TV tonight: ‘Catfish: The TV Show’ second season premieres on MTV

Love’s biggest losers get 15 minutes of fame in TV’s shameless fishbowl. 

Photo: MTV/Catfish: The TV Show

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2013 —In a techno driven world that allows us to do virtually everything from the comfort of our homes, the ease with which we can disconnect from the rest of the world is alarming. We are now able to do everything from banking to ordering a meal delivery online. We can even search for a mate. The Internet has gone main stream.

Tonight the second season premiere of “Catfish: The TV Show” tackles the complexities of looking for our soul mate online in a way that makes the whole experience decidedly creepy. In “Catfish,” Nev Schulman and Max Joseph are called upon to help people in online “relationships” find out if the profile to which they’ve been professing their love is fact or fiction.

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In a moment that can only be described as serendipitous for MTV, the first season of “Catfish” got an unexpected boost when the story of Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o’s deceptive online love went viral. Why a star football player from such a successful college program needed to look beyond the thousands of women on campus in the first place defies conventional logic.

But apparently there are a lot of people like Manti Te’o who are not only professing their undying love for someone they’ve never met; they are also willing to share their stories with a national audience by appearing on “Catfish.”

More often than not the people they investigate are frauds, but why Nev and Max’s clients don’t just Google their concerns is the obvious elephant in the room. There are no secrets in the information age. Virtually everything about everyone is available online for anyone willing to look. It doesn’t take the NSA to find out if someone is living in a penthouse or their parent’s basement.

Are we so starved for entertainment that we find watching the meltdown of others alluring? Are there actually people who knowingly agree to expose their cyber loves gone wrong? With MTV the answer is a resounding yes.

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It’s hard to feel sorry for anyone who willingly chooses to look like an idiot on national TV. But MTV has developed a formula that successfully mines the human psyche in a way that provokes pity and ridicule in equal doses.

People watch this show for one or both of these reasons. Having a bad day? Just watch the losers on “Catfish” to feel better about your life. Or join the victims in a good cry when they realize their online love is really a fraud. Just keep in mind that reality TV usually has little to do with reality.

MTV has made a lot of money by flirting with the limits of human decency. But the most disturbing fact of MTV’s “reality” programming is the fact that people actually watch it. Until the TV audience decides they’re tired of MTV’s exploitative programming and stop endorsing the darker side of human nature by changing the channel, however, expect the trend to continue.

Meanwhile we all need to realize the Internet can be just as damaging as it is empowering. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Extreme Weight Loss: (New) A 410-pound man named Ryan who lost an arm in a car accident tries to lose more than half his bodyweight and conquer his fear of riding a bike; professional football player Clay Matthews and famed wide receiver Donald Driver visit Ryan.

CBS: NCIS: (Repeat) A Navy reservist returns home to find her husband missing and her living room covered in blood. Meanwhile, Tony suspects that Ziva is plotting to avenge her father’s death.

FOX: So You Think You Can Dance: (Live) The Top 20 Dancers show America what they’re made of.

NBC: Betty White’s Off Their Rockers: (Repeat) An oldster goes to an art class to serve as a nude model; a woman takes photos of herself using tourists’ cameras; a prankster works as a grocery-cart valet. Appearing: Nick Cannon. 

CW: Hart of Dixie: (Repeat) The town holds a charity auction in which the women bid on the men’s picnic baskets, and Zoe faces surprising competition for Wade’s basket. Meanwhile, Lemon suppresses her true feelings when she wins Lavon’s basket; and George tries to entice Tansy with his basket.

8:30 p.m.

NBC: Betty White’s Off Their Rockers: (New) Senior pranks include directing traffic inside a grocery store and giving thumbs-down movie reviews to theatergoers. Also: An oldster hands a ticket to a girl for a violation involving a statue.

9 p.m.

CBS: NCIS: Los Angeles: (Repeat) Sam helps an Afghan elder, who assisted him years ago when he was wounded on a mission, search for the man’s missing nephew.

NBC: America’s Got Talent: (New) Nick and the judges continue to scour the country for the most talented performers in America.

CW: America’s Next Top Model: College Edition: (Repeat) The models each write their own script for a TV commercial to promote tourism in Jamaica and then film the spot while riding a horse bareback on a beach. At the photo shoot, the ladies pose for a perfume ad.

10 p.m.

ABC: Body of Proof: (Repeat) Months after Peter’s death, Megan returns to work and is surprised when a man from her past is assigned to her case; a serial killer targeting young war veterans takes Lacey hostage.

CBS: Person of Interest: (Repeat) Reese is kidnapped by an old acquaintance that is plotting a destructive act of cyber warfare.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Pretty Little Liars at 8 p.m. on ABCFAM

Deadliest Catch: The Bait at 8 p.m. on DSC

Property Virgins at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on HGTV

The Haves and The Have Nots at 9 p.m. on OWN

Mythbusters at 8 and 9 and 10 p.m. on SCI

Dance Moms at 9 p.m. on Life

Twisted at 9 p.m. on ABCFAM

Rizzoli & Isles at 9 p.m. on TNT

King of Coke: Living the High Life at 9 p.m. on NGC

Deadliest Catch at 9 p.m. on DSC

Airport 24/7 at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Storage Wars at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on A&E

Bang Goes the Theory at 9, 9:40 and 10:20 p.m. on BBC

Exit 10 p.m. on Syfy

Gangsters: America’s Most Evil at 10 p.m. on BIO

Swamp Murders at 10 p.m. on ID

Perception at 10 p.m. on TNT

My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I at 10 p.m. on TLC

Pretty Wicked Moms at 10 p.m. on Life

Catfish: The TV Show at 10 p.m. on MTV

Taboo USA at 10 p.m. on NGC

Chopped at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Blood and Oil at 10 p.m. on DSC

Shipping Wars at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on A&E

Inside Amy Schumer at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Scruples on ENC

Elizabeth on FLIX

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps on FXM

Behind the Candelabra on HBO

The Shining on IFC

Gone on SHO

The Bachelor and the Bobbie-Soxer on TCM

Stepmom on TMC

9 p.m.

This Means War on HBO

Troy on MOMAX

The Help on SHO

To Rome With Love on STARZ

Later tonight:

Drive Angry at 9:35 p.m. on STARZ

The Bourne Supremacy at 9:40 p.m. on ENC

How the West Was Won at 10 p.m. on AMC

The Sitter at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

The World of Henry Orient at 10 p.m. on TCM

A Clockwork Orange at 10 p.m. on SUND

Sylvia at 10:05 p.m. on FLIX

The Iron Lady at 10:05 p.m. on TMC

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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