Reality Check #4

The Reality Check is a weekly column containing the musings of multiple writers on various reality TV shows. Are you hopelessly addicted to a reality show? We invite you to contribute your thoughts! The Reality Check runs every weekend on



by Ricky Diaz

“Catfish the film was my story, Catfish the TV Show is yours”

A little context on the quote – Catfish was little indie documentary in which the term was coined. “Catfish”ing is pretending to be someone else online, in order to have a relationship with someone else. The film focused on Nev, who himself was catfished. With Max, they have spawned a TV show, which is already into its second season. The thing about the episodes, is that the end result, whilst usually being the same, has told different stories about the “Catfishers” – from the obese, to people trying to get revenge, to people confused about their sexuality. Most of the time the “relationship” between the two doesn’t continue, but sometimes, just sometimes, there actually is a happy ending.

The show usually follows the same format – person writes to Nev, they visit and find out their story, Nev/Max do some investigating, get contact with the Catfisher, arrange a meet, the reveals happens and we see the initial aftermath, followed up by a couple of months down the line.

Derek and Lauren. They have been “dating” for 8 years, back in the myspace days! In this time, they have been in other relationships, Lauren has had a child (which adds extra interest as she comes as a “package deal”), Lauren got engaged but called if off when Derek defriended her on facebook. But they have been constantly in each others lives, throughout those 8 years, love each other, but have never video chatted or even met in real life. You meet Lauren, and you cant help but wonder, why such a good looking girl be interested in someone she has never met, and you can see that she clearly loves Derek, but it is reaching a breaking point, he has been a constant present in her life, she talks about her mother dying, and moving around alot when younger, so having that connection to the same person will always be something she can hold on too, a rock almost. Lauren seems to have no doubt that Derek is who he says he is, and maybe its the Hollywood movies which make her like this, or maybe she’s just a trusting person, or maybe its just a case of her wanting what she cant have, either way you can’t help but feel like there is something wrong with the scenario, something which Nev/Max bring up. Nev/Max have been doing this show for around 10 episodes now, and have seen quite the fair bit, they play the optimist/pessimist, and over the shows growth, they have started to cut the BS, and are more forthcoming in letting the Catfishee know the “red flags” – Max/Nev do their “investigation” which is pretty much nothing more than a google search or a email to a friend of the Catfisher.

This is where the episode actually gets intriguing. The photos they pull from the facebook page aren’t anywhere else on the internet, which means they are only used by Derek, a sign that he is who he says he is, but when they run his number, it belongs to a older black gentleman with children. So even with the good evidence of the photos, we still had the bad evidence of the phone number.

They arrange a meet, and on the way, we are reminded that Max/Nev aren’t new to this, but to her, it isn’t something she does everyday, during the car ride, she breaks down, because of their constant reminders that it may go bad, they are just trying to have her prepared, but, maybe because they have seen it gone wrong so many times, they are just always expecting it to be bad, maybe their experience on the TV show had jaded them.

Then the reveal happens, and it actually is Derek. For the first time in a long time, the Catfisher is actually who they say they are, AND there’s no big secret behind it – the show has had people be who they say they are, but there is always a catch – in this episode, there is no catch! The meet goes great, the next day, Derek meets her child, and we find out that basically he has built her up so much in her mind, that he is scared of meeting her, and that he wanted his life in order before meeting her.

I think this episode HAD to happen, there had to be a happy ending for once, because it serves as a happy ending for not only the people involved, but for the audience, and also for Nev/Max who maybe now wont be so quick to think the worst.

@themystikaal said “while it was cute to have a happy ending, I watch for the crazy drama & things people fall for. It just didn’t feel right” – isn’t the fact that it didn’t go the way we expected it, a shock to say the least? Sure it wasn’t crazy or drama, but the build up to the reveal and the subsequent story was tense/intriguing to say the least!

Real Housewives of New Jersey


by Caitlin Malone

Is it just me or is this castle not castley enough? It’s a beautiful structure but can’t we at least have some turrets or something?

Here is the breakdown of all the drama this week:

-The talking behind the backs begins before we even get to the castle. Teresa and her husband, Joe Giudice, started talking about Jacqueline on the way up to bummer castle. Meanwhile, Kathy and Rich, Melissa and Joe Gorga, and Rosie all ride up together and talk about what a terrible husband Joe Giudice is. With all of this animosity I’m sure all of their problems will be solved in a weekend of team building exercises.

– Teresa and Joe arrive first and get settled in.

– Caroline and Albert share a beautiful moment together. Blah, blah, blah. Let’s get back to the castle.

– When Teresa finds out that Caroline and Jacqueline are not coming she wonders why, especially because she dared Jacqueline to come and we all know how well adults respect the legacy of the dare. When Teresa finds out that Jacqueline isn’t coming because she is struggling with her son, who is autistic, she doesn’t seem to believe it, because Jacqueline seems to find the time to tweet about her. Well, ya know, 140 characters is so time consuming. Who knows? Perhaps for Teresa it is.

-Joe Guidice’s view on autism is that it isn’t that bad of a disease. So we can just call this guy Moron Joe right? We will all know which Joe I’m talking about.

-The team builders arrive and they do some team building exercises as a family. Zzzzzzz. I’m not saying these exercises don’t work, I’m just saying they don’t make great TV. Not that ‘great’ is a word often used to describe this show.

