Will Catfish Unite Country Boy Brandon With His Dream Girl McKenna?
Brandon got over his ex by getting deeply involved with a girl he met online -- and by 'deeply' we mean they've never even spoken on the phone.
First things first: Max is not in this episode. Wielding the toy camera this time is Karrueche, who seems to be a social media celebrity of some sort. She's actually pretty helpful and charming, which is why I don't recommend Googling her and finding out all about the various stupid feuds/known domestic abusers she's been involved with.
Brandon, a construction worker who lives in the boonies (a.k.a. Kalama, Washington).
McKenna, no occupation mentioned, who until recently lived near Brandon, but she moved to Florida a month ago.
Until recently, McKenna was texting Brandon using Kik on an iPod Touch because she didn't have a phone; she has one now, but they still haven't spoken. Before she moved to Florida, she and Brandon lived "ten minutes" away from one another, but they never met. She won't tell Brandon what city in Florida she currently lives in.
McKenna's parents are strict. Her father disabled most of her phone's multimedia functionality, so she can't use it to videochat or send photos, and Brandon hasn't been able to call her because the sound will wake up her family.
Before we start, some more background: Brandon was dating someone pretty seriously until, right after high school, she went away for a weekend and returned to tell Brandon that she'd cheated on him, and that their relationship was over. This was so devastating that he got seriously depressed -- he lost sixty pounds, he says -- but his Kik relationship with McKenna was starting to give him hope for the future again. Except it's also established that Brandon's eighteen, and that Nev and Karrueche are in Kalama, meeting him, over "a holiday" -- presumably Memorial Day or possibly the 4th of July. (It's not Labor Day, since we're about to find out this episode was filmed after October 6 of last year.) So even if Brandon was seventeen when he graduated, making this the second Independence Day since then, this breakup only happened around a year ago. They're vague about how long Brandon and McKenna have been talking, but: whatever it is, it's not long enough for Brandon to be saying he wants to McKenna back to Washington and move in with her (where? He lives with his parents).
Anyway, let's get on with it. Nev and Karrueche head to a combination laundromat/coffee shop and start by looking up the number on this phone McKenna allegedly just got. The site they use say the number is "unavailable," but Nev notes that it is a Florida area code. However, he also notices that the number is a landline, and conjectures that it probably means it's a web number -- Skype, Google Voice, what have you. So maybe McKenna's in Florida, like she told Brandon, but so far the evidence is not conclusive.
They move on to the photos, of which Brandon seems to have a bunch. The first two they try don't show any other instances online. But then, Nev suddenly "remembers" about photo metadata, which hasn't come up on the show in at least two seasons. But what do you know: a clue!
Who or what is "Dewey Que Te Den"? To Google! It is a person, he does have a Facebook page...
...and there's the supposed McKenna, right on it. Turns out she's actually Maria Perez, this Dewey dude's girlfriend.
Karrueche earns her paycheque by reacting...much. They follow a link from Dewey's page to Maria's, where they find one of the first "McKenna" shots they had searched, and learn that she lives in Spain. And then...that's it? That's literally all they do before deciding to go give Brandon an update, which is weird because we're about to see that they do have more data they could dig into? Seems premature???
Confronted by pretty iron-clad proof that his dream girl's face is not, in fact, the "angel" he's been jerking off to (I'm paraphrasing) for the past indeterminate length of time, Brandon is dismayed.
Karrueche asks whether it's a dealbreaker for Brandon, in terms of continuing this "relationship" with McKenna, to learn that the pictures he's received aren't actually of her, and he says, "I still want to figure out who it is," which is not quite what she asked. "Still confident that she is who she says she is," Brandon adds. I don't know what that means. She's already lied about her appearance. She hasn't even bothered to lie about where she lives because she just straight up hasn't told him. On the basis of what information is he making this judgment? I mean, other than the obvious: hope and denial.
All three of them then step outside, because all that's left to do is call her (according to Nev -- which, again, we're about to find out is not true). Of course he gets her voicemail, which the automated recording says is on something called TextIt, so: (a) not a phone, and (b) obviously Brandon's never even tried to phone before or he would have known that. I know there would be no show if these fucking dimwits didn't do the MINIMUM to find shit out on their own, but that Brandon couldn't even CALL A PHONE NUMBER is really suggestive of how much he actually doesn't want his illusions shattered.
Nev notes that "it's a holiday" and mooches an invitation to the barbecue Brandon's having, where Nev sits down with a bunch of Brandon's friends -- all girls, interestingly -- to talk about his current situation. One named Nikki says that Brandon "gets his heart broken, so then he tries to fill it with someone else, like, kinda moves on kinda thing." So: he's needy.
