Will Catfish Bring Zak And Garrett Together, Or Will Zak Go Awry?

Zak has suspicions about his online boyfriend Garrett given Garrett's habit of ghosting him. But maybe GARRETT has cause to suspect ZAK???

You know how we're all sick of having Mrs. Nev shoved down our throats all goddamn season? Well, guess what? TIME FOR US TO MEET MRS. MAX.

This is like that when Law & Order tried to have season arcs if, instead of getting MS, Rey's wife wanted to mooch her way into hosting her own talk show or something. To be fair, though Mrs. Max -- real name: Priscila -- bears more than a passing physical resemblance to Mrs. Nev, she seems a lot more reserved and less fame-whorish...though that also might be because Mrs. Max is not a native English speaker. She and Max mostly speak Portuguese to each other, and I won't lie: hearing him use a second language is pretty hot and yet I HATE THAT THEY ARE SUCKING ME IN TO THEIR STORYLINE, IT IS NOT WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR.

What ARE we here for? This, I guess.

The Client

Zak, age 27, of Wilmington, Delaware.

The Beloved

Garrett, age 20, of Wichita, Kansas.

The Clues

When Zak has tried to videochat with Garrett, the latter has been in a dark room. Zak has offered to fly to Kansas to meet Garrett, but Garrett will initially express excitement before backing off and advising Zak not to buy a ticket just yet. Then Garrett just disappeared -- or, to be precise, he changed his phone number without telling Zak.

The Excuses

On the phone number: Garrett "forgot" to give Zak his new number for "a couple of weeks." (Sus.)

We don't get to hear Garrett's side in Zak's recitation, obviously, but perhaps he's concerned about Zak's history of extreme impulsiveness with regard to his romantic life: to wit, he's originally from Montana, but picked up and moved to Delaware because of a guy, who then told Zak he wasn't actually interested in dating. BTW, we don't find out what Zak does for a living that can afford him a lifestyle of moving across several time zones on a whim or flying from Wilmington to Wichita (neither of which is exactly a Delta hub). This is he.

I don't want to profile anyone, but that hairstyle says "YouTuber" to me. I'm even more convinced I'm right when he tells Max and Nev he created an "online persona" called Zak Awry, who is "an over-the-top cliché [sic] gay guy," but as far as I can tell, he only uses it for blogging, Facebook, and (barely) Twitter. (He uses Zaktastic18 on Instagram and Snapchat but if he doesn't bother to link to them, why should I?) Anyway, the alleged genesis of the Zak Awry profile was "some drama amongst Facebook friends," because nothing says you're rising above messy personal shit like coming up with a stereotypical character based on yourself and using it to post online. But then he says the drama was that he was accused of being "over-the-top," and that he then made the Zak Awry profile so it could be as gay as Zak Prime really wanted to be, so is that "overly gay" or just "baseline gay"? I cannot follow this guy's story.

Whatever: the Zak profile took off -- which, in this case, means he was constantly getting propositioned, often with dick pics. Then one day Zak posted a thirst trap and Garrett posted a comment that charmed Zak...

...somehow, despite being a joke, like, fifteen years past its prime. So, again, if Garrett exchanged "I love you"s and engaged in marriage talk with Zak but was privately wary of his intentions given that Zak seems to derive a lot of his self-worth from the attention he attracts online, it's understandable.

Naturally, given all Garrett's sketchiness, Nev has to ask what it is about him that has caused Zak to give him this much leeway, and Zak yammers, "I can't explain it! He just has this air of trust around him."

Uh huh. You let him skate because he's cute. You might as well say it since it's not like we don't know.

The Investigation

None of Garrett's pics have matches on Google. No matches on either Garrett's current or former phone number. Max and Nev then backtrack to a Google search on his full name -- how banal! -- and get a result on a track and field athlete who's in the eleventh grade. I'm not sure why we see this surname when normally it's redacted, but anyway: they don't seem as concerned as they should be that twenty-seven-year-old Zak might be talking marriage with a kid who could be as young as sixteen.

Max and Nev then try to load Garrett's Facebook page, and get a message that it "isn't available right now." Neither is his Instagram. So they call Zak to see if he can load either of those profiles; he can't either, and all the evidence points to Garrett's having taken them offline. Nev and Max can't figure out why Garrett would have done that, so Zak has to admit he posted on Facebook that he was in L.A. -- because, once again, they've flown Zak there instead of going to Delaware themselves -- and, when Garrett texted to ask what he was doing there, Zak told Garrett he'd written in to the show.

Sorry to give you a seizure at the "reveal" that Zak loves attention. Nev and Max seem annoyed that Zak has made their non-job harder by blowing up his own spot like this, and after he says that he hasn't heard back from Garrett since he blabbed about the show, they get him off the phone so they can get back to it without their usual crutches.

Max "gets" the "idea" of searching the URL for Garrett's Facebook page to see if it's linked anywhere, and find cached versions of his Instagram and Facebook profiles. Even less credibly, they go a circuitous route to find out the identity of a person who's barely visible in the background of one of Garrett's photos: an Alexander, who also lives in Wichita, whom they message through his Facebook profile, and who hits them back immediately. Asked whether he's friends with Garrett, Alex asks, "You mean Gary?" Nev sends him the photo of Garrett with Alex, and Alex says they do drag together. (That show would be way more interesting than this one, btw.) Alex also denies that his name is Garrett Hartman, saying it's actually Gary Michael. I mean, the latter definitely sounds more like a fakey stage name à la Lea Michele, but okay. Alex tells them to ask "Gary" himself whatever else they want to know... they Google the extremely phony-sounding name Gary Michael and find he actually does have a Facebook profile with that name, and with a profile pic that's definitely the same face they just saw all over Garrett's cached Instagram. "He doesn't come across as flamboyant as he did in his profile that we saw," Nev opines, and like...maybe try not to use that extremely loaded word in an episode about gay people, UH DUH.

