Screens: MTV

What Happens When Whitney Pulls Max And Nev Into Her Orbitz?

A lady in Brooklyn has an online girlfriend in Los Angeles, and each is too broke to visit the other. Plus also they've never videochatted or whatever because that's the kind of thing that would get them on the show...right?

I'm told this episode first aired on Sunday night as a lead-in to the MTV Movie Awards, but since (a) it occurred outside primetime hours, (b) it occurred without any promotion that I'm aware of -- I mean, I follow Nev and Max on Twitter and neither of them mentioned it -- and (c) MTV didn't post the episode on its own site or on Amazon Instant Video Monday morning, it apparently decided that the normal Wednesday airing was the "official" one and therefore so am I. Plus I had no choice, because I didn't record it on Sunday. HERE WE GO.

The Client

Whitney, a Wendy's closer in Brooklyn.

The Beloved

Bre, a retired stripper who "wants to go back to school," who lives in Los Angeles.

The Clues

In four years of communicating since they met online -- including talking on the phone and texting -- they've never videochatted. Whitney only has "a handful" of photos of Bre. Whitney's asked Bre to friend her on Facebook, but Bre has not done so. They've never met in person.

The Excuses

Whitney is just as responsible for the lack of an in-person meeting as Bre, since neither of them has the disposable income to make the trip; Whitney, in fact, is the sole income earner in her household and supports her mother and brothers. As to Bre's failure to friend Whitney on Facebook: "It just never worked out" is how Whitney puts it in her introductory email, but when Nev and Max meet her in person, she explains that she'd been away from Facebook for a while and returned to thirty-eight friend requests, so she just accepted them all since she didn't know which was her and some didn't have real first and last names on them. "So you could be friends with her and not know it," says Nev. I guess...but if they're also talking and texting, presumably Whitney could have asked Bre to identify herself on Facebook so Whitney would know? But whatever: Nev makes her write down her Facebook credentials so they can look into it...which is fishy because even if Whitney's profile is private, couldn't she just friend Nev and thus give him access to everything he'd need to pursue the investigation, like her friends list??? HMMMMM. "I want to help you go on this trip," says Nev as they wrap up their initial meeting with Whitney. "I think you deserve the experience, no matter what happens." JUST REMEMBER HE SAID THAT, GUYS.

The Investigation

First, let's note how bright it is as Nev and Max settle in.

2015-04-16-catfish2

The number Whitney has for Bre is apparently based in Los Angeles...but it's a VoIP number, which suggests that Bre's claims not to be online or have wifi or whatever to get herself out of videochatting is a lie, since she's using an internet phone number whenever she talks to Whitney.

Next, since Bre's email prefix is "brenell[lastname]," they try searching her full name and turn up a Twitter feed. And though one of the two Bre photos Whitney's shown Max and Nev is of this lady...

2015-04-16-catfish3

...the photo on the Brenell Twitter feed is this lady.

2015-04-16-catfish4

Noting the city on the Twitter profile, Max comments, "That's great, she lives where she says she lives," I guess because there's no way she could have just typed in any city for her location? "She's cute!" says Nev, reminding us once again that the only reason he feels it justified for people to steal photos is when they are, in his view, uggos. They also find a YouTube video of Bre and a friend twerking. ("She knows how to clap them thighs." - Max, CRINGEFULLY.) Nev recaps: Bre goes by her name; she is (judging by the evidence on the video) a stripper, and she lives in Los Angeles: "She's just not the person in the two pictures that she sent." Apparently it's taken them hours to confirm three facts.

2015-04-16-catfish5

...Okay, yes, I know it's winter and that this could actually just be the difference between 5 and 5:30 but it still LOOKS like it's the middle of the night. Let me have this.

A Google Image search one of the photos brings them to an Instagram profile for someone named Kash something, and then to Kash's Facebook page, where one of the two photos Whitney gave them is the banner or whatever the hell that's called and the other is her profile pic. The fact that it's the very same two photos would, on any other episode, mean that Kash's Facebook profile was also fake, but anyway, Max leaps to suggesting that Bre and Kash are both real and maybe know each other since "they live in the exact same part of California" -- which in this case describes A CITY OF 16.4 MILLION PEOPLE. Even Nev is like, really? Max bolsters his case by saying that if either has pictures of the other, it would prove there's a legit connection, and Nev grants that it's true.

