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Will Catfish Help Tear Vince And Alyssa Asunder For Good?

Vince's online ex-girlfriend is so clingy that Vince's real-life girlfriend broke up with him. Can Catfish help Vince and Alyssa meet for the first time so he can tell her to get lost in a way she can understand?

The Client

Vince, of Ohio.

The Ex-Beloved

Alyssa, of Indiana.

The Clues

Vince and Alyssa -- who started "dating" shortly after she randomly friended him on Facebook -- never videochatted in the year they were a "couple." Even though they only live about a three-hour drive apart, they never managed to meet in person, though Vince said they tried to twenty different times.

The Excuses

Vince said he never wanted to videochat with Alyssa because he wanted the first time they saw each other's faces in motion to be when they met in real life. And that never happened because "she always had an elaborate excuse."

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Either these aren't representative or Vince thinks "elaborate" means "banal." Also, Alyssa had an even harder time making and keeping plans after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then so was Alyssa, though she did keep in touch with Vince via her cousin, Miranda; though Alyssa survived, her mother passed away.

Over time, Vince says, Alyssa grew more controlling and jealous and started picking fights, so he broke up with her, and shortly afterward started seeing a girl IRL whose name is Liz. Alyssa and Vince agreed to continue to be in contact as friends, but she made it clear that she wanted to get back together, had no respect for Vince's relationship with Liz, and continued calling and texting him at all hours. The intensity of Alyssa's attraction was such that Liz decided that something must be going on between Vince and Alyssa, and since she felt she couldn't trust Vince anymore, Liz ended their year-and-a-half-long relationship -- and, just five days later, Vince wrote in to the show. He's hoping that if he can finally meet Alyssa in person and convince her that they're really finished romantically, Liz might consider giving him another chance.

The Investigation

Max and Nev go through the info Vince has equipped them with -- which isn't a lot -- and start by calling Liz, since Vince has indicated that she works nights. When they get her voicemail and leave her a message, they move on to where it all began: Alyssa's Facebook page.

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Right away, they find a photo with a clue.

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Though the edges are kind of obscured by Alyssa's boobs, that does read "SACRAMENTO." Then there's this.

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I obviously get being sad about a loved one's death, but why put a photo this narcissistic on your Facebook page? Why take it in the first place?! They read the name on the marker and Google it...

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...immediately producing his obituary, and more information suggesting that Alyssa may not actually live in Indiana: it says the late Charles is survived by, among others, his niece Alyssa [Redacted], and though we don't hear her last name, it's not the same as Vince's Alyssa. Nev Googles the Alyssa named in Charles's obituary and finds her Facebook page.

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The apparently real Alyssa -- whose page shows a bunch of the same photos they already saw on Vince's Alyssa's profile -- not only lives in Sacramento; she's also married. The idea that this Alyssa and Vince's Alyssa might be the same person is never entertained, but that doesn't stop Max and Nev looky-looing her videos, starting with one where she talks about having been bullied so much that she started self-harming in her youth. After a brief gawk at her pain, Max and Nev message her about the episode.

Only at this point do Max and Nev remember they have "Alyssa"'s phone number, I guess, and when they search it, they find it registered to a Miranda, JUST LIKE ALYSSA'S COUSIN.

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Honestly, if you've seen this show two times before, you probably already called that one. But they don't get to spend much time gloating while they look at Miranda's Facebook page, because that's when the real Alyssa Skypes them. She tells them this isn't the first time someone's stolen her photos, and that she doesn't know anyone in Ohio or Indiana and isn't the person who's been talking to Vince. When they've finished speaking to her and arranged to meet Liz in the morning, Max and Nev close up the investigation pretty sure they've solved it and that "Alyssa" is, in fact, Miranda.

