Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catfish Recap: What's in a Name? Or a Face?

So after Nev gave himself a chance to recover from the crushing disappointment of failing to form a lasting friendship between Jasmine and Mhissy last week, he decided to hit the emails again to find his next project.  He likes an email from Jarrod, a guy who was in a band after high school until he knocked up his girlfriend at age 20.  Fast forward a few years and he’s married to that girlfriend and raising a daughter when the wife decides she’s had enough and takes off.  After that, poor Jarrod gave up on dating until he met Abby online.  Abby is, of course, his beautiful dream girl.  Jarrod and Abby have never had video capability on their computers at the same time and they’ve only talked on the phone, so meeting in person would be Jarrod’s dream come true.  He lives in Georgia and Abby lives in Mississippi.  Nev immediately skypes Jarrod to make sure he’s serious and ready to sign a release to be filmed.  Jarrod can’t wait.


"Good, cause there are three cameras, an iPhone and a flipcam filming you now."

Nev feels a special connection to this case because it is eerily similar to his own.  Mostly because of the name Abby, which was the name of the “8-year-old girl” who “painted Nev’s photographs,” launching his original online debacle.

Nev and Max fly to Georgia, then once again have to drive themselves off to some podunk town where no one has anything to do but fall in love on Facebook.  Jarrod invites them into his home to see all of the instruments he plays in his band and pictures of his six-year-old daughter.

"We don't get much opera in these parts.  Not a whole lot to do..."

He tells us that he is in love with Abby.  He can’t leave the area because he’s not allowed to take his daughter with him, but luckily Abby has said she is willing to move to the middle of nowhere to be with Jarrod.  What she’s NOT willing to do is skype.  I haven’t caught yet how long they’ve been talking, but Jarrod says that Abby was coming to visit him once, but on the day of the visit she told him something came up with her family and she HAD to go to Mississippi, so it all fell through.  Here’s a picture of Abby:

"I have the hardest time finding dates."

Why do YOU think she cancelled the visit and can’t skype?  Jarrod gets all emotional, saying that girls always put him in the Friend Zone and he’s always been on the sidelines watching all the other couples go by (except, I might point out, for that interlude when he was MARRIED), and he wants it to be his turn.  You’ve had a turn, Jarrod.  You want another turn.  Some people never even get one - I’m just saying.  Nev is quick to point out that no matter what, Jarrod has a very deep connection with the girl he’s been chatting with.  That’s right and it would be very shallow of Jarrod to care at this point if Abby has been using fake pictures, right?  Nev and Max head out, talking about how head over heels Jarrod is.

At a cafe the guys pull up Abby’s Facebook page and notice a guy named Abbott who has posted on her wall.  They message Abbott and he is conveniently readily available and willing to talk about Abby.  He says that he’s sure he’s skyped with her, even though he can’t remember when, and she’s definitely the girl in the pictures.  But remember last week when Mhissy pretended to be not only Mike, but also Mike’s friends?  Yeah.  So they call Abby next.  I never answer calls from unknown numbers but everybody on this show does.  Then they spill their guts to the unknown number.  Like now - Abby tells the guys that she likes Jarrod a lot and looks forward to his calls.  When Nev asks if she’d like to meet him in person, she hesitates, then says, “Yeah.”  Wow, she sounds the opposite of excited.  They hang up and Max goes, “She sounds like a girl who talks to guys on Facebook.”  Ha!  Nev is convinced that her voice matches the Abby pictures.  Whatever THAT means.  Cute voice I guess?

"Her picture is cute AND her voice is cute.  She MUST be the real thing."

And now for the dreaded Google image search.  Sure enough, the Facebook page of a girl named Shana comes up with Abby’s picture.  Shana lives in Ohio.  The guys - as always - speculate that perhaps someone has stolen Abby’s pictures and created a false profile under the name Shana.  RIGHT.  The person who engages in Facebook romances, refuses to skype and has sudden emergencies come up whenever it’s time to meet in person is the one who’s had her identity borrowed. 

The next day the guys join Jarrod at band practice to give him the news of their Google search.  We’re treated to a moment of Jarrod’s band playing while Jarrod screams into a microphone.

Well... he got on MTV.

Jarrod’s situation is so not appealing.  He has a little girl, for heaven’s sake, and he’s still living his teenage dream of being in a band with his buddies.  Not promising.  There are a couple of girls hanging around watching band practice and Nev wants to ask them a few questions since they are friends with Jarrod.  They all sit around on a porch swatting flies and the girls say that Abby bugs them because she talks a big game about meeting up in person but then always backs out.  One of them says Abby has a “petite” voice.  LOL. 

Nev and Max take Jarrod to a restaurant to show him the second Facebook page in private.  You can tell that Jarrod immediately knows the score.  He’s not trying to explain things away, saying maybe Shana stole Abby’s pictures.  Even when Nev suggests that, Jarrod just sits there with his hand over his mouth.  He is super disappointed.  Nev keeps going, saying there are SO many possibilities as to what this could mean.  Shut up, Nev - the jig is obviously up.

Nev:  "Maybe they were twins separated at birth.  Have you seen The Parent Trap?"

Jarrod says he should have known it would turn out to be something like this.  But he decides he still wants to meet Abby, whoever she is.  Nev calls Abby, asking if they can come to Mississippi to meet her tomorrow and Abby is all weird, saying she’s not sure what she’s got going on tomorrow.  Nev tells her to clear her schedule because Jarrod’s really sweet and they’re not messing around here.  She finally agrees.

