Since the original documentary was released in 2010, Catfish has become a cultural phenomenon. Its subsequent MTV series now boasts 8 seasons, 159 episodes and earned the term 'catfishing' a spot in the dictionary. Catfish has given a name and serious in-depth discourse around the concept of pretending to be someone else online. Back in 2005 when I, at eight years old, pretended to be 'Matt, 21, from California' on Club Penguin, it was just called 'being a shady weirdo'.
Despite the show gaining immense popularity and Nev and Max swearing a blood oath to catch all who catfish, there are still plenty of folks out there luring strangers on the internet with their 'I'm a hot blonde model with no access to video chatting' spiels. Have they learned nothing?!
I've been watching a lot of Catfish lately. The show provided me endless company in isolation, and I feel like now's as good a time as any to count down my favourite absolutely unhinged moments from the show. Enjoy!
8. Poor, sweet Spencer. (Season 5 Episode 15)
You'd think after five seasons of Catfish, people would start to approach their online relationships with strangers a bit more discerningly, especially if they claim to be super pop star Katy Perry.
Spencer is absolutely convinced that he's in an online relationship with Katy Perry, who is working so hard to keep their relationships under wraps for Spencer's sake. Nev and Max of course try to let Spencer know how highly unlikely this is, but nothing will crush poor, sweet Spencer's spirit. He even buys an engagement ring, which cost him more than a quarter of his savings.
Even when it's revealed that 'Katy' is actually Harriet (who is absolutely gorgeous by the way), Spencer sends 'Katy' a message the next morning, still convinced she's the California dreamgirl. It eventually sinks in for him, but my god, what a journey.
Watch the full episode of Catfish with Spencer and, um, Katy, right here.
7. Hundra orchestrates a whole episode just to come out feat. Machine Gun Kelly. (Season 4, Episode 20)
Nev and guest host Machine Gun Kelly (lol) try to help Hundra find Emily, which leads them to a messy love triangle involving exes Geralyn and Melanie. During the initial confrontation, Hundra accuses Geralyn of trying to convert straight girls, get "notches in her belt" and calls her a d*ke. Hundra making herself look like a total asshole is made even more unhinged when Geralyn reveals that the whole situation was a set-up by Hundra, whom she'd never met.
Hundra honestly chose the wrong episode to fabricate. While co-host Max would have simply put his camera down and said "I'm done," MGK loses it, calling her a "shameful citizen" and a "coward", while he menacingly flicks a toothpick in his mouth and chases after her car.
Hundra claims she orchestrated the whole episode so that she could publicly come out. Nev calls her out on her shit, but she firmly stands by her actions, even in the 2 month reunion. You can almost feel MGK want to knock her out through the computer screen.
6. 'A shallow, miserable existence'. (Season 2, Episode 6)
Jen is one of the Catfish victims that really breaks your heart. After being bullied, she turns to the online world to develop relationships. Her relationship with Skylar becomes a big part of her life, but, in an entirely expected turn of events, Skylar isn't who he says he is.
Skylar turns out to be Bryan, a boy who shows an almost sociopathic level of indifference. Displaying absolutely no remorse, he reveals that Jen is just one of many of his victims.
During the confrontation, Max says one of his greatest lines to date, "you're going to have a shallow, miserable existence, and people are going to think you're a douchebag." Iconic.
Watch the full episode of Catfish with Jen right here.
5. 'Miss You All'. (Season 5, Episode 13)
In a Catfish first, Nev and Max round up several victims of serial Catfisher Lucas, who all confront him at once. Three ridiculously attractive women, in a serious Catfish Charlie's Angels moment (honestly what I wouldn't do to have been in this hot vigilante group) rock up to the house of "Lucas", who is actually a total creep called Zac.
Nev immediately calls Zac out on his misogynistic simp-sadboy vibe, particularly after Zac admits that he's catfished over 400 women.
