Cheaters

On Catfish, Jess and Artis have been 'seeing each other' online even though they're both in relationships IRL. Guess how it ends? Spoiler: not well.

Screens: MTV

Screen: MTV

The Client

Artis, a young man living in Woodstock, IL.

The Beloved

Jess, a young lady living in Marengo, IL, a half-hour drive away from Woodstock.

The Clues

For the past five months, Jess and Artis have been talking mostly through Facebook because they're both involved with other people in real life (in Artis's case, for three years; he and his real girlfriend also have children together). Artis and Jess have never talked on the phone or Skyped; he has her phone number, but they've only used it to text.

The Excuses

Jess has a really jealous, controlling boyfriend (Artis actually keeps using the word "strict," which is creepy), who prevents her from doing things like put more than one photo of herself on her Facebook profile.

The Investigation

Jess has her job listed as Hooters, which Max notes is a cliché of a fake job, though he doesn't seem to recall that Artis had said she's a babysitter. She has a fair number of Facebook friends from Marengo High School, which she claims to have attended. However, despite all this talk of a controlling boyfriend, her relationship status is "Single," and after one status in which she'd asked if anyone wants to "hang or bang," one of her contacts comments that he doesn't believe she's real. Nev reaches out to this guy, Kevin, who calls them right back and explains that Marengo is a tiny town where everyone knows each other. At some point, this Jess went on a friending tear through his class, but that no one who accepted her friend request in Marengo and subsequently got hit on by her actually knows who she is.

Google Image search, you say? Well, they find matching results on a bunch of porn sites, including one that's topless.

Catfish

They also find the full-length version of her one-and-only (cropped) Facebook photo.

Catfish

Well, this is damning evidence!

The Presentation Of Findings

After confirming that, per Nev and Max's request, Artis has come clean to his real girlfriend about Jess, Nev and Max meet with him -- at a coffee shop, though, which might suggest to a suspicious person that Artis isn't being entirely truthful with Max and Nev. Regardless, Nev and Max barrel ahead, telling him about Jess's obvious fakeness. Nev does his whole "But even if the person you've been talking to doesn't look like this, you have real feelings for each other, riiiiiiight?" thing. Artis wants to meet "this person" and find out why he or she targeted Artis.

So Max and Nev try to call the number they have for "Jess," but she hasn't set up her voicemail yet. "Sketchy." - Max. There's some Facebook back and forth where Jess makes Max and Nev prove who they are. When they finally tell Jess that Artis is serious enough about her to have told his real girlfriend about Jess, that changes everything, and now Jess wants to meet in person, at a park in Woodstock the next day.

The Confrontation

Jess?

Catfish

No. This very weird guy emerges from a beat-up car and does a slow clap as he walks toward Artis. He's also really aggressive toward Nev, who tries to get between the guy and Artis despite Nev's having just broken his foot days ago. The guy complains that Nev was giving him attitude the previous night over Facebook, but keeps getting in Artis's face until Artis finally walks away. "That, there," says the guy. "That's what I had." ...What?

"Not everything is as it seems," is how this guy's ramblings begin. He finally says that his name is Justin, and while I am not a psychiatrist or social worker or anything of the sort, I would really like to ask an expert what Justin's deal is, because -- and, again, I am not qualified to judge -- he does seem not to be thinking with total clarity at the moment. To make a long, crazy story short, Justin is morally offended by people who cheat on their significant others, because Justin's own sainted girlfriend was cheated on. Justin therefore set up the Jess account to trap cheaters and ruin their lives. And no, Justin is not gay, he's just good at pretending to be a sexy girl. Told by our hosts that he's "a good actress," then, he's like, "Well, you got me there."

The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

Justin's father died suddenly and Justin found his body. Justin spent some time homeless. He says he hates himself, and doesn't think that anyone cares about him, so he doesn't care about Artis. "So it was like a sociology experiment?" asks Max. Justin says it was -- "at my own expense." And Artis's, but Justin thinks it was more at his own expense because it took up so much of his time. For whatever it's worth, it doesn't seem like Justin has a lot of other stuff going on. Nev notes that Justin's girlfriend -- who apparently declined to participate in all of this mess -- loves Justin, so there must be something to him. Max and Nev both keep trying to steer Justin toward some kind of lesson or closure as to how he's going to move on from this, but Justin won't co-operate and gets all emo about it.

Catfish

Does Justin have anything else to say to Artis? Nah.

Aftermath Of The Aftermath

One month later, Justin still seems unwell, though he says he's stopped using the Jess profile. Does he think about Artis? No, Artis is just "a fart in the wind." Nev comments, "Not caring about other people sets you up to not be cared about."

Catfish

Artis is still with his VERY lucky girlfriend.

The Life Lessons Learned

Some women will put up with some shit. If your online girlfriend looks like a used-up porn star, she probably isn't a twenty-three-year-old babysitter who's dying to raise your three kids. Careful where you trawl for a sidepiece on the internet, or you may get a visit from THE ADULTERY AVENGER!!!

For Careers Week, we list:

Jobs Max Joseph Could Hold Now That He Has So Much Experience As An Extraneous Cameraman!

  • a movie star's assistant's assistant
  • supermarket bagger's apprentice
  • pharmacist's backup pill counter
  • barista (whipped cream addition only)
  • bar back back
  • 15th Assistant Director

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  • Guest

    I am glad Justin isn't currently wearing a Nev-and-Max suit.

  • Derek Martz

    I'm glad Justin isn't currently wearing a Nev-and-Max suit. What. The holy. Hell.

  • david ledger

    what is the girls real name, almost every guy wants to know ?

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