Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catfish Recap: Amanda Hugginkiss

Nev starts this week off by telling us that June 25 is National Catfish Day, as declared by Ronald Reagan.  Well, I’m sure he would have thought twice if he could have foreseen what you’ve created here, Nev.  It’s an embarrassment to humankind. Anyway, Nev’s current project is Tyler who has been in love with Amanda on Facebook for two years.  Two years!  Amanda is just not like the girls Tyler meets in Flint, Michigan where he lives.  She lives a few hours away in Kalamazoo, so of course she’s totally different.  But she doesn’t have a cell phone and her webcam is always out of the question for some reason or another so ALL communication - for two years! - has taken place on Facebook.  Can Nev help end the madness? 

Nev and Max skype Tyler and agree to come to Michigan to help him hunt down Amanda.  I guess driving to Kalamazoo all on his own hasn’t been in Tyler’s realm of possibilities.  When they hang up they both comment that Tyler is remarkably normal.  He’s good looking, athletic, and probably meets girls all the time.  They decide that there’s something alluring about the on-line girl.  Yes, it’s called a fantasy.  She’s anything you can dream up in your mind as long as she’s off in Facebook Land.

She doesn't talk or get her period either.

It looks like Tyler lives the farthest out in the boondocks of any of our e-daters so far because Nev and Max have to stay in a cabin at a KOA campground.  Are there no motels in Flint?  Is it the land that God forgot?  Not a big tourist destination I guess.  Tyler shows the guys around his backyard and they want to know why Tyler isn’t dating any of the cute girls from Flint they saw on his Facebook page.  Tyler says they’re too immature and play head games.  Nev points out that two years of refusing to even talk on the phone is a head game in itself.  Tyler just says that as long as there’s a chance Amanda is the real thing he wants to find out.  So they check out Amanda and Tyler’s Facebook interactions, noting a particular exchange where Amanda expresses her desire to put certain parts of Tyler’s body in her mouth.  Tyler admits to sending her risque photos.  Hmm, embarrassing.

"Yeah, I just don't think someone would lie about fellatio."

As for Amanda’s lack of cell phone, it seems that when she moved away for college, she and her dad were on bad terms so he refused to continue paying for her phone and she can’t afford one herself. Riiiiiight.   8-year-olds have cell phones nowadays.  Come on. 

The next day, after a relaxing evening in the cabin, Nev and Max head over to go fishing with Tyler and some of his buddies.  They fish in a small pond where Nev catches the equivalent of a goldfish and Tyler and crew pull out some pretty big fish.  One is even a catfish - imagine that!

"Now we can cancel the photo shoot for the Season 2 poster."

Tyler waxes sentimental about what good friends he has and the friends tell Nev what a good guy Tyler is and how he deserves someone who appreciates that.  They think the whole internet girlfriend thing is weird, especially her total lack of a phone.  And they talk about what a hard time they’ll give Tyler if Amanda turns out to be a guy.  Amanda Hug ‘n Kiss. 

Nev and Max manage to find a coffee shop with wifi in this town with no hotels and they proceed to do their intense research rituals on Amanda.  They pull up her Facebook page to see what’s going on and here is a recent post she put up:  “Why can’t sex be like it is in the movies?  Music in the background, guy with abs and one that really cares?”  Okay what kind of post is THAT?  It’s an obvious invitation for guys to answer her advertising how sexy and romantic they are and how GREAT and movie-like sex would be with them.  There is NO other reason to post something like that.  Max, of course, quickly points this out.  They notice that none of the responses to that post seem to come from people who actually know Amanda.  They message a few of the guys talking to her to see if they can get any info.  One named Mikhail calls them and says he met Amanda on Facebook, they’ve never talked on the phone, and they exchange messages of a sexual nature.  Then a guy named Brendon calls with an identical story.  Facebook, no phone, sexual chatting.  So obviously this girl is using Facebook as her ego stroking playground.

Nev Schulman, P.I., pulls out all the stops.

Time for the almighty Google Image Search!  And Amanda’s pictures match up with a MySpace profile of a girl named Trina (not The Natural).  It’s funny how MySpace was this free-for-all for everyone to sort of flaunt themselves.  Pictures like “Amanda’s,” with bikinis, underwear or whatever were everywhere.  It was like a virtual escort catalogue. I guess since Facebook is so minimal it’s hard to do the whole porn-model-profile page.  You’d have to spend a lot more time hunting people down to pay attention to your nudie pics.  Anyway the guys brilliantly conclude that Amanda is not the girl in the pictures.  Duh. 

So Nev and Max go back to Tyler’s the next day to tell him about the MySpace profile with all of the same pictures as Amanda’s Facebook profile.  Tyler says he feels betrayed but he still wants to find out who he’s been talking to all this time.  So Nev and Max head back to the cabin to send Amanda a message - don’t forget, she has no phone.  Amanda answers that she’s not sure about all this, although she DOES want to meet Tyler because he’s her favorite person to talk to.  Oh yes, I’m sure she’s never said THAT to anyone before.  She keeps saying that she doesn’t want to let Tyler down.  By meeting him?  Okay CLEARLY this person is nowhere near the person in the pictures.

Don't miss one exciting second of Nev typing, Max.

She says she feels like she’s always letting guys down.  Sounds to me more like she NEVER lets guys down because she never meets them.  Eventually Nev convinces her to agree to meet up.  And magically she’s “at a friend’s” MUCH closer to Flint than anyone thought!  Let’s go!

On the way to Amanda’s Tyler speculates that maybe she is some super sexy farmer’s daughter.  Oh yes, I’m sure THAT’s what she’s worried will disappoint you there, Tyler.  Super sexy people don’t just randomly choose OTHER super sexy people’s pictures to use in place of their own.  Let’s think, shall we?