Across the yard, Brandon is admitting to Karrueche that he "based [McKenna's] personality" on how "she" looked in the pictures she sent. Translation: "If she were less cute, I would have been less interested in the kind of shit we talked about." He then starts whining about his ex again. Dude, you were seventeen. Did you think you were going to get married?
Back over to Nev's chat, where Nikki says she hopes things work out for Brandon and McKenna: "It seems like he's been through a lot of heartbreak, and if they are in love and it's real, you know, I hope that whatever they're both feeling is true, that it works out for him."
"No matter what, I care about this person," Brandon tells Karrueche. She says she's still rooting for Brandon and whomever McKenna turns out to be. And if you've watched this show before, you know the only reason these statements are included is so that they can be exposed as gigantic lies later!
It occurs to Nev the next day that there might be more leads in McKenna's Kik username, so they look up "KennaLove$Pink" to see if that appears anywhere else on the internet. And what do you know, there's a Twitter handle. It comes up with one of good old Maria's photos as an avatar, which is suggestive that it's the same person who used that handle on Kik. And then Karrueche notices something:
That would be Brandon. "This is a Snapchat story from back in November," Nev says, and reads, "She stole my bae from me, but he doesn't look that interested in her." HMMMM. Nev says they need to figure out who this brunette is, "because whoever McKenna is, she's probably friends with that girl, and clearly knows who Brandon is and has for way longer than they've been talking." Okay, so again, if November -- which, depending on which holiday you think they're celebrating, was either six or eight months ago -- is "way" before Brandon and McKenna "met" on Kik, then that makes all of Brandon's hopes for this relationship even more laughable. "So she's been, like, watching him," Karrueche surmises. "Sort of stalking him," says Nev.
Brandon hasn't talked to McKenna since Nev and Karrueche left him the day before; Nev adds that he hasn't gotten an answer to his voicemail either. Nev tells Brandon about "the one thing [they] kind of forgot to do yesterday" and explains about the Twitter feed. When they scroll down to that "bae" photo, it sure rings a bell.
Karrueche ingenuously asks, "That's you, yeah?" "Yeah, but that picture was never...anywhere on social media," Brandon stammers. Nev tells him it's a screengrab from Snapchat. "Who's the girl?" Nev asks. "That's...that's my ex," Brandon says. "So she follows your ex on Snapchat," Nev says. "Whoever you're talking to is keeping tabs on you and, like, are part of your community much more than I think you even realize," Nev adds, and says that's probably why the person doesn't want to talk to Brandon on the phone. (He resists suggesting that this might be because "McKenna" is a guy, which I wouldn't have been able to resist.)
Weirded out, Brandon asks whether they scrolled down any further, and Nev, Master Detective, says they stopped when they got to that photo to run it right over to Brandon's. Brandon asks them to keep scrolling, and Nev doesn't seem to think there's much to it -- "Talking about Harry Styles" -- but apparently there's more to that, per Brandon, than that KennaIsBasic: "Oh GAWD."
"There's this girl that is madly in love with me, since freshman year, and she's obsessed with Harry Styles," Brandon explains.
"Obsessed," Brandon repeats. Nev gently notes that this Kenna on Twitter seems to be into Harry Styles too, and Brandon mutters "oh god" again. "I wasn't interested in her at all," says Brandon. Karrueche asks whether she lives in the area, and Brandon says she does: "Her name is Kharece." (I guess my spelling it that way is a spoiler for the fact that we're going to get a chyron on her later, because Christ knows I never could have come up with THAT collection of letters for a name pronounced "Carice.") Nev asks whether it would make sense that she'd follow Brandon's ex on Snapchat, and he says that they were best friends before he and his ex started dating, but that Kharece was so obsessed with Brandon that his dating the ex destroyed the friendship. Good lord, Kharece. This guy? Expand your horizons.
"But you're not interested," says Nev. "Not at all," says Brandon. "Just not--" "Not your type?" Nev guesses. "Not at all," Brandon confirms. "Not one bit." Please remember all this in about three minutes.
Nev asks when Brandon last saw Kharece; it was last weekend: "She came over to my house to say hi....She randomly likes to drive by my house all the time. This girl's literally obsessed." Nev and Karrueche can't believe what they're hearing, I guess because they never met a seventeen-year-old girl with a driver's license? I mean, creating the whole McKenna persona is a lot, but everything else is pretty standard high school shit. Anyway, Nev says it certainly seems like "McKenna" is probably Kharece, but neither Karrueche nor Brandon need more convincing, Brandon stating that she's a "compulsive liar" who does this sort of thing. Even so, Nev thinks they should take a moment before they proceed...
