In both the MTV TV Show and it’s movie predecessor, the set up is the same. Gullible Americans using social media interactions to find love. Whether across county or state lines, these long distance relationships were kept alive through photos, possibly phone calls, and messaging. Unfortunately, one of the risks when we interact with strangers on social media is the fact that they might not be who they appear to be. In the case of Catfish, usually it’s a brokenhearted gullible teenager, who just found out that their “soul mate” was actually the baby daddy of potentially 5 kids..and might have been incarceated at one point in their life. Or, the beautiful small town girl with a witty humor was actually a 57 year old male retiree, who wanted to have human interaction.
We watch these types of media because we become infatuated with the idea of “can this happen in real life?”. In the 90s, people watched Jerry Springer because it gave us a sense of hope that our lives were better than what we were watching. I remember being infatuated that not only this 15 year old girl is in love with her step father, but she had a tattoo, and didn’t know who the father of her child was. Television formula gold. With the outbreak of yesterday’s sports news involving Notre Dame player Manti Te’o and his dead/undead/nonexistent girlfriend, we acknowledge that yes, this can happen. Was it a hoax? Was it a gullible 22 year old hopeless romantic that was scammed? Is he really a closeted homosexual, that instead of taking a stand and being a hero as a gay rights activist, he cultivated a story to ensure an amazing book or movie deal, than deal with a braver task of being who he was?
This story is wince worthy because of two reasons. 1. People acknowledge dating on social media and not really knowing each other face to face is acceptable. 2. Football players are still stereotypically dumb. Come on Notre Dame! Just because he’s big and can catch a ball, it doesn’t make him Ivy League worthy. If I’m mistaken, and he is intelligent, he is being perceived completely wrong. If he did indeed have “book smarts”, (that’s great) he’s handling this situation terribly wrong. If he lied, he should know the proper etiquette about being a public figure. If he wasn’t lying and was scammed, it ultimately makes him look not much smarter than a cave man. In social media, you have to be cautious. In dating, you have to be cautious. Why a popular football star was seeking comfort through phone interactions and internet relationships is beyond me. Again, the battle continues to whether it was a well crafted hoax or an embarrassing scam.
You might not get Rudy Part 2, based on your story Manti, but you will ultimately get a movie out of this. I can hear screenwriters currently clicking away on their laptops from their underground coffee shops in Brooklyn, seething at the mouth to be the first to write it. It probably won’t make the theaters, or be the incredible victory story you might have wanted that would make it Rudy worthy. Why? Because Alabama crushed your ass, and your tale of love and lies will probably be portrayed by a D list actor on Lifetime.
Because this shit is cray.
And you think it stops there? Check out this article where a Brazilian company is ACTUALLY offering to make you a fake girlfriend. They’ll set up all the social media accounts, do the work for you, and you just have to smile and pretend it’s all real. For all you aspiring Manti wanna-bes, get your credit cards ready.
For more information check out Yahoo!