Kelly Aruanno Staff Writer
This week’s installment of MTV’s new hit show, Catfish, is the first episode to feature a same sex couple as the forefront of Nev Schulman and Max Joseph’s investigation. The episode starts off the same way as the others, with Nev checking his email and revealing which couple’s story we’re going to be following for an hour long roller coaster ride of emotions.
Read the Recap Below!
Rico’s situation is similar to all the others we’ve heard before —- he’s been talking to someone for years that he met online and has never seen in person (or on webcam) and he’s developed real feelings for him. The one big twist with this episode was the stakes that were riding on this meeting; Ja’mari was the one thing keeping Rico from going to England and living with his ailing mother. Unlike previous episodes where a person’s feelings were the only thing on the line, a major life decision hung in the balance. It was up to our charming quasi-detectives, Nev and Max, to help Rico discover the truth and to give him the knowledge needed for him to take the next big step in his life.
Nev and Max don their Sherlock Holmes hats and get straight to work after a face to face meeting with their client, Rico. It was clear that the seriousness of the situation weighed on the both of them as they broke out the laptop and started to do some digging. As someone who has been watching the show since its very first episode, it was a pleasant surprise to see them find a series of YouTube videos backing up the fact that the pictures Ja’mari had been using were actually his own. Usually when Nev heads over to Google Image Search, they quickly discover that the photos of the Catfish in question belong to someone else. It was an encouraging sign, although it didn’t back up Ja’mari’s claim of being a model. It was, however, my first clue that this episode would be unlike those that preceded it.
The Initial Contact:
In each episode, whenever Nev goes to call the potential Catfish to arrange a meeting, I always find myself holding my breath and anxiously awaiting to see how the conversation will go down. Scheduling a meeting with someone that potentially has a major secret (or in some cases, secrets) to hide is no easy task and it doesn’t always go over well. Luckily Nev has a way of getting right down to business by letting the person see that, if they don’t agree to a meeting, then it is the end of the road for them and the person they’ve been talking to. Ja’mari was resistant to the idea of being face to face with Rico at first, but with a bit of convincing he finally agreed to seeing the man he’d been in an online relationship with for three years.
When we get down to the crux of the episode, the actual meeting, we find Rico waiting for Ja’mari to arrive at a park. It isn’t until Max’s, “I’ve got a creeper at eleven o’clock,” that I sat up a little straighter, eager to see if the person who got out of the car would be one and the same with the person whose pictures Rico had been looking at. For the very first time on Catfish the guy that showed up to the meeting was the same exact guy that we were expecting, at least in the physical sense. The only other episode where it had been anything close was the one that focused on Kim and Matt (he was using his own pictures, they were just older pictures that didn’t accurately represent his current body shape). It was hard not to beam with delight as Ja’mari walked up to Rico with flowers in his hands, planting a big kiss on his lips. That excitement was short lived, though, as he explained that there’s something he needs to talk to Rico about.
One a scale of one to Catfish, I have to say that Ja’mari’s lies rate only about a four. Here’s the rundown: his real name is James, he’s a bus driver instead of a model, and he lives at home with his mother. Out of all the bombshells we’ve seen on this show, this really doesn’t amount to much. Although white lies, they understandably still bother Rico who gives himself some space to think and do additional research. Armed with his real name, Nev jumps back online and does a quick investigation, revealing another unsavory detail about the man formerly known at Ja’mari; he has a criminal history. It isn’t anything especially egregious, just a handful of charges of bus theft and bus driver impersonation, but it still amounts to a huge red flag. Despite this new knowledge, Rico agrees to another meeting with James where it is explained that, after spending two years in jail fighting the charges, he was able to get them dropped. The explanation he gives about everything seems to be enough to satisfy Rico and ultimately their time together ends with a couple more kisses.
The “what happened after filming” piece is what I always look forward to most, second only to the part where we get to meet the person who is the potential Catfish. This episode had one of the rare happy endings where we learn Rico’s mother’s health has improved and that he has remained in the United States to work on his relationship with James. (Insert necessary “Awww” here.) I’m happy to see one of these online relationships actually work out. As fun as the drama is when they expose a full on Catfish, it’s nice to see that not every relationship tanks. Plus, it adds even more suspense to the reveal portion of each episode because we know that not every person has been lying about their identity.
Next week’s episode focuses on Mike who has fallen for ‘Felicia’ and thinks she could be his one true love. Head over here for a special sneak preview of the first act of Monday’s show!