...which is a good idea. Brandon sits on the porch smoking and saying "Oh my god" 500 more times, and adds that Nikki, who had all those insights into Brandon's love life, is Kharece's best friend. Karrueche either shows good instincts or heeds what a producer advises via earpiece by probing Brandon's story: "And you and Kharece have never had aaaaaaaaany kind of relations. Previously. You guys never dated or hung out...friends with benefits?" Brandon starts looking around all sheepish and shifty and then finally admits, "Okay. All right. Fine. I was kind of trying to dance around that, but yeah. There was some friends with benefits type of things here and there." OH. INTERESTING. SO WHEN BRANDON SAID HE WASN'T INTERESTED IN KHARECE "AT ALL," WHAT HE ACTUALLY MEANT WAS "OTHER THAN AS SOMEONE TO FUCK IN SECRET." HE SEEMS LIKE A REAL FUCKING GEM. Oh, also? Apparently it's been going on for four years. Yo, fuck this guy. (Not you, Kharece. You go fuck a lot of other guys and forget this one ever breathed air.)
Nev comes out immediately after this confession, and after taking in the fact that this supposed lovelorn hero is actually kind of a scumbag, he suggests that Brandon text Kharece and see if she can come over. And because Kharece has no life or self-respect, she instantly says she'll be there in fifteen minutes.
Is Kharece McKenna?
And does Nikki know? She does. (By the way, as to the whole thing where Brandon said Kharece wasn't his "type"? Leaving aside the fact that she was enough his type to suck his dick throughout high school, to me she looks EXACTLY like his ex in that photo from Snapchat. Maybe she's not his type intellectually -- I know, LOL to the idea that Brandon is capable of relating to anyone on an intellectual level, but maybe Kharece is annoying -- but physically she looks to me like Brandon's type exactly.)
Anyway, the reasons Kharece started the fake Kik account in the first place is too boring and inconsequential to mention other than that she apparently didn't do it specifically to stalk Brandon anonymously; it just sucked in her contacts automatically, and when she saw that Brandon was now connected to her on Kik, she thought she'd message him just to see what would happen, and it went on from there. She agrees with Nev when he says it "got out of hand," saying she didn't think it would go this far. "You made some wrong judgment there," says Brandon, laughing bitterly. She's not the only one, Thirsty! You were the one who wanted to fly a stranger from Florida to your non-existent love nest! "You could've just texted me as Kharece!" says Brandon. "Yeah, 'cause you'd totally reply to me," she counters. "Well, you didn't try, so you don't know," Brandon sniffs. Actually, I think if she's been playing with your balls for four years, she probably knows exactly how you operate. "Yeah, but I didn't lie to you," coos Kharece. "Other than the name and the place I lived," she adds, like they all do, and it sounds just as dumb and desperate this time as always. Brandon spits that he's known Kharece for four years and that she's nothing like "McKenna." "But didn't you fall in love with McKenna?" she asks. "Who happens to be me?" Oh, honey. He is not worth your humiliating yourself like this. Please, on behalf of all women, you must stop. "Yeah, but it's YOU," says Brandon. Uuuuuuuuugh, she is not blameless but HE REALLY FUCKING SUCKS.
"So you really...love Brandon," Nev checks. "Yes, I do," Kharece immediately replies. "What is it that you love about Brandon?" Karrueche asks. "Because he seems like a real shithead to me," she does not add. Kharece blushes a little as she says she thinks he's "super-compassionate," and maybe she's leading with that one because she wants it to be true, now, with regard to herself. "When he loves people, he gives his whole being to it," she adds. "And you don't give up on people easily?"
No. Brandon sucks. And he proves it as he replies to this recitation of his great qualities by saying, in an obnoxious, sarcastic sing-song, "I appreciate that. And I'm sorry it came down to this? But you kind of brought it upon yourself." "Okay," breathes Kharece. Nev notes that she seems to be taking all of this well, and she says she never cries; she's hurt, but she's not showing it. There's not much more to say, so Nev wonders what will come of Brandon and Kharece's relationship now. I mean, probably nothing? They weren't friends, and the hookups seem to have ended at some point, so just because they both live in the same tiny town doesn't mean they have to have a relationship at all? Brandon says he wants to think about things on his own, so Kharece returns to her truck.
