Will Catfish Help Colleen And Tony Ford The Distance Between Spokane And Baton Rouge?
Colleen has doubts about Tony's identity...but Tony also has doubts about Colleen's......and since she admits to Max and Nev that she pretty much started out lying to them, is there anyone in this story who's trustworthy?
Colleen, age 20, of Spokane.
Tony, age 27, who until recently lived in Lakewood, WA.
Since meeting three years ago on Plenty Of Fish (and I guess the fact that they did meet on Plenty Of Fish is now a clue unto itself at this point now, right?) and finding out they lived a few hours' drive apart, he'd never agree to meet. They've never videochatted. She has two different phone numbers for him. He "has no social media."
Recently Tony admitted that since he and Colleen started talking, he moved out of Washington and is now living in Baton Rouge. Re videochat: "'Bad connection.' 'I'm busy today.'" Seems like Colleen's willing to overlook a lot, though, now that she and Tony broke up; she started seeing someone else; then she and Tony got back together, and...got engaged? Despite having only texted and talked on the phone?
Okay, so, a couple of things before we start. First: Colleen is asked two different times how she'll feel if it turns out Tony doesn't look like his photos -- for instance:
Both times Colleen replies that she's more worried about finding out that Tony's two-timing her than she is about his appearance -- she's in love with Tony's personality -- but still: asking once is SOP; twice is very suggestive of how much more producers know about Tony than we're seeing up top.
Second: as soon as Max and Nev get to her house, Colleen admits that she hasn't been totally honest with them: "We've only been seeing each other for, like, three months." Reasonably, Max and Nev ask why. Colleen, who, I regret to inform you, has both a very flat, uninflected, dopey manner of speaking and resting dumbface...
...says she didn't want them to judge her, since the timeline she originally presented wasn't accurate: it sounds like she only started seeing Tony after breaking up with this other dude, not that they had a long relationship that preceded their reconciliation and whirlwind engagement; Tony proposed, and Colleen accepted, after they'd only been talking for a month.
Colleen's right to be cautious: I do judge her. Not as much as I do ol' Exchange "I Love You"s On Day 4 Ari, but still.
So: this is the omni-suspicious spirit Max and Nev bring to their local indie coffee shop to spend three or four minutes pretending they know what the fuck they're doing. None of Tony's photos return any search results. Nev: "Let's use the only other information that we currently have, which is his phone numbers." Good grief. Both have 509 area codes, which put them in the Spokane area, but the first doesn't have any other information attached to it. The editor tries to add some zazz by putting a big sting on the soundtrack when this search yields all kinds of results -- that it belongs to a Tim [Different Last Name] who's in his mid-sixties, with a bunch of possible relatives, none of whom is named Tony -- but like, has this sketchy search engine they use for phone numbers ever supplied any usable information other than whether what is supposedly a mobile number is actually a (fake) land line? Remember that OTHER Tony they tracked to some random address for what turned out to be literally no reason? Spoiler alert: nothing comes of this baloney either.
"We are in the weeds," sighs Max. "What else can we search for?" How about A REASON THIS EPISODE MADE IT TO AIR WITH SO LITTLE DATA OR SO THE SHOW'S PRODUCERS WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE WHEN IT IS CLEAR THERE IS MUCH WE ARE NOT BEING TOLD????? But I digress. They have nothing else, so in the latest proof of the Suspect-ization of Catfish, Nev's like, let's just call Tony. So they do! Tony picks right up (in and of itself worthy of a side-eye in terms of who is the actual client who set this episode in motion), and when Nev explains that they're "sleuthing" on behalf of Colleen, Tony -- who doesn't sound like he's in his mid-sixties -- asks, "Is she with you?" Nev assures him that she's not, and starts interrogating Tony. He is in Baton Rouge. His POF profile still lists him as living in Spokane because he used to live there. (Not really an answer, but okay, I guess.) He hasn't tried to meet Colleen in person because he has "reservations about whether or not [they] should move forward" since she may not be the person he thought she was. Here's Tony's side of the story: Colleen initially told him that she was twenty-five; she didn't admit that she's twenty until after they got engaged. Nev:
Tony goes on to say that Colleen is "irresponsible with her money." She made it seem like she was about to get a promotion, but then after they got engaged, she got fired instead. Tony says he's been "supporting her" since, but given that their engagement is only two months old, that adds up to "three hundred, four hundred bucks," which to me doesn't seem like a vast sum to share with someone whose finances are presumably about to commingle with your own anyway -- though maybe that's Tony's point. As for videochatting, Tony confirms that he's been the one who's resisted doing it, because he's "kind of insecure." Nev asks point blank, "Are the pictures she's seen of you really you, and Tony immediately replies.
