How Will Catfish Resolve Matters Among Dejay, Malik, And Josiah?
Two different dudes contact the show with their suspicions about someone who sure seems to be the same guy. Is he? And...is he what he seems?
Before we even get to him, we watch Nev and Max reading an email from the casting department, alerting them that the show's received messages from two otherwise unrelated "hopefuls," who both seem to have been in long-term relationships with the same guy. Let's start with the one who was easier to get hold of: Dejay, of St. Louis.
Josiah, of Philadelphia.
In the seven years Dejay and Josiah have been connected online, they've never met in person or videochatted, but an even bigger clue is that Josiah admitted to DeJay that he's not the guy in the photos he originally used to represent himself online. Dejay thought Josiah looked like this...
...but in fact (or, at least, according to Josiah now), he looks like this:
Then there's Malik, of Charlotte.
Malik's been talking to Josiah for five years, on and off; they've never met in person or videochatted either.
Josiah told Malik he had a bad phone connection and moved around a lot, but he told Dejay he didn't know how to videochat. Dejay -- wisely -- didn't believe Josiah could be so naïve and said so, leading to a fight that ended with Josiah blocking Dejay on Facebook. According to Dejay, this is Josiah's MO: when Dejay pushes him too much or asks too many questions, Josiah takes his virtual ball and virtually stomps off in a huff, but then eventually apologizes and they reconcile.
Maybe Nev and Max aren't quite limbered up from their hiatus because there basically is no investigation. After pulling up Josiah's totally public Facebook profile on Nev's computer, they segue to the Malik connection and let Dejay read his email to the show, since the few details in it line up with what Dejay knows about Josiah, Dejay agrees to let Nev call Malik about it, and stands by on speaker as Nev explains the situation to Hopeful #2. Dejay recites the phone number he has for his Josiah; it's the same number Malik has. Asked about the profile pic on Josiah's Facebook page, Malik -- who apparently isn't blocked from viewing it at this juncture -- describes the glasses/pink buttondown shot above, the same one Nev et al are looking at. Malik is amenable to the idea of having the St. Louis crew meet him in Charlotte, since he's not upset at Dejay; neither he nor Malik did anything wrong, Malik says -- and other than being too trusting, that is true.
Dejay's also ready to compare notes with Malik, since he and Josiah have been talking since they were teenagers and Josiah, was, according to Dejay, his first love and also, now, his "first cheat": "That's seven years of my life that I can't get back 'cause you like to play games. This ain't fucking Nintendo!" That's also true, in that, unlike this episode, NINTENDO ISN'T BORING.
In Charlotte the next day, Malik offers more details about his relationship with Josiah: he still loves Josiah, someone he says was getting ready to move in with him. This is a surprise to Dejay. Then they ask whether Josiah's told Malik about being in college, as Dejay believed he was; Malik says he's not. After Malik says again that he and Josiah were going to live together, Dejay gets frustrated and stomps out to the porch to rant to Nev about what Josiah was thinking while, out back, Malik does more or less the same thing with Max (though adds the new detail that he'd sent Josiah nudes, hee hee).
Once Dejay and Malik have calmed down, everyone gathers around a computer to look at the version of Josiah's Facebook profile that Nev can see, I guess -- because apparently he has access to photos that Malik, despite being Josiah's Facebook friend and not being blocked, he's never seen. Malik wants to know if there are any shots of Josiah with a woman, or with a baby, since according to Malik, Josiah got drunk and banged a girl who ended up getting pregnant, so now he's a father. This is news to Dejay! "I don't even think it really matters if he's the guy in the pictures," says Nev. Translation: we don't know if he is and we aren't going to bother trying to find out.
Nev heads out to call Josiah and tell him what's going on. As soon as Nev's identified himself, mentioned Catfish, and told Josiah that he's been talking to both Dejay and Malik, Josiah immediately declares, "You guys can't come to Philadelphia." Totally normal reaction for a truthful person! "I have a lot going on right now in Philadelphia," Josiah adds. Instead of trying to find out what Josiah has "going on" in Philadelphia -- a spouse would be my first guess, given how aggressive he was about refusing to let them within city limits -- Nev just asks if the show can fly Josiah to Charlotte for a meeting instead, and since we're watching this, you know Josiah agrees. Given his experience, Dejay doesn't believe Josiah's going to show up.
The next day, everyone's waiting in a living room so anonymously tasteful that I'd bet good money it's an Airbnb and not Malik's actual house...