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And when Max and Nev sit down with Liz the next morning, she obviously doesn't have much information to confirm or deny their suspicions, though she has communicated with both Alyssa and Miranda. She is, however, a rich source of SCANDAL. She tells Max and Nev that she'd known Vince for a while as friends before they started dating, but that Alyssa was always the third person in their relationship the whole time she was seeing Vince, and that it was basically impossible for her not to be jealous when she'd see text messages from Alyssa like "I wish you were here licking my pussy."

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Seems like Nev at least gives Alyssa a few style points for that one. "And then her cousin gets involved too, and starts talking to me," Liz adds.

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And, not subtly! Liz says she shut that conversation down, and Miranda didn't try to contact her at all after that.

Then they've arrived at the very recent past, and the still-less-than-a-week-old breakup. Liz says that Vince told her he was going to be on Catfish and she didn't understand why...because at no point had Vince told her that he and Alyssa hadn't ever actually met. "He lied to me this whole relationship," she cries. He had multiple stories about times, plural, he had gone to see Alyssa: "Like he told me, like, he went to her aunt's house, and her aunt's house was nice, and all of it's a lie." She concludes by saying that she still loves Vince, but that he's disappointed her: "How can you love them and never met them?"

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Nev decides to make himself Vince's attorney, saying, "There is a stigma and embarrassment that a lot of people feel when they've never met the person." Well...they should? Isn't that the point of this show, more or less -- that they shouldn't be so gullible and defenseless online? He adds, "I think it's worth putting in your mind that a lot of the decisions and mistakes Vince has made in terms of your relationship with him, I think, have been, sadly, very influenced by this dark, manipulative force that's been in his life for the past three years. He's really been taken advantage of and hurt by this, probably much more than he's let on to any of us, but you especially. So just don't write him off. I think you guys might make this work." Remember this later -- or, actually, you probably won't need to, because this show never tires of reminding us that Nev is a TERRIBLE judge of character.

The Presentation Of Findings

Nev and Max lead with Liz's report of Vince's lie about having met Alyssa, and Vince readily admits that he was stupid, adding that he felt bad about it: "I'm not that type of guy, and I don't keep secrets." He didn't want Liz to judge him, he says. Nev and Max accept this explanation at face value and move right the fuck on...

...to the cemetery photo. Max asks what Alyssa told Vince about it; Vince says they didn't talk about it, but adds, "I'd like to see what it says, like is there any way we can rotate it?" Okay, guys? Here's that photo again.

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You don't need to rotate it: the name "Charles" is clearly legible, and his last name would be even MORE legible because it's closer to the camera. Rotate this, Vince: either you were too unobservant to read a clue, or you were too willfully ignorant to read a clue, or your relationship was so superficial that you didn't bother to ask her about the deceased party whose grave she was moved to lie on. (I mean, I understand that "Alyssa" isn't actually bereaved, but from the sounds of it, he didn't even care to give Miranda the opportunity to make up a story about it because he was so self-involved.) Anyway, this is Max and Nev's opening to tell Vince all about the real Alyssa, in Sacramento, who is married. "She's married," Vince repeats ruefully. "We want to just...make sure...you get that," says Nev. "Right," says Vince. "...What do you mean?" Ugh, this fucking idiot. "So you're thinking, 'Oh my god, this girl that's been talking to me is married,' and you're trying to work that out," guesses Max (correctly). "But this is not the person you're talking to." To cover his disappointment, Vince's tone turns sarcastic as he asks whether they found out who the real Alyssa is, but first, Nev decides to step on Vince's bruise by playing the video he recorded of his conversation with the real Alyssa in which she denies any knowledge of Vince, which is sufficiently upsetting that it sends him outside to smoke and collect his thoughts, which are...the usual. "Don't feel bad that someone lied to you," says Nev. "That's not your fault." And, okay, it's true that it's not Vince's fault someone lied to him, but it is his fault that he was so incurious and self-deluded that he believed the liar.

Since you're watching this, you know Vince would still like to find out who "Alyssa" is, so he and Nev go back inside to resume the recap (leave it to the professionals). Vince is bummed to find out that "Alyssa" is probably Miranda, but he wants to meet her and find out why she couldn't tell him the truth, even though if you've seen this show one time before, you can almost certainly guess.

