Before I begin the review of this week’s show, I want to mention something about Catfish: The TV Show. In our society, social media is so prevalent & we communicate to others through game sites, Facebook, Twitter, Chatrooms, etc. Many of us, but more importantly, our children, innocently (and some, not so innocently) interact with others, taking their word that they are who they say they are.
So far, we’ve only seen about 5 episodes of Catfish on MTV, yet every single one there has been at least one half of interacting parties misrepresenting who they really are. The reason I bring this up is because I feel this show can be a HUGE teaching tools for parents for kids as young as 10 years old. As of yet, I’ve not seen anything inappropriate shown (if you feel you have, you can always pre-watch the show before letting your child view it) and this will show not only the viewing adult audience, but hopefully their children, as well, that there truly are predators and they aren’t few and far-between.
After watching this week after week, I believe those that are who they say they are (online) are unfortunately the exception. Unfortunately, as a parent these days, that means it’s easier for predators to have access to your children…even through something as simple as a video game site. Websites can screen all they want, but predators are some of the slimiest, smoothest creatures & I believe they’ll go to any means possible to access their prey. That said, If you watch Catfish please tell your friends who interact online, especially those with children, about the show. The more knowledgeable we are on a subject, the better we can protect ourselves and our loved ones. Now, on to this week’s episode:
Joe Sumeriski is what most of us would consider an “average Joe” (pun intended), he’s pretty good looking, seems somewhat shy, a bit naive, interacts online & lives in Upstate New York, specifically, Warsaw. 3 months ago he met beauty queen Kari Ann Peniche, she happened to “friend” him on Facebook. (Seems more & more of these online “relationships” are via Facebook) Joe’s really falling for Kari Ann, but before they go any further, he wants to make sure she’s the real deal. Joe has emailed Nev to ask for his help and after reading the email, Nev & Max agree, this is a good case to investigate.
Max, who has impeccable instincts, says at the very beginning (after Nev reads the email aloud), “This has a couple of big red flags!” And it does. Nev & Max start with a video-chat with Joe, he has to go to a bookstore because his house only has old-fashioned dial-up internet. (imagine that!) Our Average Joe was friended by Miss USA – Teen 2003 & she sparked up the interest in him & has since sent him very seductive pictures of herself. Both Nev & Max think because Kari Ann is such a public figure she’ll be easy to uncover if it’s a fraud.
Nev & Max fly to New York & do a little research, they learn that she’s done Playboy & Max states, “There’s no chance it’s that Kari Ann!” The guys drive out to Joe’s house & before you know it Nev is driving Joe’s 4-wheeler. There’s a funny scene when Nev stops the 4-wheeler and says to Joe, “The brakes don’t work!” Joe replies, “Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that.” Kinda important, kiddo. Moving on, they check out his parent’s property & he has a cute dog & they have horses. Joe says they have more cows in that area than people. (Cows are probably nicer, too)
Joe tells them he broke up with his girlfriend & posted it on Facebook; Kari Ann contacted him after that. It’s at this time he tells them the only connection between the 2 of them is a girl he was friends with in high school named Rose. Supposedly Kari Ann has told Joe she has a little boy named Presley, when asked by Nev if he’d be okay with that, Joe says he would. But he’s trying to play it safe because he wonders if perhaps his ex-girlfriend is behind it. Joe plays Kari Ann’s voicemail & he says it does not sound at all like his ex-girlfriend. At this point he needs to find out if she’s for real or this is a hoax. Nev & Max assure him they’re going to research and they leave.
Back at the hotel, as they’re investigating Max is very doubtful that whomever is behind this is the full package. They’re looking through her Facebook & see she owns a her own fashion line. They decide to email one of Kari Ann’s Facebook friends, Kyle. They also happen to notice that Rose has pictures of a Vegas Playboy shoot on her Facebook. Nev decides to call Rose and she confirms she’s known Kari Ann since about July; they’ve spoken on the phone but she’s never met her. Somewhat abruptly Rose ends the call and says, “Have a good one.” (I found it odd, Max or Nev didn’t)
Nev moves on to Kari Ann’s agent, Mike Esterman at Esterman Entertainment. He just tells them he handles her “paid for appearances” but has no idea who she speaks online with and ends the call. They connect with her friend, Kyle, and he verifies her phone number, as well as the fact that he’s known her for about 10 years, they’ve gone out together and even “hooked up” a few times. Upon hearing this, Nev gets a huge smile and says, “Good for you!” (I think he was wishing it were him LOL) Kyle confirms the phone number that Joe has been calling her on. Now, both Nev & Max are convinced this is legit, but Max comments, “It’s too weird to be true.”
The guys are meeting Joe at batting cages & when they get there, they find Rose is with Joe. They talk to her about Joe talking to Kari Ann. Rose says she’s only talked with Kari Ann about business. His friend, Harley that’s also with him says his first reaction was, “Damn, she’s hot!” Nev tells Joe they’ve researched & contacted people that have confirmed Kari Ann is legit. Rose reiterates her agent is a legit one. Nev asks Rose what she thinks, she replies, “It’s her. Maybe he has a shot. He should meet her face to face and go from there.” They race go-karts for a bit, then part ways.
