The second season premiere of MTV's Catfish: The TV Show reminded viewers that, yes, love is blind, and, yes, some people still don't understand the power of Google. No matter show shamelessly Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson try to sell it to them.
Rather than spend three years of her life falling for an online suitor, "Steve," Cassie could have just done what Catfish hosts Nev Schulman and Max Joseph did in a matter of minutes: Take the only six pictures Steve—a supposed rapper/producer from Atlanta, nicknamed S-Killa—sent to her, all of which prominently display his abs and clearly look like modeling shots, and Google Image search for them. And, like Nev and Max, quickly find out that Steve is actually a male model with a different name, and those laughably bad rap songs he sent to her are the embarrassing recordings of "Ynotparty," the rap name used by her best friend Gladys' cousin, Tony.
As Nev tells her, "being open and trusting is not a flaw," and he's right—Cassie desperately wanted love, thought she'd found it with a guy whose web-cam conveniently never worked, and who's an aspiring rapper who supposedly tours constantly yet only has 94 Facebook friends. It happens. People often believe the cyber romance hype too easily, and, as Catfish makes routinely clear, they get emotionally swindled. But what most people don't do—and this, folks, is where today's Lesson Learned from Catfish comes into play—is propose to someone they've never even met, let alone ever seen a picture of in which he's wearing a T-shirt and not airbrushed.
Nev's sympathetic good-cop rationalization: "I've seen people get engaged and married in 24 hours after meeting in Vegas." True, that's more shotgun and irrational than developing feelings for someone over the phone and via social media for three years, yet, come on—didn't Cassie watch Catfish's first season? Or the 2010 documentary? Web-cam's break, but Google Image searches don't lie.
Cassie's decision to not poke around online about "Steve" because she "trusts him" and didn't "want to be FBI" is admirable, but also delusional. The line between protecting one's self from potential hurt (i.e., finding out your three-year male love is actually your best female friend, her second cell phone, and her compliant male cousin) and logically playing the Internet sleuth via Google shouldn't be so thin. It's not like Nev's doing anything all that exceptionally clever. It's as easy as point, click, and uncover.
Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)