For once, Nev's conversation is actually worth watching, because he just puts it all out on front street: "Hi! This is Nev. I'm looking for Miranda?" HAHAHA! "UM, this is ALYSSA," says "Alyssa." "Okay," says Nev. (Hee.) After telling her they're in Ohio trying to help Vince, she puts on her snottiest tone to say that he's her ex-boyfriend, like, THEY KNOW. "So what we've done in the last day is pretty much determine that your name is not, in fact, Alyssa, and that you're a girl named Miranda," says Nev, and when "Alyssa" is like, "UM," Nev cuts her off: "That's not a question so much as a statement." Put your hands up for Nev channeling his inner Max! He starts to tell her that meeting in person would give her a chance to tell her side of the story, but she has a question first.

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The captions don't really capture her tone, which is closer to "DID HE BREAK UP WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND?!" "I don't see how that's relevant," says Nev, instead of telling her that Liz and Vince did break up and ratcheting up the dramz. "Why does he needs to see me if he has a girlfriend?" asks "Alyssa" tauntingly.

Meanwhile, inside, Vince is still reacting: "I don't know what to feel, man. Obviously, it's over. Like, I know that I would never have a relationship with Alyssa." Max:

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"But...this wasn't about you having a relationship with Alyssa, was it?" he asks. "It's just...no," says Vince evasively. "I just wanted to end it, you know? I just wanted to get back together with Liz," but he can't even hold Max's gaze for that last line, looking back out through the back door window at Nev on the phone. Max:

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HMMMMMMMMM.

And, outside, "Alyssa" tells Nev she's willing to meet. PHEW, I WAS WORRIED THERE FOR A SECOND. And as the journey to Indiana begins, Vince, for one, is REAL psyched to have it out.

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Vince is obviously very proud of this line...

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...while Max and Nev give him nothing and both seem like they're about done with this psycho.

The Confrontation

We already know that the Alyssa from the photos on the Facebook account Vince knew is not the person he's about to meet. But is it, in fact, Miranda who emerges to meet him?

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Of course it is. Vince asks why Miranda did all this, and her answer is such an exact duplicate of the three dozen other Catfish stories that ended this exact way that Miranda can hardly imbue what she's saying with any emotion at all: "It's hard to talk to somebody as myself, so behind a screen it's easier to talk to people. I didn't do any of this to hurt you at all, and I'm pretty sure you are hurt. And I'm sorry." "You caused Liz and I to break up because she felt like she couldn't trust me anymore," says Vince. "So not only did you hurt me, but you hurt her as well." "I do feel bad," says Miranda, not sounding even a little remorseful; she defensively adds that it's why she agreed to meet. "Is anything you told me true?" asks Vince. "Yeah, everything I told you is true," says Miranda, except for, of course, the pictures." "Does that mean your mother recently passed away from breast cancer?" asks Nev. "That part-- No, that part was not true," says Miranda before he's even gotten the whole question out, because of course it's not; much like her apology speech, a grave health crisis is basic Catfish technique. Max exhales a bitter laugh at this correction, and Nev tries to tell her that's a pretty big lie. "Did you have cancer?" asks Max. Of course she didn't! Nev points out how empty her claim of truthfulness actually is. Miranda:

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Max moves on to the ways Miranda tried to interfere in Vince and Liz's relationship, when Vince just wanted to be Miranda's friend, at which point Miranda decides that'll do: "Well, you know, I've lied about stuff and everything, but he's not innocent."

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"He has flirted [with] me ever since he has been dating Liz," Miranda reveals. "And I have text messages to prove that. The things that he said in his text message, he shouldn't say that if he has a girlfriend." I guess this is Vince's nervous system's involuntary reaction to his realization that shit's about to turn against him.