Max: not buying it. Tony says his boss is coming and they hang up, damage done.
Nev and Max seem like they're pretty sure Colleen is about as sketchy as Tony (with the caveat that he may just be lying to them to buy himself more time) -- but they seem more scandalously thrilled about all of it than indignant about their time being wasted like they sometimes try to make us think they are.
Since Max and Nev pretty much have nothing to tell Colleen, they pretty quickly get to Tony's claims about her and invite her to rebut them. "My profile says twenty, I never told him I was twenty-five," mumbles Colleen in her flat, mushmouthed way. "In fact, I've been talking about my twenty-first birthday for the past two months." That would be since their engagement, so the timeline confirms Tony's report, at least. "And you're not lying to us right now?" "No, not at all," blahs Colleen. (Am I being too mean about this? It's not like she can't modulate her voice, she just doesn't, and either that makes her sound dumb, or she's dumb. Even dumber than the norm for a person on this show.) Nev notes that he and Max wouldn't be so inclined to believe Tony if she hadn't, you know, lied in her email to the show (that we're supposed to think she sent even though it seems very obvious Tony actually initiated things); she gets it, but insists she never told Tony she was twenty-five. She confirms that she did lose her job (though Max doesn't bring up the promotion Tony expected her to get), but denies that she asked Tony for money; according to her, he volunteered to send her some, over her objections, and that it was something like $75. She's so dismayed by Tony's accusations that she wonders, "Could this be the end of...us?" NO, NOT THAT -- NOT THEIR BEAUTIFUL THREE-MONTH LOVE AFFAIR!!!
Nev declares that since they've been lied to before, they're not going to take sides, and will do what they promised, which is bring Colleen and Tony together. Not sure I follow their logic, but then again, the alternative is for him to say, "We're at the halfway point, so we might as well just forge ahead instead of chucking out the episode entirely." Nev takes off to call Tony and try to set up a meeting and Tony literally says, in so many words, "I've got a lot on my plate right now and I'm working." Buddy, just one or the other. Sleep-Deprived New Parent Nev can't pretend to have any patience for this shit: "Yeah, I've heard all that before." As Nev pressures him to step up for the woman Tony claims to love, Tony finally confesses that he lied about his pictures. But, as you know since you're watching this, Tony says he does want to meet Colleen.
As you may have seen in the promos, Tony's house is made to look sketchy because the windows are boarded up.
But then it seems like it's just a precaution against storms -- they're in Louisiana, after all -- and it never comes up again.
We know the person who comes out to meet Colleen isn't going to be the guy in the photos. So who does?
In an actually cute moment, Max and Colleen kvell.
Max: "Good-looking guy!" Colleen: "Right? Why would he lie?" It's definitely the one and only time that a conventionally attractive person on this show represented himself with the photos of a different conventionally attractive person. Nev can tell this is going to go well and, for once, is happy to introduce Colleen and Max...
...WHO GODDAMMIT ARE KIND OF ACTUALLY ADORABLE. (Don't worry: it doesn't last, but maybe not for the reason you'd expect.) Tony is nervous but giddily dumbstruck to be looking at Colleen in person. She's clearly not displeased with the look of him, but she wants him to explain the discrepancy between what he told Max and Nev about her (about her age, and the money he supposedly sent her) and what she told them in response. He apologizes and says he was scared: "I kind of just made it up as I went along, which wasn't the most honest thing to do. I have a lot of self-esteem issues, and I was kind of insecure that you wouldn't accept me for who I am." "Who are you?" asks Max curiously. "Jeremy Antonio [BEEEEEP]," he replies. Name change alert! Please adjust your settings.