The next scene is at their hotel room in Geneseo, New York, and they decide to call Kari Ann. Nev tells her who he is and she sounds somewhat reluctant (I would think more people would be reluctant to give as much information as they usually do) and clearly isn’t comfortable giving him information. She thinks if Joe has doubts about her he should talk to her, not have someone else do it. She rightly says she doesn’t need to tell him (Nev) anything. Fortunately, Nev saves the call by mentioning they’d like to arrange a meeting with her & Joe & guess what? They’re in luck because it just so happens she’s in N.Y. for business. She says she’d be more comfortable going to Joe’s than them going to meet her. Before they hang up she apologizes for being snotty & Nev says he understands. (After Nev hangs up it’s pretty funny cuz Max gives him a hard time for almost blowing a simple meeting)
And back at the ranch… (I typed that with my country-accent) Nev & Max meet Joe’s parents, Jake and Lucille. Jake says, “We usually keep to our own,” but if she’ll come here to meet Joe, they’re okay with it. They just don’t want Joe to get hurt again. (awww sweet parents)
We’re quickly back at the hotel & they notice something odd Kari Ann’s Facebook wall; she’s written “Don’t make plans Saturday.” Max says, “Something is up. I can smell it.” (Max should TRULY be a detective cuz he has bloodhound instinct. I’ve got to add here, it’s very obvious that both men are clearly amped & so excited that this is legit and I think also that they’re about to meet a Playboy Centerfold…like lil boys in a candy store!)
Next thing we know they’re on the phone with Kari Ann & she tells them she’s about 20 minutes away from Joe’s house, according to her GPS. The 3 guys go outside & wait, wondering which way she’ll come from, Joe says, “She’ll either come from that way, or from that way.” (Which is absolutely hysterical because there are only 2 ways to come from, the left or the right!) They see a car approaching from that-a-way and it’s her!!
Out of the car walks Rose! His friend Rose. The same Rose that Nev interviewed. She immediately apologizes to Joe, tells him she’s had feelings with him for a few months. Joe asks her why she did it & she didn’t think he’d be interested in her. But when he asks her once she knew he was interested in her why she continued, she said, “It was like entertainment for me.” (WHAT?!?! My Mhissy bitch-o-meter is going off & the only thought in my head is: You Bitch!) Nev asks her if she’s going to delete her Facebook profile & she asks, “Which one?” They ask how many Facebook profiles she has & she’s at a loss for words; she truly doesn’t know.
Nev & Max sincerely apologize to Joe, telling them they’ve clearly failed him. Rose goes on to say she has quite a few profiles and has lots of people she impersonates; she’s been doing this for a lot of years & has mastered it. Max kinda lights into Rose, telling her she’s doing this to actual people & messing with their lives. Joe tells her, “You fuck people in their heads. This hurts, it sucks. Everything I’ve told you is 100% true, I haven’t lied. “
Again, the guys apologize to Joe. Rose tells them they need better detective skills and Joe says, “You’re fired!” (they laugh a little) Seems that not only did Joe get Catfished, so did Nev and Max. I think they’re humiliated and mad at themselves for not catching this one. (Don’t feel bad guys. What you’re doing is a good thing, this 1 just happened to get by you.) Rose leaves. Joe says she’s cold-hearted, and Joe is 100% right!
We’re shown Nev & Max at a yard sale & they ask the people there if they’ve known anyone that’s met somebody online. Yes, as a matter of fact, they do! Someone they knew met a man online, they got married and then he took all of her money. Not good. The guys kinda shake their heads in disbelief as they walk away.
Nev makes a call to Rose, wanting to know how she feels and if she wants to talk & she does. Once at her house Rose explains to them about her developing Kari Ann’s profile & how it got out of hand. She admits she’s addicted to having these multitudes of Facebook profiles (sounds like might be over 100). She tells she has different feelings with each fake profile, when she’s asked how, she says, “Different than just her.” (It’s rather sad listening to her talk because it’s obvious, Rose wants to be anybody/everybody except for Rose.) She says she’s not ready to give up her profiles, to which Nev suggests she reassess her situation. She doesn’t know how it happened, she just knows she can’t stop; she’s addicted. On her Kari Ann profile she has 723 friends. She doesn’t know how she remembers the stories (lies) she tells, she’s just able to. She doesn’t want to continue, but can’t get rid of it. In front of Nev & Max Rose writes a post-dated post that says she’s going away for awhile & asks that nobody contact her.
Joe & Rose have 1 last meeting where she again apologizes. (sometimes apologizes can never be enough.) The conversation ends with Joe telling her they’ll just be friends. (I LOVE that Joe took control of the situation and ended it his way!)
Joe is single and isn’t going to ever meet anyone online again.
Rose has moved to California (I swear, we get them ALL!!) with a guy she met through her “Kari Ann” profile (she re-activated it). Her boyfriend found out what she was doing but decided to accept her anyway. (I have a feeling this isn’t gonna work out. I predict her “boyfriend” will catch her scheming people sooner or later and be done with her.)
If you watched the show, I hope you’ll share your opinion in the comments section.
You can follow me on Twitter @janesinsane
Personal Note: I’m not against meeting somebody online, that’s how Jim & I met in 1996. Just, please, be wise. Do a background check. Meet in a public place. Trust your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’m sure there are some books or websites that can help you, your family and friends be safer online.