Screen: MTV

Folie À Deux

Catfish finds a faker whose mark is just as good at lying...to himself.

The Client

Ramon, a casino employee who hates his job and his podunk town of Bullhead City, Arizona.

The Beloved

Paola, with whom Ramon's been in an online relationship for seven months, and for whom he's bought several fairly extravagant gifts (a phone, a Wii) and to whom he's given his banking information, in addition to having sent her $3000 for her birthday.

The Clues

Ramon says that the one time he and Paola tried to videochat on Skype, the girl he saw was not the one from the photos on Paola's Facebook or Instagram.

The Excuses

Ramon says that it was a bad connection; Paola told him that she put her cousin on Skype in her place as a test of Ramon's love.

The Investigation

For once, Google Image search return no results, though her Instagram features tons of photos of her. Max suggests Googling "hola_paola" (her Instagram) and "facebook," and immediately find a Facebook account for Paola Provost (which has over 1100 friends, so it seems real). A Skype chat with her confirms that though the Instagram is hers, she is not also Paola Rodriguez (the FB user Ramon's been "in a relationship" with), and she records a video message for Ramon telling him her photos were stolen and she has never talked to him. Max and Nev also ask whether Paola knows a "Loyda," the name of the cousin from the Skype chat; she doesn't.

The Presentation Of Findings

Max and Nev play Ramon the video of the real Paola; he looks a bit stunned, but not that stunned. And he cries, of course, and says, "She's been lying the whole damn time." Ramon says he wants to meet the person he's been talking to in order to tell "them" that what he or she did is "fucked up." So Nev calls the number Ramon had given him for "Paola," tells her what's up, and asks if she's Loyda. She says, "It's complicated," and tries to weasel out of an in-person meeting. Nev tries to get tough, telling her, "This is a really big deal," and that Ramon loves her. She finally agrees.

The Confrontation

Everyone travels from Arizona to Deltona, Florida, to meet Loyda, who's pretty defiant; when Ramon complains about the money he spent on her and the stuff he bought her, she shruggingly offers to give it to him. Nev and Max are both unusually hard on Loyda -- I guess because of the financial aspect -- and remain so even after she points out to Ramon that she "tried to come clean" several times: she says he knows her full name, he knows her birthday, she's shown him her driver's license, and that it wasn't just one blurry Skype chat, as he claimed; it was several, plus FaceTime conversations. Directly counter-confronted, Ramon admits that what Loyda's saying is true: she did confess to him on three occasions; all three times he basically begged her to take it back; and because he was so sad about it and she didn't want to hurt him, she did. So...Ramon is not really an innocent victim in any of this, and I certainly hope MTV invoiced him for his and everyone else's travel expenses, because this is bullshit.

The Further Investigation

Now that he knows Loyda's full name, Nev finds her real Facebook profile and friends her, and for some reason she approves the request. Looking around her profile, he finds a photo she's posted of an engagement ring, accompanied by a sappy note apparently composed by Ramon to Loyda -- not Paola.

The Presentation Of Further Findings

Ramon claims no knowledge of the ring and says he didn't write the note.

The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

Everyone goes back to Loyda's house, where they meet Loyda's mother, Loyda Sr., and her brother, Juan. Loyda Sr. and Juan both knew about the fake profile; Juan seems to disapprove of the deception, but Loyda Sr. doesn't really seem to care. Nev hammers on the gifts again -- as though every other fucking liar they meet on this show isn't just as bad even if they don't benefit materially from their schemes -- and Loyda Sr. says that when the Wii arrived, Loyda tried to tell the truth but that Ramon didn't want to hear it, and Ramon doesn't deny it. Then they move on to the ring. Loyda Sr. says that Ramon sent it. That, he denies. Loyda Sr. says she saw Loyda open an envelope with a note from Ramon in it, and that if Ramon didn't send it, someone posing as him did it. Nev asks Loyda if she didn't buy the ring with the $3000 "birthday money" Ramon sent, mail it to herself with a fake note, and open it in front of her mother. Loyda's response is a silent "so?" shrug. Hilariously, Loyda's response to this is "Whatever," and even more hilariously, Max is all, "Not 'whatever,'" like he's the internet avenger or some shit and Ramon isn't 50% complicit in everything that was perpetrated against him. Loyda then zags, taking the "I really did love you all along" tack. And Ramon then pretends there's a chance he might actually want to pursue a relationship with Loyda, and everyone clears out so they can spend a minute together, whereupon Ramon says he feels better that the truth (that he denied) is "out there," and that maybe he and Loyda can be friends. "You're like my best friend," he says, because now that he's seen her, he's not in love anymore.

The Dénouement

There are hugs.

The Aftermath

Two months later, Ramon's getting ready to go to college. He tells Nev and Max that he doesn't talk to Loyda much, and that she has a boyfriend now. Max asks if that hurts Ramon's feelings, and he laughs like the very idea of him still having any kind of feelings for a girl he said he had been in love with is completely ridiculous. Loyda confirms the boyfriend report, and says she's been working on paying Ramon back the money of which she defrauded him.

The Life Lessons Learned

When your online girlfriend tells you she's been lying about her identity and then says that was a lie, it wasn't. Don't give your banking information to someone you've literally never met. According to Max and Nev, taking gifts and money from a gullible idiot is worse than murder. According to this show, overweight people don't deserve and shouldn't expect love.

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