Apropos of nothing, here's a chance pause screen I feel we will all enjoy.

2015-04-16-catfish6

Theories about the Bre/Kash relationship: they're friends; Bre stole Kash's photos because she thinks Kash is prettier than Bre is; Bre has a crush on Kash; they're both talking to Whitney as a prank. To get to the bottom of it, Nev sends Kash a message explaining the situation and asking her to get in touch. Nev then essentially says that if Bre turns out to be the twerking Twitter user, things might still work out for her and Whitney since the Bre they've seen is, by their estimation, conventionally attractive. I mean, I'm paraphrasing, but (as always) that's pretty much the gist. Max isn't so sure: "'My only big dealbreaker is being lied to' -- she did say that." "They all say that," shrugs Nev, who always believes in love if at least one of the people involved is totes cute.

The next day, Nev reports that he did get an email from Kash, so Max comes to his suite so they can call her -- call her, note, not FaceTime or Skype, so the person on the other end of the line could really be anyone BUT WHATEVER. Kash does not know any Whitney, but she confirms that Bre is "a close friend" of hers. She also confirms that Bre used her photos on Downelink, the site on which Bre and Whitney met, because Bre didn't want anyone to know what she looked like, but Kash sounds like she was fine with it. Max asks whether Bre ever reported meeting someone on that site, and Kash says Bre was talking to a woman she was really interested in; Kash thinks Bre and this person are Facebook friends. BUT BRE CAN'T USE FACEBOOK WE THOUGHT!!! Nev says they haven't been able to find Bre's Facebook profile, so Kash tells them her name there is "Lucious B [lastname]." I assume there was an exchange in which Kash explained that Bre had misspelled "Luscious," because Nev does find it and sees that the profile picture is the same one from Bre's Twitter; another photo on the account shows her thigh with the also misspelled "Lucious" tattoo. They look at Bre's friends, assuming they'll find Whitney among them, but they don't. But Nev says it's possible that, at some point in the past, they WERE friends.

So now we find out why Whitney had to give them her Facebook password as Nev logs in as her to look at her messages. And sure enough, there are a bunch of messages back and forth between them, including references to getting on Oovoo, as recently as January 19: "That was a week ago," says Max. "Do you think Whitney is messing with us?" asks Max, in disbelief. "Is that what's happening right now?"

And here's where the episode gets really goddamn annoying, because we still have twenty-three minutes to fill, and apparently someone at MTV thought it was worthwhile to fill it with Max and Nev being EXTREMELY OFFENDED that someone lied to them ON THEIR SHOW ABOUT LIARS. And why? Do they want to be on TV? Or "They're using us for a plane ticket," as Max (correctly, as it turns out) surmises. They bring Executive Producer Dave into the mix to ask what he thinks they should do, and he says they "spent a lot of time and money and resources to get here to have somebody lie to us." Bro, you flew four people to New York and put them up in what is AT BEST a three-star hotel. I don't know about "a lot." Anyway, he goes on to say that if it turns out that Whitney and Bre are just looking to say "We catfished Catfish, then we don't go." "And the episode just ends?" asks Nev. I think there's no episode, stupid? Surely this isn't the first and only time they've had to burn a story they've been working on, so I don't know why he's pretending to be so naïve. Dave tells them they should go over and take her through what they've found out, the same as they always do, and see how she reacts. Max is excited about letting her "squirm a little bit," but adds that if it turns out that this really is a love story and that coming on the show was the only way she could manage an in-person meeting with Bre, then I guess they'll give her what she wants? Which seems like a bad precedent for the show to set?

2015-04-16-catfish7

Same.

Nev calls Whitney, on speaker, and tries to trap her into saying she's nervous that they'll have figured out her and Bre's subterfuge, which she doesn't. He signs off with this idiotic "Oooooookay!" that's extremely transparent. Nev: bad at improv since 1984.