Let's get through the rest of the lies and sketchiness so we can get down to the loooooove. Why is Jeremy trying to meet women in Spokane? He used to live in Washington and always planned to move back there eventually; having a love interest there would give him a reason to. Why didn't he use his own real photos on his dating profile? "I wanted to see if it would work....I'm not a stereotypical black guy," says Jeremy, weirdly. I don't think anyone would say of himself, "I am a stereotypical black guy," since what does that even mean? But I guess his point is that he likes dating white women, of which there are plenty who date cute black guys who wear shawl collar sweaters and watch sci-fi movies, I would think. However, Jeremy says it hasn't been his experience that white women accept his nerdy leanings, so what do I know. Colleen says that she and Jeremy have a lot in common and that he should have let her be the judge of whether they'd be a good match. He's sorry and prays she forgives him, and I'm sorry, but the fact that he's cute definitely plays into her reply that she will if he stops lying as opposed to claiming she can't get past it as she might if he were missing an ear and most of his teeth or whatever the fuck. But why focus on the harsh realities of our lookist culture when Jeremy's reply is to drop right down to one knee and propose to Colleen in person?!
"Colleen, these last couple months changed my life. I never want to lie to you. I just want to make you happy. I'm sorry. I'll do anything to keep moving forward with you. Do you still want to marry me?" She does. Finally, they hug, which is when you remember that these two idiots are talking about marriage and we are literally witnessing the very first time they have TOUCHED.
You know who doesn't seem weirded out by that? Nev, who may be more gratified by this outcome than either Jeremy or Colleen is. He's eager to get out of the way and let Colleen and Jeremy start their life together, but then Colleen's like, "Is there anything else I need to know?" and Jeremy's like, oh yeah, I want you to meet my family, and nbd but they don't approve of interracial relationships and you're the only white woman I've dated that they've ever met. WHOOPS. I guess Jeremy figures that since his first big disclosure went so well, there's no point slow-playing the rest?
Fortunately, Colleen is down, and they all get right into Nev's rental car to go straight over to Jeremy's sister Meka's
house Airbnb IMMEDIATELY. Again: Jeremy and Colleen are having their big family meeting minutes after they met in person themselves. They haven't even kissed yet. They've hugged once. They could discover in a few hours that they're actually not that into each other after all -- it happens! -- so it seems like they're skipping over a lot of steps. But no one asked me, so: Couch Time at Meka's!
Jeremy has texted Meka on his way over to say he was en route with Catfish, but that's all she knows when Jeremy's cousin Jordan ushers them in. After some brief introductions, Jeremy -- who I now think may have orchestrated this entire thing just to arrange for a crew of buffers to be present for this -- sits in silence while Nev gives a brief account of Jeremy and Colleen's relationship, before Jeremy adds his button: "I asked Colleen to marry me."
We Are All Meka. Jeremy doesn't help himself by behaving as if he thinks he is being ADORABLE.
Max adds that, until a few hours ago, Colleen didn't know what Jeremy looked like.
Jordan seems amused to learn that Jeremy used a white guy's photos on his POF profile, but Meka is DISGUSTED. Unbecomingly uptalking, Jeremy explains, "I felt more comfortable? Talking to her? When she was under the impression that I was not black." "Something wrong with black people?" asks Meka -- of Jeremy, I think, but it certainly doesn't seem like a huge leap for Meka to understand Jeremy's statement as reflecting VERY badly on Colleen, who never got the chance to express that she isn't prejudiced against dating anyone, regardless of race, until Jeremy orchestrated their in-person meeting -- BECAUSE HONESTLY THAT'S DEFINITELY WHAT HAPPENED, RIGHT? Colleen doesn't answer, so evidently Meka was addressing Jeremy, who mumbles, "I just don't mesh well with women of the same--" "The same what?" hisses Meka. "Race," Jeremy lamely concludes, looking down. This guy is twenty-seven?
