According to director Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me"), "Catfish" is one of the 50 documentaries to see before you die. According to MTV, " Catfish " needs to make the leap from documentary to reality show.
Even Spurlock admits that "Catfish" is entertaining stuff, regardless of whether it is a true documentary or a scripted piece of pseudo-documentary fiction. Consider "Catfish" to be the ultimate documentation of the early 21st century. The movie follows the burgeoning relationship between a young man and a woman on Facebook. The man decides to take along some family and a camera and record his meeting with the beautiful woman on the other side of the country. Let's just say that Facebook appearances can be deceiving.
Now MTV wants to take the premise of faceless Facebookers facing off with each other to the next level. The reality TV series would be hosted by the maker of the documentary, Nev Schulman, as he takes one person on a journey to meet their destiny. If all goes well and the drama cuts as deeply as MTV likely desires, the result of that person meeting their destiny could potentially be devastating.
What would you do if you found out that the hottie you'd been engaging in loving correspondence with over Facebook was actually an overweight man from New Jersey? Of course, the ending of "Catfish" as a reality TV show is not likely to be that dramatic, not when the documentary itself has had its reality questioned.
The more breathtaking that MTV can construct the surprise revelation, the better. Toss authenticity out the window. How often does the winner on "America's Funniest Home Videos" look like a set-up? Remember that kid that lifts up the toilet lid only to find a rubber monster inside? If that's not an entirely scripted and faked set-up, what is? When it comes to reality TV shows, believability has absolutely nothing to do with it.
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- Morgan Spurlock