Why Fans Think MTV’s Show ‘Catfish’ is Fake

Given what we know about the authenticity of most reality TV shows these days many viewers watch with a bit of skepticism wondering just how much of it is actually real and how much is fake. MTV’s hit show Catfish is no exception.

The series is based on the 2010 documentary of the same name which features host Nev Schulman‘s story of how he was catfished himself by someone he met online. The concept was later picked up by MTV and thus Catfish: The TV Show was born. But some stories shown over the years have left many people scratching their heads and asking: How could that be? So is MTV just catfishing viewers into thinking what we see on the show is how things really went down?

Nev Schulman - 'Catfish'
Nev Schulman – ‘Catfish’ | via nevschulman Instagram

Here are some of the reasons why fans are questioning if anything about Catfish is real or if it’s all scripted.

The catfish, not the victims, contact the show

At the beginning of every episode, Shulman is seen looking over an email supposedly from a victim who thinks they may be getting catfished by someone they are in an online relationship with. However, that’s not always the case.

Instead, it’s usually the catfish who initiates the contact and applies to be the show. MTV then gets in touch with the person being catfished about participating.

“You know how they said that the catfishee had reached out to them? I don’t know why they put that in there because it’s not even true,” one participant revealed to Hollywood.com. “It was actually me that [sic] reached out to them.”

MTV senior vice president of news and docs Marshall Eisen did admit to this by telling Vulture: “It’s often the catfish we hear from first because they’re looking to unburden themselves. It’s not always the case, but it probably happens more than people realize.”

So yes, the episodes are misleading from the start.

Everyone signs a release to be filmed

Now that we know most times it’s the catfisher contacting the show to be on their reactions of being so shocked to get a call from Schulman and reluctant to meet the other person can’t be genuine since they knew it was coming.

Moreover, no one should be surprised when the film crew shows up because they knew when that’s going to happen as well, which is why everyone is miked up when they arrive. Every participant must sign a release and waiver to be filmed so nothing is spontaneous.

Nev Shulman and Max Joseph
Nev Shulman and Max Joseph| MTV

Storylines are changed for better ratings

Better storylines equal better ratings for reality shows so in many instances the Catfish producers will change things to make a particular story more interesting and compelling for viewers.

“Really, I’m just frustrated that people don’t know the whole story,” one person who appeared on the show said about how they were portrayed.

Others have complained that they were just friends with the person they catfished or were catfished by but the show made it seem that they had romantic feelings for that person. And some claimed that MTV portrayed them as if they were questioning their sexual identity or preferences during the show when they were not.

Fans point out other inaccuracies

On top of all that, some fans have noticed sloppy editing as evidence that the show isn’t totally genuine. In addition, viewers and former participants have chimed in on Reddit about what else they believe is fake from producers feed participants lines to changing someone’s initial appearance by having them wear different clothes to completely skewing the timelines of events.

Over the years most of us did have a feeling that what we were watching wasn’t 100% accurate but still, it sure does make for entertaining television.

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