"As long as she's a 7 or 8... well an 8.  That's still fine."

Finally Tyler decides that as long as Amanda turns out to be a cool chick - even not the chick in the pictures - he’ll be happy.  I’ve heard THAT one before too.  Everything is fine and dandy until the girl weighs 300 pounds.  Then suddenly “cool chick” doesn’t cut it anymore. 

Well, the house looks normal, but obviously no one will come to the front door.  I don’t think that’s EVER happened on this show.  And sure enough, someone comes walking up behind them from out of the garage.  Meet Amanda...

Tyler:  "You still got those pictures of my junk?"

Amanda is actually Aaron.  He says, “I’m Aaron.  Also known as Amanda Miller and I do owe you an apology.  I’m sorry.”  Tyler stays upbeat and just says, “Okay,” and introduces himself.  As they begin talking Tyler says he’s kind of shocked and Aaron goes, “Really?”  HA HA HA!  Um, yes Aaron, really.  He’s shocked that you’re not the white blonde GIRL whose picture you’ve been hiding behind.  Aaron admits that he’s talked to over 100 guys as Amanda, but that there’s not so many lately because he did really start liking Tyler.  Somehow this doesn’t seem to make Tyler feel any better.

"So there are hundreds more out there like me?"

In fact, when Aaron was going to school in Kalamazoo, he struck up an online relationship as Amanda with his R.A.  The R.A. figured out what was going on and Aaron got in big trouble and got kicked out of school.  Whoa, that seems a bit drastic - kicked out of school?? But what do I know about college campus cyber dating rules?  Aaron goes on to say that it’s easier to get the attention of straight guys when he’s posing as a woman.  Yes, because they’re STRAIGHT.  He says he’d rather not be gay, but what are you going to do?  He’d like to remain friends with Tyler, but Tyler seems hesitant.  Nev decides it’s time to leave and let everything settle in.  Back in the car Tyler frets that his friends will never let him live this down.

Back at the cabin Nev and Max get onto Aaron’s Twitter - the REAL Aaron.  He’s been waxing poetic about meeting someone today he’s loved talking to and about how he’s been two people but now he’s becoming one.  He has also tweeted these lists that look like they’re written in crayon on lined paper.  They’re about what he wants in life and what he promises his future husband.


Why do people tweet stuff like this?  Why do they so desperately want other people to read these things and comment on them?  I don’t get this. 

The next day they go back over to Tyler’s and Tyler has “unfriended” Amanda.  Well yes, I would think so since Amanda doesn’t exist.  They want to go back over to Aaron’s and they want Tyler to come.  He hesitates, but then agrees.  When they arrive Aaron is flanked by two girls who went to high school with him.

"Aaron taught us how to tweeze our eyebrows."

He introduces the guys as they come in, saying that Max is the cutest.  Ha!  The girls talk about Aaron’s online habits, saying they know he’s harmless and doesn’t mean to be hurting anyone with these fake profiles.  Tyler interrupts, saying this isn’t like exaggerating how well you played in a high school football game; this is messing with other people’s lives.  And he doesn’t appreciate Aaron just acting like it’s a joke.  Aaron says he hasn’t messed up anyone’s life, but Tyler reminds him that he messed up his own when he got kicked out of school.  Oh yeah, that.  Aaron’s girlfriends are shocked to hear this.  They wonder why he wouldn’t have told them about getting kicked out of school since they’ve always been there for him.  Nev decides it’s time for a one-on-one with Aaron.

"It's not like that was the only school in the world or anything."

In alone time, Aaron says he needs to start making things right after deceiving so many people.  But sometimes he wishes he didn’t have his family because they are what is holding him back from moving to a big city where he could just be himself instead of hiding behind fake Facebook profiles.  Nev says he needs to like himself first.  And that he definitely has a voice.  Oh geez, does he mean the voice of Amanda?  Why are Nev and Max always trying to find the hidden genius inside the sociopath?  Can’t people just be REAL?  It’s not easy for anyone, but that doesn’t mean you get to jerk everyone around with you.  Plus, if Aaron’s so comfortable on the interwebs, why not try an environment where guys want to meet other guys?  What’s with trying to dupe straight guys into liking him?  You don’t have to move to a large city anymore to connect with people like yourself.  Is this really that big of a mystery?

Aaron goes back to talk to Tyler some more and Tyler says that it seems like Aaron is perfectly happy to live this way - deceiving other people.  All he can gather is that Aaron is a compulsive, pathological liar and he doesn’t have any room in his life for someone like that.  What?  No BFF photo then?  Aaron says he’s not sure why he did all this, but he is sure that he’s going to stop.  And having a nice person like Tyler in his life would help him, but he understands if Tyler doesn’t want to be friends.  But he’s really, really sorry.  Tyler says he accepts the apology and he wishes Aaron well.

They go outside where Nev and Max are hanging with Aaron’s girlfriends and Max gets all distracted filming a turtle.  Everyone seems to part on civil terms.  No photo. 

When Tyler gets home he tells his friends about Aaron, but he’s nice about it, saying that Aaron’s had a tough life and did this to fill some emptiness.  His friends seem like decent guys and just nod somberly.  Who knows what they’ll say when the cameras are off? 

A month later Tyler is going to college, not dating anyone in particular, and definitely not dating anyone online.  Aaron has miraculously managed to move to New York City where he no longer feels like he needs to pretend to be a girl on the internet.  He and Tyler have not spoken.  Nev is proud that Aaron has been able to take charge of things.  It’s all because of you, Nev.  All because of you. 

I’m kind of indifferent about these two.  It’s hard to sympathize because Tyler was willfully ignorant and Aaron was willfully hurtful.  But neither of them seemed like total creeps, so whatever I guess.  Live and learn.  What did you guys think?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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