Mark Twain once said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Perhaps someone should have shared that pearl of wisdom with "Catfish"'s latest love hopeful.
On tonight's episode, Max Joseph and Nev Schulman traveled to Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood to meet Whitney, a 27-year-old fast food worker who was infatuated with a California resident named Bre. Whitney said she and Bre had met via social media four years earlier, and though they were totally in love, they were relative strangers because neither could afford to visit the other. Further, Whitney shared that she'd only received a few photos from her virtual girlfriend, and that Bre was reticent to video chat.
Upon meeting Whitney, Nev and Max expressed concern that Bre was so closed off and warned her that it was likely Bre was hiding something. This, Whitney said, was a tough pill to swallow, as she was seriously invested in Bre and was earnestly considering a lasting relationship with her shadowy other half.
"I don't like being lied to," she told the guys. "I don't ask for nothing else, just don't lie to me."
So, to get a better sense of Whitney's story and to more clearly understand why Bre was so withholding, Nev and Max got the two-man-and-a-laptop routine started in Nev's hotel room. Almost immediately, the sleuths discovered something suspicious: Bre's phone number was tied to a Google account, which pretty much put a dart through her claims that she wasn't able to video chat. Further, when the guys reached out to Bre's friend Kash, they learned that Bre sometimes went by the name "Luscious B" on social media, and when they sorted through Whitney's Facebook messages, they found that Whitney and Bre/Luscious B had been video-chatting since 2011, and their nearly daily conversations essentially outed them as a real couple.
"She's lying to us!" Nev declared when he let the duo's findings register, and Max was equally disturbed. "She's using us for a plane ticket."
When the "Catfish" twosome confronted Whitney with their new information, she folded.
She admitted that she and Bre lied to the show as a means to meet each other. Still, though she'd been deceitful, she insisted that she was honest when she'd claimed that neither could afford to visit the other and explained that she and Bre hoped presenting a compelling story would be enough to finally help them meet face to face.
Dumbfounded, Nev and Max told Bre they needed some time to think. Did they want to air an episode in which they looked like fools? More importantly, would helping Whitney and Bre meet just reward a couple of liars for a dirty trick?
Ultimately, after some good, hard thought, several conversations with production and a final, tearful plea from Bre, Nev and Max decided to help the ladies meet, convinced that potentially sincere love was enough to compensate for Whitney and Bre's duplicitous request for help. "Everything about this is sort of backwards," Nev said. "But I believe that at the core are two young people who really care about each other."
Thankfully, Max and Nev's choice proved not to be in vain, and as soon as Whitney and Bre finally came together on a sunny day in California, the sparks flew. "I really love you," Whitney gushed to her flesh-and-blood girlfriend. "Like, I love the sh** out of you."
So, things turned out well, but would you have approached this "Catfish" conundrum the same way?
Put yourself in Nev's or Max's shoes -- would you have helped Whitney meet her fairy tale's princess even if she'd lied to you and demanded your attention under false pretenses? Or did she undermine the show's purpose by hiding the truth about her relationship, and should Nev and Max have told her to kick rocks?
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