The next day, Nev calls Kharece, who invites him over to Nikki's house, where she and Nikki are hanging out with a third friend, Erica. They all knew about the McKenna scheme the whole time. Kharece repeats her line that she didn't lie to Brandon except about her name and location, but then Nikki kind of lays out the real issue in a way that Kharece should but can't because she's too in love with Brandon to say anything bad about him: "It's hard when you're so in love with someone who consistently invites you over, but doesn't say, 'We're not dating.'" According to Kharece and her friends, Brandon never said that, in his mind, he and Kharece weren't any kind of couple. "He never said 'I don't like you that way,'" says Kharece. "We would hear it through his friends," says Erica. Kharece says that when she and Brandon are alone, things are completely different from the way he acts around other people. "He acts like he's a couple with her," says Nikki. But then they'll go to a party and he won't speak to her. All together now: BRANDON SUCKS.
After Kharece admits that Brandon's IRL treatment of her makes her "feel like crap," Nev reasonably asks, "So why are you still pursuing him?" Kharece says that people ask her this all the time, but that every time she sees him, she convinces herself, "Today's the day he's going to commit....I don't want to give up on something that would be great. Eventually." God. High school. Girls don't need career mentors; they need mentors to tell them which guys not to waste two Kik seconds on.
But that's not happening today. For now, Nev and Karrueche are going to take Kharece and Nikki back over to Brandon's to discuss everything, and pledge to back up Kharece's position on Brandon's fuckery (I'm paraphrasing). Let's hope Brandon's at least given a thought overnight as to how not to look like a complete scumbag on TV even if he's 100% guaranteed to continue being one in actuality.
On the drive over, Kharece says she doesn't want to "say the wrong thing that he might hate [her] for." Sweetie. He already hates you. Or thinks he does, which is basically the same thing.
Brandon lets everyone in at his house, and Nev kind of recaps what was discussed at Nikki's. Karrueche asks why Brandon was never able to tell Kharece they weren't a couple and never would be, and Brandon snots that he "thought it was pretty clear." Oh, because you fucked her at your house but then acted like she didn't exist when your buddies were around? Cool, that makes sense. Oh god, then he goes on: "Just from what my friends have told me they said to her?" Fuckchop, listen to yourself. Nowhere in there is you acting like a human and making your own needs and desires known. "It was hard for me to believe it if you never said it?" says Kharece, regrettably uptalking and diminishing the righteous anger she's partly entitled to. Nev breaks in here to say that even if Brandon had told Kharece "a million times" that he didn't want to date her but then called her up for sex, "that's a mixed signal." Karrueche agrees. "I want to make it clear: I do not have those feelings for you as you do for me," says Brandon in his most condescending tone of voice. Buddy, I THINK SHE GETS IT NOW. "And I know how you feel -- trust me, I do," he adds. Yeah, GOT IT.
Poor Kharece tries again: "Like, there's correlation between me and McKenna." Brandon's like, "Uhhhhh." Nikki offers, "The person that you were talking to was her." Even Nev tries: "Maybe you never really thought about her that way, but that really is her." Guys, this train has sailed. He "fell in love" with Maria Perez's face. He has nothing but contempt for Kharece. You're not going to be able to merge them in his mind.
"I'm really sorry that I made those mistakes and hurt you that way," says Brandon, in what is the first non-loathsome thing he's said this whole hour. "I'm sorry I lied to you about who I was," Kharece replies. She gets his position now with regard to her "because [he] said it out loud," but she would still like to see him. Brandon has no problem being friends. Something tells me this "friendship" is going to be pretty one-sided, but whatever, that will do for now.
There are no hugs.
Two months later, Brandon says that Kharece still occasionally texts or Snapchats him, but now it's casual. He's still single, and probably will be "until hunting season's over." Neat?
As for Kharece: after filming ended, she moved away from Kalama to go to college, and thank god, she had to get out of that shithole if the best she could hope for as a boyfriend was FUCKING BRANDON. She still sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and cries because she misses Brandon. EW, EVEN IF THAT'S TRUE, DON'T ADMIT IT!!! Nev asks whether she thinks she and Brandon could ever have a chance, and she says she thinks he misses her more than he'll admit. Karrueche assures her that she's "so cute," she'll find somebody. Tough luck, ugly people!
Be suspicious if your girlfriend doesn't have a phone. Be more suspicious if she gets a phone and then won't let you call her on it. Be extremely suspicious if she refuses to tell you where she lives. Move away from your small town and circle of high school friends as soon as you possibly can in order not to end up as desperately pathetic as Kharece, overly attached to someone as shitty as Brandon.