"Hm," says Meka contemptuously, for us all. "I mean, I like what I like, I can't help it," says Jeremy. Dude, it's fine! Also it's a moot point because you and Colleen are FOR SURE getting married, right????? But Jeremy has to keep talking, condescendingly: "I mean, I like what I like, I can't help it. It's just that black women I meet, they don't get my sarcasm, and that I like to read comic books, and I like to play golf. I like to do stuff that's kind of, like, against the norm." See, after that, does Colleen like Jeremy less? I definitely do. Meka: "What, we too ignorant, 'cause we black, we don't understand you?" Honestly. It's fucking golf, it's THE LEAST INTERESTING THING ABOUT ANYONE WHO PLAYS IT. She goes on to say she thinks Jeremy should have just been able to come over and tell her about his interest in white women generally and Colleen in particular without bringing these two boners and all their gear-toting friends (I'm paraphrasing). "Why are we here?" she demands. Jeremy says he had the feeling his family would be more accepting of him if he married a black woman, to which Meka asks how he got that impression, and says she's hurt that he thinks she's prejudiced.
Finally, Meka and Jordan turn their attention to Colleen, asking what she thinks now that she's come all this way and found out Jeremy's black. "I don't care," says Colleen, weirdly -- and rudely -- covering her mouth as she answers?
Maybe both these socially delayed morons deserve each other. "You told him you would marry him," says Meka. "You said 'yeah.' Why would you say 'yeah'?" Immediately replace Max AND Nev with Meka. I am serious. "'Cause I really have feelings for him," says Colleen. I didn't hear "love"? Meka wants to know what makes Jeremy think he and Colleen are ready for marriage, and Jeremy admits that the proposal was impulsive (great start): "But, I mean, time has passed since then too." "Time has passed and y'all have not...even been together," Meka wisely points out. "Y'all been over the internet." Jeremy claims to know it's not the same as being together physically. Max prompts Jeremy and Colleen with a question about whether they've talked about living together; Jeremy says they have, and Colleen volunteers, "I really don't want to move out of Washington." Dumb mistake or intentional sabotage as she tries to get away from John Daly over here? Jordan finally rouses himself to ask if Jeremy's really going to move back to Washington, and Jeremy says he might.
By now Meka's started crying that Jeremy didn't feel he could come talk to his sister about all of this. Jeremy shakes his head. Nev confirms that what Meka's upset about isn't Colleen's race as if she hasn't already covered that, but Meka says again that she's not. Jeremy finally says he's sorry he lies to everyone, and asks for a minute. Nev suggests that he take Colleen outside, and the moment Jeremy and Colleen rise from the couch and he ineptly tries to take her hand just underlines once again that these two have spent zero time together and this is all fucking absurd. But outside, he at least manages to put his hands on her hips as he checks that she's not having second thoughts, and then SHE starts crying about making his sister feel that he's running away from her.
Inside, Meka the breakout star is still grossed out that Jeremy would use a white person's pictures on his POF profile, and she is right about this as she has been about everything else.
Outside, we get to witness Jeremy and Colleen's first kiss, and it is SCORCHING.
Jeremy and Colleen trudge back inside for Nev to try, lamely, to wrap things up. He thanks them all for sitting down to have this uncomfortable conversation occasioned by Jeremy's incorrect assumptions about his closest loved ones and inflated ideas about his own complexity (whoops, I'm paraphrasing again). Meka: "Whatever y'all do, however, whatever, that's totally up to y'all. I'm going to still love my brother, and if you happen to become one of the family members, I'm going to have to deal with you too." Max cracks up, because he doesn't care. Colleen, with as much emotion as we've seen her muster, tells Meka she doesn't want to take Jeremy away from her (because he's not worth taking, just saying), and goes on and on about wanting to get to know Meka and have her over to meet her own family. "Thank you," says Meka, who does not want any of that to happen.
The crew leave Jordan and Meka inside the furnished rental; on the lawn, Jeremy hugs Max and Nev, and then gives Colleen a long hug before she tells him to go in and talk to his sister and she'll see him later. Will she? I...don't really care.
Two months later, Colleen and Jeremy are still trying to work things out with their relationship...which may be easier in the near term since he's actually at Colleen's when Nev and Max Skype her. He has a job interview while he's there, so his plan to move back to Washington is progressing. If and when they do get married, Colleen wants Nev and Max to come to the wedding. "Wow, we'd love to come to your wedding!" lies Nev.
Don't get engaged to someone you've never met, at all. Definitely don't get engaged to someone you've only been talking to for a month. Don't send a stranger money. Don't ask a stranger to send you money. Don't bring an MTV camera crew to essentially accuse your sister of being prejudiced against other races. Don't think your hobbies make you more interesting than other people you've made up in your own mind. Don't date Jeremy.