...when Josiah texts to say he just landed. All four guys head out to the front porch to wait for Josiah to show up, and after some fillery filler of fake-out vehicles, a cab pulls up. Does it disgorge anyone we've been given to understand is Josiah?
It does! Dejay cordially puts out his hand to shake and introduce himself; Malik keeps his arms crossed and refuses.
"I just can't believe you're you," Nev tells Josiah, to break the ice while Delay and Malik collect themselves. Max agrees with Nev that it never happens. But once that throat-clearing's over. Dejay's like, "Seven years," and Malik sniffs, "Five years," and Josiah declares that he's not going to be able to have a conversation with both of them at once. Instead of agreeing to split up, Nev and Max try to make him explain why he's never videochatted with either of them in the many years he's known them, and Josiah refers to "a lot going on," meaning, I assume, that he was in a real-life relationship with someone else, though he doesn't say that and no one presses him for details about that. Asked what his deal is, he offers that he's twenty-two, he's a home health care aide, he's lived in "several different places," and that he's not in any online relationships other than these two, and if he says so I really have no choice but to believe him, I mean he's so credible! He also confirms that he has a two-year-old son, but that he's not in a relationship with the child's mother. He has, however, been in a relationship with some other unspecified person for two years, which is why he can't Skype or meet. Oh, and he's sorry. He...sure seems sorry? Just kidding, he's not sorry at all. The very next thing he says is that he never said he was in a relationship with either of them, which is pretty disingenuous; I know we only just met Dejay and Malik, but neither of them seems like they'd just make shit up without any encouragement from Josiah.
Malik then asks why Josiah's kept up these lies for so long, and he vaguely says he has "a special connection with y'all." Pressed by Nev as to the nature of said connection, he offers up this gem: "I love both of them. I mean, I might love one more than the other, but I love both of them." "Who," asks Malik flatly. "Well, I mean, I like, I love Dejay more than, you know," mumbles Josiah, adding that it's because he's known him so much longer. Malik starts clapping sarcastically, spitting, "You didn't hurt my feelings." Oh, Malik. NOW who's not credible! If Dejay is gratified to learn that he won this contest, he doesn't really show it.
Moving on: Dejay wants to know why Josiah never made it to one of their most recent appointed meetings. Josiah starts mumbling about whether he would ever spend money to travel to "East Bummah [sp?]" to meet him, but before he can explain specifically what it was about Dejay that made him decide Dejay was a bad risk or whatever, Dejay keeps talking over him to challenge his story, and Josiah basically shrugs that he's not willing to continue having this conversation HE JUST GOT ON A PLANE TO COME HAVE. This is what Josiah does whenever there's any kind of conflict, and either of these guys talked to him after the first such frustrating fight? Why? Dejay and Malik BOTH say they're done with Josiah's bullshit once he starts walking up the sidewalk to parts unknown (I mean, seriously: he just got there in a cab; where is he going?)...
...but of course after a commercial Nev has to talk Josiah back into
completing this episode giving Malik and Dejay closure, and convinces him to return to the house, on the condition that he'll only be asked to talk to one guy at a time. First up is Malik. Josiah repeats that he never said they were in a relationship. Malik's like, "Okay." Josiah adds that he doesn't know, therefore, why Malik has so much "attitude": "We were never to ge ther." Malik says it was his understanding that they were going to be together eventually, to which Josiah claims they were each supposed to go meet the other in person and "both fucked each other." Not in the usual sense we use that verb, I'm guessing. This very quickly devolves into Malik saying Josiah's lying and Josiah ordering Malik not to talk to him like that. The angrier Josiah gets, the calmer Malik gets, recommending that Josiah "simmer down." "What is that?" yips Josiah. "Talk to me with English. English!" "English," says Malik. "English. English." "'Simmer down' is something you do when you cook, get it?" patronizes Josiah. Is he...really trying to pretend he doesn't know what that idiom means outside a cooking context? It's in pretty common use. Malik doesn't bother explaining, but he doesn't back down either, whereupon Josiah sits back in his seat and flicks his hand.
Yoooooooo, fuck this guy. "You're dismissed"? You're getting kicked in the balls. Malik's much calmer than I would be as he states that he's not done talking and doesn't move, so Josiah -- for the second time this episode -- gets up and wanders off with no clear destination. Again, I have to ask: WHAT IS ANYONE GETTING OUT OF KNOWING THIS GUY? Malik follows, continuing to challenge Josiah, but finally returns to the house annoyed and exhausted, KIND OF LIKE I AM BY THIS EPISODE.