– Steve, the team builder, begins a discussion on trust and this leads to Teresa talking about Jacqueline again. Teresa is mad at Jacqueline for ratting Teresa out about starting strippergate. It seems to me like Teresa isn’t even denying her involvement anymore. Why doesn’t she just apologize?

-Melissa flips out and gets on her knees in front of Teresa and yells, “I forgive you! I have no pride!.” It’s all very melodramatic but I think melodrama is the only thing that can compete with Teresa.

– This all leads Joe Gorga to call Teresa, his sister, scum. Kathy finally chimes in and says, “Joe, that’s not right.” Moron Joe catches wind of this and looks for a fight. The two Joes charge at each other as if they were jousting, but they aren’t the knights, they are the horses. Finally, it’s feeling Medieval in this castle!

This Sunday the fight continues. Are you rooting for house Gorga or House Guidice?

The Bachelorette


by David Warren

Des hit the road this week on The Bachlorette as she visited the hometowns of the remaining four:

• Dallas, TX (Zak W): Zak’s mom gives him advice, “Look for that spark.” There was a time when his mom was really worried about him because he had lost the idea of real love. Oh no! Hopefully he can bounce back again… They then group serenaded her, and she seemed uncomfortably pleased.

• Scottsdale, AZ (Drew): Meeting his sister who is mentally disabled was a special moment, and I don’t think they overexploited this too much – nice job not trying to pull too much emotion out of this, ABC. Drew had to make his point super clear and repeatedly proclaimed “I love you.”

• McMinnville, OR (Chris): Baseball. This guy was drafted by the Chicago Cubs (that’s right, I read his bio). After a little silliness on the field, they went to the family where Des got free chiropractic care from her potential-father-in-law. Then Chris got this weird nose treatment – there’s no explaining it here except to suggest that they wanted to make Chris appear less attractive by showing him undergo something resembling an ancient Egyptian mucus-ectomoy.

•Salt Lake City, UT (Brooks): On to Brooks. The perceived frontrunner. First of all, nice house! Since Brooks practically fell in the lake during their canoe ride, I had to wonder if he had wet pants all evening. Brooks seems to be doing a great job of turning the tables; somehow it’s she who says she loves him, and he’s trying to figure out what he wants. Well played, indeed.

And then there was the meeting between Des and her brother. He is either a great actor or is truly a genuine pud. And for some reason, which was caught on camera, he seemed to be stalking some of the guys, hiding around a corner.

Now comes decision time. If I were her I’d want to review videotape of all the dates. Is he fake laughing at my jokes, how good of a soccer player is he, is he checking out other girls in Portugal, etc. But all she can do is hold their framed photos, picking up each one like she’s channelling their spirits.

Anyway, bye, Zak. I think the moment where she made her decision was when he told her about the crazy dream he had about the snow and sand. Or it was the Hawaiian shave ice truck. Or she just realized he spelled his name wacky-style without the ‘c.’ So it’s back to engineering drilling fluid. I can say that he seems like a good guy, and something tells me we’ll see him again on another reality show soon. Now there’s only 3 dudes left!!

For those keeping track of exciting animal cutaways this episode, we got a squirrel, a rabbit, 2 geese, and a bee…if a bee even counts.

Big Brother


by Kyle Trembley

Jeremy, self-proclaimed Cherokee warrior, got the boot this week. It’s hard to believe that his strategy of “act like a jackass, yell a lot, and make sure everybody is fully aware of his physical dominance” didn’t pay off. To Jeremy’s credit, he showed shocking self-awareness, first in realizing that he was indeed getting voted off, then in his gracious goodbyes to the house, and finally in his interview with Julie Chen that went way better than anyone could have expected.

Will Aaryn do the same? I’m going to say…no. Definitely not.

The writing is on the wall for Aaryn. This year’s house has split more or less on “decent people” vs. “bad people” lines, with Aaryn, Ginamarie, Jeremy, Kaitlin, and David occupying the latter category. David was banished right off the bat, and after Jeremy’s veto challenge prowess foiled a concerted effort to get rid of him in week two, the ‘good guys’ got him this week.

It only gets worse for Aaryn. Kaitlin might not actually be a bad person, she just attached herself to Jeremy early on and stayed loyal to him. With Jeremy gone, Kaitlin might decide her best course of action is to fall in line with Helen & Co. And after Aaryn’s hilariously wrong-headed and mean-spirited prank on Ginamarie last week – stealing her beloved altar to Nick – I doubt Ginamarie has any interest in preserving Aaryn’s place in the house.

What’s more, the ‘Big Brother’ producers couldn’t help but get in on the schadenfreude, awarding the BBMVP this week to the fans of the show, thus giving us the power to vote someone onto the chopping block. Gee, I wonder if America will use this opportunity to axe the spoiled, unrepentant racist witch?

Aaryn is hopelessly on an island. She’s burned all her bridges, both with her fellow houseguests and with America. She has no idea what kind of storm her blatant racism has caused outside of the house, and news broke this week that her family has hired a PR firm to help when she finally gets the boot.

Honestly, the cruelest thing the house could do to her at this point is keep her around. She has no sway over anyone, and despite winning the week two Head of Household it’s highly unlikely that she has the brains or physical ability to win another. The humane thing to do would be to put her out of her misery this week and send her off to what promises to be a legendary Julie Chen interview.

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