Is ‘Catfish’ the Most Relevant Reality Show on Television?

"Catfish: The TV Show’’ hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph. –The Boston Globe/File

Considering the amount of drivel on MTV these days, the network’s hit reality series “Catfish’’ is a refreshing change of pace.

The show — which returns for season three on Wednesday — explores all the lies and deception inherent in the world of online dating, as hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph help lonely souls connect with their virtual lovers in real life.

As we’ve seen over the past two seasons, most of these situations turn into cringe-worthy, “gotcha’’ moments, as many of these sad sacks are forced to face the reality that the person they’ve been talking to over the internet is (rarely shockingly) not who they say they are.


While it’s fun to laugh at the show’s more ridiculous stories, unfortunately, it’s not just people looking for love that are getting “catfished.’’

From cyberbullying to financial manipulation, this season of “Catfish’’ will have a much darker tone, as it explores other issues revolving around the level of anonymity the internet grants.

“These aren’t all romantic stories,’’ Joseph told Buzzfeed in an interview last month. “In some of these instances, people have catfished an entire town. There’s also a lot more cyber-bullying this season as well, and people who are using phony profiles for a lot of different motives, not just to seduce people and fall in love with people, but also to use them and to turn people against each other.’’

While it’s one thing to have your heart trolled by a fake Tinder profile, things become far more serious when your financial and physical well beings are put in jeopardy by virtual con artists. This season hopes to show that it’s not just lonely singles who can get hurt, because it’s easy for shady individuals to deceive just about anyone online.

As society continues to increase its reliance on the internet for pretty much everything, “Catfish’’ and all the issues it explores couldn’t be more relevant in 2014.

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