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"He texted me saying stuff about playing with his 'rock-hard cock.'" Without much conviction, Vince shakes his head, to which Miranda replies, "I have that on text message, so you can't sit there and say that you didn't send it." AIR THE TEXT, CATFISH. They don't, of course. Amused and trying to hide it, Nev asks if Vince sent such a text, and as Miranda hectors that he might as well tell the truth since she has the evidence, Vince sheepishly admits, "Whatever, yeah, I did, I said that, but." That's obviously the end of the sentence because he has nothing else to add and doesn't know how the word "but" works. "WHILE you were dating Liz," Miranda adds. "He's told me that he would break up with Liz for me," says Miranda. "Obviously he didn't tell you guys that story?" "NOPE," says Max, immediately, because he started hating Vince yesterday and this is his proof that he was right. Miranda:

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"Whatever," mumbles Vince, and while Nev seems like he wants to start wrapping things up, Max isn't ready, and turns on Vince: "It's not 'whatever.' If you have this girl that you love so much that you've been having your relationship with for a year and a half, like, why are you sending pictures of your cock?" "I wasn't trying to get any kind of sexual conversation out of you," says Vince. Max, disgustedly: "Come on, Vince." MAAAAAAX! Miranda:

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Nev tries to cool things down by making a connection with Vince: "Don't pretend -- and I won't either -- that you're holier than any other guy ever. We're all the same here, okay?" Uh. Again, I have to thank sweet baby Jesus for Max: "Wait. Time out. I don't do that shit! Vince called us in under the pretense that he wanted to get this girl the hell out of his life because she's ruining his relationship with his girlfriend, who he loves sooooo much." Throughout this, Nev interjects his agreement with Max like he didn't just admit he's a scumbag too, finally hanging his head in deference to Max, Superior Man.

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"Come on, man, you're making me look like a fucking asshole," mutters Vince. "You're kind of making yourself...look pretty bad," says Max, who knows better than to swear on camera unless it's absolutely necessary -- which, in this case, it might be, and "fucking asshole" is one of the kinder things this commentator might choose to call Vince. "I mean, Liz had good reason to have suspicions about why you weren't blocking Alyssa," Max points out. Vince tries to revive the narrative that he's called Catfish in order to reunite with Liz, but Max is not having it, telling Vince that he was carrying on a secret relationship on the side.

Now that Max has read Vince to absolute filth, Nev decides it's safe for his own romantically unethical ass to break in and say they should stop for the day.

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This kitty agrees.

In the car, a justly smug Max drawls, "You had to know that she was going to bring that up." "I understand," says Vince. "I fucked up. I get-- I get that. What are you trying to say here?" UHHHHHH, THAT YOU'RE GARBAGE? That you're a liar? That you've lied about a bunch of different shit just in the course of this episode alone? That your stated claim for getting on the show is horseshit? That Liz was right to dump you? That Nev and Max are not willing to help you get her back? "If you truly love somebody," says Max slowly, the better for Vince maybe to understand, "you've got to not do anything to compromise that. That shit will come out!" Again, Nev is silent, and though obviously I don't know anything about what Nev is like in relationships at all and would not speculate, if I were to learn that Nev is constantly Anthony Weinering up his Instagram and Twitter followers because he thinks he deserves frequent vagina upgrades, I would not be surprised. "Maybe I should just stay single," mopes Vince. To say the least! And if he's fishing for Nev or (much less likely) Max to argue with him, no one takes the bait.

The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

The next day, Vince comes to Nev or Max's hotel room to catch them up on what happened overnight, which is: he texted Liz and admitted that her suspicions about him were not entirely unfounded. Liz's response: "I'm just done. I'm ready to live my life. Lesson learned. And get out of my life." Vince adds, "She doesn't want any part of me." YEP, GOT IT. "Sorry, man," says Max, but you know he doesn't mean it. "Yeah, you know, it's hard," says Vince. YOU DID ALL OF THIS TO YOURSELF, NO ONE FEELS SORRY FOR YOUR TRIFLING ASS. Max notes that Vince might have been right the day before when he said it might be time for him to be single for a while (or forever, but that's me, not Max) (or at least Max doesn't say that out loud). "So I feel like I shouldn't be present today when you guys go talk to Miranda, 'cause now it just wouldn't matter to me at all," says Vince; he doesn't want her in his life. "Now that I know what she looks like and she no longer gives me a boner," he does not add. Instead of trying to talk him into getting closure or whatever, Nev and Max are like, BYE, because they hate him.

