In this weekly series, writers — and readers — weigh in on ways to rehabilitate much-maligned characters on some of our favorite shows.
First of all, a disclaimer: I know that Max Joseph isn’t actually a fictional character. He’s a living, breathing person, one with thoughts and feelings and an inner life of his own. He probably also has a Google Alert on his name, in which case: Hi, Max!
But here’s the thing — none of that really comes across on MTV’s Catfish, where Max plays sidekick to smiley, hairy, amateur Internet sleuth Nev Schulman, the show’s true star.
Each week, Nev and Max travel across the country to help naive people in long-term Internet relationships (the catfishees) discover whether their online paramours (the potential catfish) have been telling the truth about their identities. (Spoiler alert: The answer is usually “no.”) Generally speaking, Nev is the one doing most of the heavy Googling; Max spends his time trailing after his pal, agreeing with everything Nev says, and occasionally breaking out a video camera. Barely anything Max shoots actually makes it onscreen, which makes his presence feel even more superfluous.
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