keyoonah with over $10,000 from rap gigs alone, Nevax conducts an impromptu investigation into “Dee Pimpin’.” Nothing comes up in the search results. Great, more lies.
Nevax and Keyoonah return to Dee’s cousin’s house to sit down and discuss more in depth. Dee’s cousin, Fred, is also present, and he admits to being the voice Keyoonah spoke to on the phone. Dee, still cagey on her musical ventures, eventually confesses that she borrowed the money from family, friends, and other women (!) — with no expectation that she would ever pay them back. I admire Dee’s confidence, but I can’t believe how selfish she is.
One month later, Keyoonah has cut off communication with Dee and hopes to go back to school. Dee now has a job and is saving to pay back her friends and family. She still hopes to be in contact with Keyoonah, but so far, she hasn’t been successful. Hope Dee has learned from the experience and won’t continue to be as self-serving.
And here’s hoping Nevax surprises Keyonnah with a special appearance from Bow Wow during the reunion episode…or on 106 & Park.