As Nev and the gals head off, Zac whispers "miss you all," and Nev loses his cool. He walks back towards Zac and says, "did you just completely forget everything we just said about you appearing like a total shithead on TV, then as we're leaving you make a jestful remark? 'Miss you all'?"
At that exact moment, a bee swarms at Zac, forcing him to very awkwardly duck backwards. It's comedic timing at its best. Check it out at the very start of this video:
4. Neckbeard boy thinks he's the Catfish King. (Season 3, Episode 6)
John meets the elusive and attractive Kesley in a psychology group chat, and enlists Nev and Max's help to track her down. After following many leads and falling down the rabbit hole of this strange psych online community, the three of them meet up with 'Kelsey', leading to one of the weirdest and saddest moments of Catfish history.
Kelsey turns out to be 'Adam The Gambler', a cocky neckbeard dude. He calls himself the 'King of Catfishes', and smugly infers that he's outsmarted Nev and Max. Becoming a total meme of himself, he even says, "I'm the Joker," to which Max replies, "you're just a loser who gives our show a bad name."
Watch the full episode of Catfish featuring John and Neckbeard boy right here.
3. Nev yeets a kid's phone into the river. (Season 3, Episode 4)
Kidd Cole is worse than your average catfish. Not only does he lie about his life online (specifically, pretending he's a music producer on Kanye West's label), he cons people out of thousands of dollars. Lucille enlisted the help of Nev and Max to confront him after she's conned out of a pretty substantial amount of money.
During the confrontation, it becomes clear that Kidd has no intention of showing any sort of remorse or accountability. He blankly stares at his phone (which he holds weirdly close to his face) while Nev and Max question him about all the shitty things he's done. Nev asks if he can see Kidd's phone case, and then without hesitating, takes the phone from his hand and yeets it into the nearby river.
The producers have to step in and promise Kidd a new phone, all while Nev stands back grinning proudly. It seems that a catfish doesn't change its spots, as Kidd Cole has since appeared in court for pretending to be a terrorist calling in fake bomb threats to the police.
Watch the full episode of Catfish with Kidd Cole here.
2. 'You Got Me There' (Season 2, Episode 10)
The confrontation that happens at the end of Artis and Jess' tumultuous love story is one of the greatest. A meet-up between Artis and Jess reveals that 'Jess' is actually Justin, a completely unhinged maniac who gets out of the car and begins slow clapping while walking toward the group. Nev, who is iconically on crutches at this point, tries to square up against Justin, and the most chaotic and bizarre interaction ensues.
Highlights include Justin saying "you can still be my chocolate kiss, don't you forget about that baby," and a phrase that makes absolutely no sense, "not everything you see, or want to be, can be exactly what you want it to be, and I am living proof of that; I felt that." Riiight.
The pinnacle of this interaction however is an incredible moment that's since become heavily memefied. Nev says to Justin, "I'm going to take a stab at this, you're gay." To which Justin replies "obviously I'm not gay."
"Well it's not that obvious, you are pretending to be a girl online and having a romantic relationship with a guy."
"I'll give it to you… you got me there. So hey…. Maybe!"
1. 'Fatass Kelly Price' (Season 3, Episode 2)
This is just the best. A woman called Carmen reached out on behalf of her cousin Antwane. Antwane hated technology, so didn't find it strange that he'd only ever spoken on the phone to the love of his life, Tony, for three years.
Max and Nev investigate but having barely any information about Tony to begin with, find it really difficult to get anywhere.
Finally, Carmen (who called Nev and Max in the first place), reveals in a totally batshit crazy moment that she is actually Tony. Why did she do it? Because years ago, Antwane called her "fatass Kelly Price." Did the extremely lengthy revenge plot outweigh the crime? Who cares, it made for absolutely brilliant television.
An extremely special mention to Carmen's "Tony voice", at 3:42.
Good news: MTV Australia (channel 122 On Foxtel and 104 on Fetch) is playing every Catfish episode ever on 1.40pm on weekdays. Tune in to get involved in the utter chaos.