But where Nev is going is to suggest that "Garrett Hartman" is Gary Michael's version of Zak Awry, if Gary's not actually out -- and indeed, the photos in his album here are very dull by comparison. When they mouse over one of them, they get a preview of a profile for someone named Katie, and it does seem from her photo album that she's spent time with Gary IRL; they message her too, and she also calls them right away. She does know Gary Michael, but when they say Zak's been talking to Gary for a while, she's never heard of Zak, and doesn't think it sounds like Gary: "I mean if Gary was talking to anyone, he would tell me. He's my best friend." She asks how long Gary and Zak have supposedly been talking, and says that "some stuff went down with Gary's ex" a few months ago.

This entailed "putting pictures of Gary out there and sending them to people." She wishes she could help them clear this up, but it sounds like this is the extent of her information. BUT WAIT, WHAT DOES MRS NEV THINK jk you will have to find that out elsewhere (you won't find it out anywhere, no one cares, fire Mrs. Nev...INTO THE SUN).

The Presentation Of Findings

After more filler-y business involving Zak and then Nev doing Pilates -- JUST MAKE THE SHOW HALF AN HOUR LONG, JESUS CHRIST -- they post up in a meeting room at the gym or studio or whatever the hell to tell Zak what they were able to uncover without the benefit of the social media profiles his big mouth made Garrett take offline. Zak has no reaction to any of it until he hears that Alex knows Garrett as Gary; he's never seen the Gary Michael profile, nor heard of Gary's friend Katie. He's also hurt to hear that Gary's never said anything to Katie about Zak since "all [Zak's] friends know about him." Zak also didn't know anything about Gary going through an acrimonious breakup four months ago. They suggest that Zak could be talking to the ex-boyfriend posing as Gary, to which he has no response (and for which Nev and Max have only circumstantial evidence anyway).

So then it's time for Nev to call Garrett. Is he interested in Zak? He is. Is his name Garrett or Gary? After a long pause, Garrett or Gary says he has a lot of things to explain to Zak. And! He wants to meet up! He DOESN'T have a lot going on!

There is a second time-filling Mrs. Nev segment here. Raaaaaaaaaage.

The Confrontation

So first there's yet more filler: in an extremely fake sequence, a producer who was to have picked up Garrett at the airport says he wasn't there, and everyone pretends they don't know if he even got on his flight, and then there's a knock at the gate of Zak's Airbnb and...

Of course he got on his flight! He had the address, so he just got in a cab and made his own way there! Here's where one must start suspecting the foundation of this entire episode, because: Garrett had the address? I mean, I guess it's possible a producer gave it to him just in case, but then wouldn't the producer have said that when she called Nev? But: since we already know that Zak hasn't exactly been practising opsec procedures throughout the filming process, isn't it probably more likely that he was the one who gave Garrett the address...and might we then extrapolate from there that these two pulled a Whitney & Bre, minus the part where they got caught (or the show looked the other way)?

Whatever: Garrett is Garrett. So why wouldn't he FaceTime? For two years, he was in a long-distance online relationship with someone in Georgia. When he flew that guy out to Wichita for a visit, said guy got a call at 3 AM from some OTHER guy, and that led Garrett to end things; this is, of course, the ex who hacked his Facebook account to fuck with him. (I know I keep bringing this up, but I really object to the use of the term "hacking" in these circumstances when we know from past episodes that sharing login credentials is something stupid kids now do as a proof of fidelity or some shit.) Anyway: this experience has understandably made Garrett leery of online relationships, though that still doesn't really explain why he wouldn't show HIS face and instead made HIMSELF seem shady. But Nev doesn't point that out, instead bringing up the Gary profile. Garrett basically says that's for his family, who don't all know he's gay. He didn't want to let Zak down by letting him know he's somewhat closeted, or by putting his face on case Zak didn't like what he saw, I guess? These seem like two separate issues to me, but I don't claim to understand the intricacies of internalized homophobia and self-hatred. Garrett adds that the other reason he was hesitant to videochat was that Zak also has two Facebook profiles, and Garrett's like

Fair cop.

As for why Katie said she doesn't know anything about Zak, Garrett says it's because she doesn't. ...Or because he told her to say that to sell their cover story? And as for why he took his social media profiles offline yesterday: he "got the call" and "freaked out." ...Or he thought that would make it harder for Nev and Max to confirm or disprove the true extent of his relationship with Zak? As for why Garrett demurred when Zak offered to fly out and meet him: when Garrett came out to his parents, they told him he should continue acting like "their straight son," so he didn't want their first meeting to occur under those circumstances. ...So these circumstances are a lot more pleasant?

tl; dr: Garrett didn't want to be vulnerable again after his bad experience with the ex from Georgia. ...Or Zak and Garrett cooked this up for a free trip to meet each other.

The Post-Confrontation Conversation

Nev and Max go inside so that Zak and Garrett can chat alone in the yard. Which they do, holding hands. Now that he's met Zak, Garrett's all in and ready to move forward in their relationship.


And then some!

The Aftermath

One month later...

Garrett and Zak are together in Delaware; Garrett bought his ticket to come visit Zak right after filming, since they didn't get to spend enough time together then, and they're in love and happy and maybe moving somewhere other than Delaware at some point. Hooray!

The Life Lessons Learned

Having more than one Facebook profile makes people doubt your identity. There are more compelling romantic gestures than moving to Delaware. The only person who can pull off a side mullet is Cameron Esposito.

Readers liked this episode
What did you think?


Explore the Catfish forum or add a comment below.