On the road trip to Mississippi Jarrod talks to Nev about how much he really loves Abby.  Not just the idea of Abby, but her.  And if she’s not who she says she is that will suck, but if her personality is the same, Jarrod will be happy with that.  He’s saying things like the timing is right and everything feels right.  So I guess he’s hoping that as long as Abby is not a total invention, he wants to keep his relationship with her.  Hmm, we’ll see if he sticks to that.

They arrive at a little house and have to go through a gate into a backyard where there are more little houses.  I swear, these people always live in Sketchville.   Remember “Jamison?”  They knock on the door of what looks like a tool shed.

Hopefully it's at least waterproof.

No one answers.  They wander toward the back of the tool shed where there is a small patio and another door.  A girl comes out of the door.  Here she is:

"I KNOW you were expecting something different."

She says, “It is what it is, I suppose.  I mean I know I’m not Barbie or anything like that, you know.”  She says she has a lot of explaining to do and starts by introducing herself as Melissa.  It quickly becomes clear that Melissa is one of those people who chatters to fill an awkward silence, which Jarrod is hanging in the middle of.  Melissa goes on, “I guess you know me, just not ME, you know what I mean? All the emotions, just a different face I suppose...”  she finally trails off and Jarrod offers her NO help, so Nev finally asks why she has a fake profile.  Melissa says that she’s always suffered from self-esteem issues.  In fact, she used to cut herself.  Oh great.  Now if Jarrod rejects her because of her looks he will be responsible for her impending suicide.  Anyway, she made the fake profile so that she could feel better about herself.  How does getting people to respond to someone else’s picture make one feel better about oneself?  Nev takes Jarrod aside and reminds him of everything he said on the car ride down.  Jarrod just says, “Yeah,” and sits down on the ground.  He says he’s trying to make sense of everything.  Melissa is insisting that she was completely herself - except for the name and the picture.  She has her own legitimate profile, but the guys on her “Abby” profile wouldn’t be friends with her if they saw her actual picture.  She says all this in a series of awkward, stammering repetitive spurts.  Jarrod is all confused and Nev says he needs some time to think about everything.  Jarrod staggers away like he’s just been hit in the head.  Very awkward.

Back at the hotel, Jarrod is actually very magnanimous, saying he understands what it’s like to wish you could change who you are, even for a day.  Max points out that Melissa could have told him the truth at any time, but chose not to.  Nev asks Jarrod if he’s going to miss Abby, then makes a big ceremony out of filming Jarrod “unfriending” Abby on Facebook.  How melodramatic. Right before Jarrod clicks, Nev goes, “You sure?”  No Nev.  Jarrod should totally stay friends with Abby now that he knows she doesn’t exist. 

The next morning Nev calls Melissa to ask if they can all spend the day together.  She says yes and we see pictures from her real Facebook profile.  She’s 19.  The guys head back to the tool shed where Melissa emerges with her cousin Lindsay, who looks like her identical twin.

So The Parent Trap theory could still be relevant...

Nev takes Lindsay aside, leaving Melissa and Jarrod to talk.  Melissa barely takes a breath while she yammers on about how nervous she’s been and she’s afraid she’s ruined everything.  Jarrod just smokes and says, “yeah,” once in a while.  Lindsay tells Nev how funny and caring Melissa is and that she created the profile to improve her self-esteem.  Okay, pretending to be someone else can’t actually improve your self-esteem.  It might improve your acting skills, but acting doesn’t make you feel better about being you.  Lindsay says that having a fake profile seems like a lot to worry about on a daily basis.  Seriously.  Don’t these people have jobs?  Come to think of it, it’s been unclear whether ANY of the fakers have had actual jobs (I mean besides being models and producers).  And a couple of them HAVE been nearly homeless. 

Let’s go to the beach!  The ocean is very calming and will certainly help to clear things up.  Melissa sits with Nev and assures him that her fake profile days are over and it’s time to grow up.  She doesn’t know if Jarrod will ever forgive her.

Nev:  "The important thing is that you were yourself on the phone."

Jarrod finally mentions that they’ve been talking for a year and half, and he feels like the person he’s known during that time died last night.  Melissa promises that she meant everything she ever said to Jarrod and feels terrible about deceiving him.  Jarrod says that he fell for Abby because of Melissa’s personality and he doesn’t want to lose their friendship now.  Friendship?  I thought he was so in love, regardless of appearances.  They decide to start over by being Facebook friends again - for reals this time.  Nev is OVERJOYED and gets to snap his BFF photo.


Jarrod looks like he's in physical pain.

A month later Jarrod has grown a beard and put his romantic pursuits on hold to focus on his music.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! His music!  Oh, his poor daughter.  He still talks to Melissa every day.  And as for Melissa, she’s deactivated the “Abby” profile and also lost 15 pounds.  Of course she has - she met Nev, didn’t she?  It sounds like they’re planning to meet up again soon, so Nev’s work here is done.  No appearance from Shana - the actual girl from the Abby pictures.  Thanks for nothing, Nev.

Well, Jarrod actually seems like a pretty nice guy.  Many guys would have taken off screaming when they found out that the little blonde pixie was actually... well, Melissa.  Melissa seems very young and very nervous.  I guess it’s nice that they can stay friends.  I mean, what else have they got?

How did you guys like this week’s adventure?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

1 comment:

Jack Spicer said...

Some of these Catfish victims seem like genuinely nice people. Some of that could be an act for the cameras, but I think a lot of them are able to have empathy for the people who catfished them because they have similar challenges or struggles in life. They can understand the impulse to lie, even if they haven't done it themselves.