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 theiris fact or fiction.
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.
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.
All times are EDT:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
This Means War on HBO
Troy on MOMAX
The Help on SHO
To Rome With Love on STARZ
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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