MTV’s greatest and most heartbreaking internet connection series, Catfish, is back. The show, which is in Season 8B, chronicles individuals who get duped by their online friends, family, or potential love interests. How this keeps happening in a digital world with a show that’s been around for nearly a decade is beyond many people’s comprehension. But, hosts Nev Schulman and Kev Crawford continue to shine a light on this sick world.
Shadow and Act spoke to Schulman and Crawford about navigating the catfishing world in a pandemic. They also give warning signs to viewers of what to look out for in case they are a victim of the sick plot.
Last season it was you guys' first foray into this whole new world of catfishing in a COVID world. We’re still in the middle of it. How has it been filming from season 8D to 8E now that you have some experience in this COVID world?
Kamie Crawford: It’s totally different now for us because we’re literally on the road again, and it’s a great feeling, but then at the same time, you know, it’s a lot of moving parts, but it’s so much fun. And I think people who really love the virtual episodes, everyone I think really was rocking with the virtual episodes. But then everyone was like, ‘What are they going to get back on the road?’ So finally, we’re able to give people what they’ve been looking for and still keep it very, very exciting. So I think that that’s what’s different is that you get to see us doing our thing again. You get to see Nev knocking on doors and windows again, which he shouldn’t. But you know, people love it so and something that’s never going to stop.
Last season, we saw the new excuses that people came up with due to COVID. Now that the world is opening back up, what has your experience been like as far as some of the excuses that you guys can tease or some of the crazy stories that you guys can tease that have necessarily taken the cake for you?
KC: Oh my GGod. There’s so many different excuses that people give. Obviously, having the pandemic has helped with a lot of people who are trying to maintain their double lives. People will say that they’re caring for their immunocompromised relative and maybe that’s not true, but like, who are you to negate that? That is somebody’s reality when you’re talking to somebody online during a pandemic? It’s just there are so many different excuses and things that people give. I try to think of what’s the craziest excuse that we’ve heard recently? I don’t know. They’re all pretty insane. Sometimes you’re like, ‘OK, this is semi-understandable.’ But we have people who say that they live in three different states and they’re like, ‘Oh, I have to hop from state to state every time.’
Nev Schulman: I think for me, weirdly like it’s always the people who just say, ‘Oh, I, I’m too anxious to.’ And I because on one hand, I think that seems like a very reasonable excuse and understandable. But at the same time, you’re saying that you’re not willing to FaceTime, but you’re the one who initiated this relationship, you’re the one who’s sending pictures of a person that’s clearly comfortable in front of a camera posing who has social media like there’s just the subtle but like enormous contradiction of that excuse to me is always strangely like the hardest to believe.
Yeah, we spoke about that last season where we live in a virtual world so the idea of not FaceTiming or hopping on a Zoom call to talk to someone you’re interested in is a red flag. What are some of the newer red flags that you guys can say that you would have your guests look out for any viewers to look out for now?
NS: That’s a good one. It’s hard to say because I would say like for the people who are like, ‘Oh, I can’t meet up because it’s a pandemic.’ People were going out more, but now you got the Omarion variant and there’s a new variant every week. So like now it’s understandable again why people would be freaked out about going out because of COVID. But even going back to the whole, ‘I’m too anxious to FaceTime.’ Even the most anxious people in the world have had to get on Zoom for meetings for the past two years. So I think we’ve all kind of worked our way out of that anxiety. Now you’re on a zoom with 30 people from your office and you have to talk. So I’m not really feeling those excuses anymore.
KC: I think I think for me, if they say, if they say they’ve never seen Catfish, that’s a red flag, a big red flag during the pandemic. All the episodes are on Hulu. Everyone and their mom has been watching catfish during the pandemic on Hulu. So if you try to call somebody out for being a catfish and they’re like, ‘What is that? I’ve never seen that.’ It’s a lie.
What makes you guys want to keep doing this show? You keep seeing these scenarios play out? Some people really get hurt by this. I'm sure there's an emotional connection to a lot of the stories that you guys have. So there's a fine line of wanting to reveal the truth. But then there's also like, ‘Oh, but this person is still a person, they still have feelings’ and you want to be there for them and help them.
NS: I have my own reasons that I’m sure are different than Kamie’s. It’s probably two things. One is like, obviously as someone who was catfished, I know what it feels like to really kind of get your hopes up and put yourself out there and think that you’re going to get something and you don’t. And so I constantly kind of remind myself of that when I think about making this show or potentially making another show. But the other thing I also kind of have to remind myself of is that every day, thousands, if not more, of teenagers around the world get their first social media profile. And they’re probably younger and younger. We didn’t get social media until we were in our 20s, but kids now get it when they’re 9 or 10, who knows?
You have to remember that there are people, young people who are interacting now on the internet with very little social intuition and experience. And that’s scary. And obviously, there’s a very dark reality to that, and there’s a lot of terrible things that happen, but even just the heartaches and or wasted time. Whatever smashed her hopes and dreams. Those are real things that matter in the development of a young person’s heart and mind.
And if there’s any way that we can help usher them through those experiences so that the hurt and or pain or sadness that they feel doesn’t get turned into and or projected elsewhere, but turned into something positive – that, to me, is meaningful. That means that one more young person is hopefully going to have an experience that they can use to build their character and become more of the person they want to be rather than create some sort of negativity that then manifests itself into some sort of undesirable end product.
KC: I have been a fan of the show from the beginning, from the documentary. And so being a part of something that is so long-standing and iconic and even people who we come across, people sometimes who have never seen the show, which, you know, red flag, obviously. But some older people too, who have never seen the show but know the term and maybe didn’t know that the term came from Nev’s documentary – being able to do a job that doesn’t feel like a job and is know just so iconic in this way, it’s exciting.
Also, I’m an empath. I love to help people. I love to hear people’s stories and get to know people individually. I just think it feels very natural to me to give back in this way. It just feels like you’re actually helping people and especially in a time like this, when people are just looking for love, it’s nice to help people to realize their own self-worth, but also connect people with potential, long-lasting relationships. So it’s all the warm and fuzzy stuff for me.
So what are you guys hoping that viewers get out of this season?
KC: Hopefully some more tools, even though every time we give the tools, nobody ever wants to use them. But also just the excitement of something different. I feel like we’ve had so much repetitive everything for the past few years. Everything feels the same. And so to be able to give viewers a chance to see us back in like a normal semi-normal environment will be nice.
Catfish airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on MTV.