MTV's 'Catfish' More of a Catch and Release

In Catfish The TV Show, Nev Schulman helps young folks track down and meet their long distance loves in person. The series has potential to tread some new waters and take subject matter just a little bit seriously. Of course, in true MTV st

I could lament the lack of actual music played on Music Television, but I grew up with Daria, True Life and (when my parents were asleep) Undressed in addition to the music-laden programming of the channel. Today, what dominates the MTV airwaves can best be summed up as grotesque reality shows even a guilty pleasure-watcher like myself can’t get into.

MTV continues to be a huge part of pop culture whether we like it or not, so I gave it a chance with the new documentary series Catfish The TV Show (11 p.m. Mondays). The series is helmed by Nev Schulman, star of the 2010 doc Catfish, in which Ariel Schulman follows his brother Nev as he develops a long-distance relationship with a woman on Facebook. When the Schulmans and crew travel to Michigan to meet this mystery girl, nothing turns out as planned and it’s somewhat depressing for both sides.

In the television incarnation, Nev helps young folks in situations similar to his track down and meet their long distance loves in person. The series has potential to tread some new waters and take subject matter just a little bit seriously. Of course, in true MTV style, it could also seem incredibly scripted or exploitative. 

MTV could take this as an opportunity to shed light on a quirky niche of popular youth culture, but in a fresh and interesting way. Unfortunately, the reality series falls flat. Last week’s premiere featured a 21-year-old Arkansas woman in a relationship with Jamison, a 19-year-old male model traveling the world. When they track down an address, Nev and the crew push the woman to find out for herself who has really been on the other end of the relationship. There is nothing modelesque — or even male — about the real “Jamison.” In the end, it was a sad, clichéd tale of two rather ignorant women who probably just shouldn’t use the Internet.

It’s not too late for MTV to reclaim quality — or even tolerable — programming. This one just isn’t cutting it for me.


Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Phil invites a Fresno State alumnus he just met over for a guys’ night. Little does he know, this fellow Bulldog is a friend of Cameron’s who believes he’s on a date.

American Horror Story: Asylum (10 p.m., FX) – Bloody Face’s identity is revealed! Arden’s confrontation with Ms. Frank comes to a conclusion as Jude discovers more secrets from the doctor’s past.

Couples Therapy (10 p.m., VH1) – Dourtney returns and, thus, so does my interest in this pathetic program.


30 Rock 

(8 p.m., NBC) – Tracy channels Jack Donaghy as the villain in a new movie. Liz takes Jack’s advice to put herself first — and gets foot surgery.

Project Runway All Stars (9 p.m., Lifetime) -– In the first-ever interactive PR challenge, the designers create looks based on USA Today reader-submitted images. Fashion blogger/my favorite 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson joins the judges’ panel.

Parks and Recreation (9:30 p.m., NBC) – Ben surprises Leslie by getting her a meeting with the No. 1 man on her “celebrity sex list,” Vice President Joe Biden.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FX) – Charlie’s mom develops lung cancer, probably due to living with the human chimney that is Mac’s mom. Sean “Diddy” Combs guest stars.

The League (10:30 p.m., FX) -– Tailgates collide when Andre finds his high school nemesis Frank “The Body” Gibiatti on the league’s turf. Taco tries to make a buck off bootleg MFL merch, getting on Jim McMahon’s nerves in the process.


Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Hang onto your panties, ladies (and gents), Jeremy Renner and Maroon 5 take over SNL this week.


Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) – Just when Deb finally gets on board with “the code,” Dex’s newfound romantic feelings keep him from killing the one person she wants gone. 

The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – Rick starts to come back to reality, but focuses his energy on clearing out the prison. In Woodbury, Andrea gets closer to the Governor and Michonne makes another appearance.

Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – Owen steps in on the Rosetti-Masseria deal while making his own plan with Margaret; Van Alden finds trouble in Chicago; Richard + Julia 4ever.

Homeland (10 p.m., Showtime) – Brody begins to unravel and Carrie goes rogue in an attempt to bring him back.

CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern

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