The Presentation Of Findings

Whitney is obviously a fan of the show because she does a decent approximation of a wronged party, going on about how she doesn't get why people lie, and then compound matters by telling so many lies they can't keep them straight, at which Max -- almost as bad an actor as Nev -- has to pretend to scratch to hide his smirk.

2015-04-16-catfish8

Considering that we all know where this shit is going, it takes a surprisingly long time for Max and Nev to walk Whitney through their findings, let her continue pretending to be shocked by all of them and not know what they're about to tell her before finally getting to the part where they were clever enough to hack her Facebook email WITH THE CREDENTIALS SHE WILLINGLY SUPPLIED and discover the true depth of Whitney and Bre's relationship, Max adding, "Messages remain, even if your friend de-friends you." This appears to be news to Whitney.

2015-04-16-catfish11

I personally think this time would have been better spent taking Whitney to a bra store for a proper fitting?

2015-04-16-catfish10

Because I am also a lady with a deep verandah (as my dear wife Sarah's legal husband would put it -- he's from the south), and it doesn't matter how big your knockers are: if you're in the right bra, they won't rest in your lap. But I digress. Judging by her face when Max tells her about the persistence of messages, Whitney obviously knows the jig is up then, but when they tell her the messages show that she knew Bre and they definitely did videochat, she denies it for a second, and is about to come up with a story about Lucious B when Max indicates that he's had enough.

2015-04-16-catfish12

"I didn't put you up to do this," Whitney finally says. "That's what's going on." Nev prompts Whitney to explain, and she says, "She basically hit the show up, to basically try to see me." She claims she tried to talk her out of it, "but everything went haywire from there, and now we're here."

WELL, if you like episodes where Max and Nev scold people and act unwarrantedly superior, then Christmas has come early for you, because pretty much the next ten minutes are...that. Max whines that they've been sitting with Whitney for hours listening to her lie to them, pointing out the irony that she's put them in exactly the position she JUST said she didn't want to be in with Bre; they don't want to air a story if the only reason it exists is that a couple of people were trying to get on TV. "There have to be easier ways to arrange to see one another," says Max, with all the unconscious privilege of someone who can't fathom what life is like for a woman supporting four people on a Wendy's closer salary and who's had a friend lend her an apartment to meet them in, possibly because she doesn't want MTV viewers to see how she actually lives. I'm not saying this was a smart way for Bre and Whitney to try to get someone else to pay for a cross-country plane ticket...but it is kind of shrewd. And if you weren't already on their side and against Nev and Max...

2015-04-16-catfish13

YEP, THAT'LL DO IT. Shut up, Nev, with the "authenticity," which Whitney's ALREADY punctured by revealing that she wasn't even the seeker at all -- Bre was, JUST LIKE IN MOST CASES AS WE LEARNED LAST YEAR ANYWAY.

They just really have to think about what they're going to do. Boy, Whitney, I hope they decide you're worthy of love!!!

LONG, DUMB, INDIGNANT STORY SHORT: after talking to Bre, and to MTV executive Marshall to sign off on this break from the format, Nev and Max are happy to return to Whitney and Oprah her a trip to meet Bre in L.A.

The Confrontation Meeting
2015-04-16-catfish14
Hugs?

See above. Also:

2015-04-16-catfish15
The Aftermath

Two months later, Whitney's still in Brooklyn. Bre's planning to come there soon, and then Whitney's going there the next month. "What did we miss?" asks Nev. "Yeah, did you guys get it on or what?!" asks Max, extremely rudely. Nev admonishes him -- "That's private" -- but I guess Max is entitled, given that he is a subcontractor for the company that bought Whitney's plane ticket. (The answer seems to be yes.) Bre is now working as "a hairstylist's assistant," which has earned her enough money to travel. They are in love.

The Life Lessons Learned

"Just keep it honest," says Whitney. But I think we have learned that, even if you lie, as long as you seem nice MTV will give you whatever you want.

Readers disliked this episode
What did you think?

Discussion

Explore the Catfish forum or add a comment below.