Nev seems like he's trying to call it a wrap for the day and just resuming tomorrow, but Josiah volunteers that he'll try to talk to Dejay, so the two of them take up the positions in the back porch that Malik and Josiah just vacated. Josiah starts by telling Dejay he's sorry -- not that sincerely, but at least it bolsters his earlier claim that Dejay's the one he loves more. Dejay asks why, then, Josiah deceived him in the first place. Josiah says he had feelings. Dejay wants to know how he's supposed to believe anything Josiah says. "Listen, if you don't believe me, then you just don't believe me," mutters Josiah, adding that there's nothing he can say to make Dejay believe him. "Yes, there is!" says Dejay. Josiah informs Dejay that Dejay's problem with Josiah is the length of their fake relationship, which Dejay denies. Josiah asks what else is wrong, then. "YOU GOT A BABY," says Dejay. "That's not something I like to talk about," sniffs Josiah. YOOOOOOOOO, FUCK THIS GUY. Dejay can't understand a father not wanting to talk about his son. "That's something I will not let you do," snaps Josiah, saying he hasn't seen his son since the baby was seven months old. "Bring it down," says Dejay. "Stop talking to me like that," says Josiah. Dejay does not agree. "Okay, that's the end of that," says Josiah. "You are full of shit," says Dejay wearily. "I refuse to sit around people that's not gonna LISTEN," spits Josiah.
Everyone in and around the house can hear the volume level rising again, so Nev comes out to try to intervene before Josiah decides to fuck off again. It doesn't really go well -- and when Dejay points toward the house and reminds Josiah, "I'm not the one sittin' in there, you know me," Malik hears (and while I'm not sure exactly what Dejay means by it, it doesn't sound like a compliment). Eventually, Dejay decides to be the one to stomp off before Josiah can. But then Josiah ends up stomping away from Nev too, getting into what I assume is a production vehicle and taking off.
Once he's gone, Dejay, on the lawn, describes the afternoon's events as "typical Jo," since he's not capable of having an adult conversation. Malik comes out to join him as Dejay says he has nothing more to say to Josiah after today. Malik says he feels "embarrassed and stupid," but that he's "over Josiah" as well. Max wisely says that they could get bogged down in the details of why Josiah didn't tell Dejay about his son, or either guy about his boyfriend, but that it doesn't matter: "This is the person you've been talking to."
So...that's it for the episode, then? No, of course not! You know how Nev loves to put a button on shit with some Couch Time! The next day, we find out that Dejay has calmed down and is ready to talk to Josiah again -- and since they end up back at this rental that no one ever actually says is Malik's house, so is Malik. (Malik seems angrier, though.)
Josiah wants to "put an end to everything" and "leave on good terms." Dejay's not mad; he just thinks Josiah has to be honest about things. Josiah apologizes again, "but it's nothing else I can do." Dejay says that's all he wanted. Josiah wants to maintain a friendship with both guys, but Malik does not: "I really don't want to fuck with you. How can I expect to be a person's friend when you lied to me for so long, and you come out here yesterday like it's a joke. I don't care how you feel -- you don't gotta care -- but that's just how I feel." Josiah's okay with that. "Whatever happens now is another TV show," says Nev. Not sure what that means. Like, one on Investigation Discovery about Josiah the sociopath murdering both his former online boyfriends? Maybe?
Dejay hugs Josiah. Malik does not even get up to shake his hand. I
stand sit with Malik! Once Josiah's gone, Nev and Max suggest that maybe a new friendship can form, from this experience, for Malik and Dejay; they agree, and they hug.
Two months later, Dejay reports, without rancor, that Malik's blocked him from Instagram. ...Huh. Dejay's still in touch with Josiah from time to time. Max nosily asks, "Did you...touch? After filming?" Nev:
"I don't kiss and tell, Max," grins Dejay. Ohhhhhh, DEJAY.
Josiah is still in the relationship he was in when he met Dejay and Malik. He's told that guy about all of this; he was upset at first, "but he realized that it was all online," and made Josiah quit Facebook. He's happier only to be "dealing with one person." That's far fewer people to stomp off from whenever he throws a hissyfit, I guess.
WELL OKEY DOKEY NO FURTHER QUESTIONS.
Don't let an online relationship go on for more five weeks with someone who won't videochat, never mind five to seven years. Don't have any kind of relationship with Josiah. And hey, don't let MTV tell you they have to film at your actual home! I'm fairly certain this episode proves they don't actually have to!