One of my favourite shows on TV at the moment is Catfish. It’s a documentary series made for MTV about people who met online, but have never met in real life. The show brings them together, which usually involves an interstate road trip, and as you might expect, not everyone is who or what they claim to be online.
On a superficial level I love it because of the handsome and engaging host, Nev Schulman. While other women swoon over rock stars and actors, documentary makers seem to be my thing. You can keep Brad Pitt: I’ll take Louis Theroux any day. But it’s not just Nev’s perfect American teeth and luxuriant chest hair – which seems to make an appearance more often than is strictly necessary for a documentary – that keep me tuning in. Nor is it his endless optimism and complete lack of cynicism (“Sure! So you told Vanessa that you were a male model with a Lamborghini and a Calvin Klein contract and you’re actually an 18-year-old girl who lives with her mom in a trailer in Wisconsin. But hey, maybe you can still be friends!”).
No, I watch because I cannot believe that people can build relationships as deep as they claim to have without ever having seen each other. Some talk daily by telephone, all are heavy users of Facebook chat and texting, but despite their love of technology and apparently generous data allowance, none of them have ever had a video chat on Skype. They are prepared to propose marriage, and plan the children they will have together, all on the basis of a voice and some Facebook pictures. Continue reading