So with Vince in the first Uber they could find to drive him back to Ohio, Nev and Max go see Miranda on their own. And it's not that I don't believe Miranda, as a girl who's been overweight her whole life and suffered cruel bullying over it, has experienced real pain, but...we've heard this exact story many times. Miranda is a sad person who tried to make herself feel better by making fraudulent connections online; she's been doing so since she was fourteen. Then all of a sudden Nev's like, "If we can't help you really identify and understand the problem here, you'll--" "Start a new page!" Max finishes. "We want to help you find an alternative way to make yourself feel happy, because this is so easy and you're so good at it, it's going to be hard to stop doing it," Nev tells her. Since when is THIS part of Nev and Max's brief? You're not Jeff Van Vinederen, Nev. Stay in your lane. "Nobody cares," Miranda chokes, starting to cry. I mean, not that she says it, but she has to know even Max and Nev don't care, really -- for one thing, they just let her sit there and cry while they stare at her. She describes her feelings of worthlessness as an overweight woman, concluding, "It's so bad that I have contacted a guy that is in Miami, for plastic surgery! I found him on Snapchat?" Nev:

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Finally, he can remain in his seat no longer, and crosses the deck to the bench Miranda's sitting on (asking her to "slide over," which...like, maybe a gesture that doesn't involve this girl who's just spent several minutes talking about how uncomfortable she is in her body making room for his tiny ass). Nev tells Miranda, "First of all, do not trust a weird plastic surgeon that you found on Snapchat from Miami," as if the Miami part is the most alarming. But this breaks the tension and makes Miranda laugh. He then tells her that the way she looks, or the way anyone looks, doesn't change anything, and that contributing to the world in meaningful, positive ways will help her find love. ...Maybe? But what does he mean? What would he suggest? Sometimes I wonder how different this show would be if they replaced Nev with a stunning, confident, badass plus-size woman who can actually speak to the real experiences this class of liars have been through in a way that Nev the sometime model will just never understand, and therefore could possibly offer actually useful, concrete advice rather than this kind of vague bullshit. (Max can stay.) Conveniently, Max can tell Miranda truthfully that even the real Alyssa, a girl she thought was pretty enough to steal her photos, has ALSO been bullied. "In my eyes, there's nothing wrong with her," says Miranda. "She's beautiful." "That's the point," says Nev. "Everybody sees themselves differently." Anyway, Max urges Miranda not to be like the people who bullied her, and she says she's going to stop.

Hugs?

There are hugs.

The Aftermath

Two months later, Miranda has spoken neither to Vince nor to Dr. Snapchat. She says she hasn't been using any of her fake "accounts," plural, but I guess whoever she was deceiving with those ones are on their own.

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Vince, you are a chickenshit trash fire. Liz maybe got a new outfit and her makeup done professionally before her Skype date with the show.

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Liz, like Miranda, has also had no further contact with Vince, because he didn't make her happy. Nev: "Hey, if you can figure out how to get rid of things that don't make you happy, then you gotta do it."

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Liz is already "talking to somebody else." Smell you later, Vince, you fuckhandle! Hope you watched this whole episode playing with your rock-hard cock, since no one else wants to!

The Life Lessons Learned

Your online girl- or boyfriend doesn't have cancer. Your online girl- or boyfriend's mom almost certainly doesn't have cancer either. Don't make up fanciful stories about your online ex. Don't sext your online ex when you're seeing someone else. DON'T DATE VINCE.

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