Welcome back kids! We’re in full swing: I am already doing philosophy research and have already successfully forgotten about my Astronomy lab this Tuesday! Anyway, beyond the boring school things, I need to tell you about two gems: “Catfish” and “Buckwild.” One time I wrote about TV hate spirals. This is so much greater.
Nev Schulman and his brother Ariel host “Catfish”. The basic premise is simple; they find people who have been participating in online relationships and have never seen the person. They then facilitate a meeting for both parties. So far, this show has been flawless. There have been heartbreaks, lies, deceit and crazy people. The show has its originations in the documentary of the same name, with Nev in the relationship and Ariel filming the whole shebang. In the documentary, Nev finds that the woman keeping the relationship with him isn’t who she says she is. It all started when a little girl sent a painting of Nev’s photos to him, and ends with a lonel but very sweet woman trying to get more out of life.
In many of these episodes, we have people who are trying to find more for themselves that they think cannot be attained by being themselves. They cling to these online personalities like I cling to Nutella. One man had fake relationships with over forty people, and had gotten expelled from college because he had caused problems with his male RA, while pretending to be an attractive blonde female. He had trouble with his sexual orientation and didn’t feel safe coming out in the dirty south. Another girl pretended to be a male family friend to spite a female bully, but kept the profile when she received a lot of positive attention from women, feeling good about herself because people cared what she had to say. All in all, “Catfish” is great and really emphasizes how far people have come in starting a relationship, or what they will do to attain the attention they crave.
On the other end of the spectrum we have “Buckwild,” a show that really makes me feel at home. I am not from the south, and I don’t think you have to be to appreciate this show. Anyone from a town with fewer than 2,000 people knows that Wolfpen Holler is real all over the country. I graduated high school from Pierz, Minn. My town had 1,200 people in it and I graduated with 72 people. It is the part of Minnesota where people say,“dat dere tree is getting tall,” and they don’t understand why people look at them like they have eight heads. When I go home, my accent is thicker and I see nothing wrong with mossy oak swimwear. I have no problem with the people in Wolfpen Holler jumping into dikes, dragging a trashcan lid behind a four wheeler, or making a Slip’n’Slide out of a tarp, because I have done it. People can stop acting like they think they are uncouth people, because I guarantee if you could do it right now, you would love it. They are fun and honest people.
I guess what I have learned maybe is that these shows are reality TV. With a lot more reality than I thought.