Catfish Recap: ‘Cassie and Steve’

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Hola Trash Talkers! Welcome to Season 2 of MTV’s Catfish, the show that is theoretically about young people trying to find love online, but winds up being way more about managing expectations, learning to trust that nagging feeling that something is amiss, and why you should only ever “fall in love” with someone after you’ve seen them in person. In case that wasn’t already apparent.

Season 2 debuted on June 25th, which Ronald Reagan just happened to dub National Catfish Day in 1987. Cute. Nev (Knee-ve) and Max are back and ready for action. Enter Cassie, who e-mails Nev for help meeting her fiance.

CassieDear Nev: Could you help me meet my fiance? Love, Cassie

Max echoes my sentiments exactly when he finally stops fiddling with his camera a sec to opine “Wait…she needs help meeting her fiance?” Sigh. I see why that e-mail stood out from the nearly 10,000 e-mails Nev has reportedly received since wrapping Season 1. I’m also extremely concerned about the future of America.

Cassie is a student in Miami who works at a radio station. Her father was brutally murdered in 2010, sending Cassie off the rails and downward into a spiral of sex and alcohol. That all changed when she met aspiring Atlanta rapper Steven Gomez, aka S-Killa. Nice rap name, Steve. Nothing like thinking about killers every time you hear your fiance’s music when your dad was just murdered.

Fake Steve 1“Steve”

Cassie has her sights set on the ultimate goal: the legally binding commitment of marriage. Way to make that sound as terrifying as possible. She hopes Steve will move to Miami to be with her after she graduates from college. At least the girl has goals. She’s seems really down to Earth so I’m surprised she’s placed herself in this predicament. But then I have a babydaddy and I’m really, really long-term unemployed, so I try not to judge.

While Cassie and her “fiance” Steve have never done any video chatting, ever (they tried once but it didn’t work and Cassie never asked again), Cassie tells Nev and Max that the phone sex is amazing. Everyone is uncomfortable. Steve is wicked busy – he’s a rapper, yo (or as Cassie puts it “a very active recording artist and producer”) – slaving away in the studio so he hasn’t found time to come down from Atlanta to visit his betrothed.  Not suspicious at all.

Phone Sex messageHearing of others’ phone sex is just kind of ewwwwww.

As part of their pre-visit, potentially debunking Internet search, Nev and Max listen to some of Steve’s – oh sorry – “S-Killa”‘s songs.

S-Killa playlistFeaturing hits like “Never Gonna Stop…Lying to You”

nev and max listening part 1
Is this it?

Nev and Max listen to S-KILLA's songs
Wow that’s…not great.

They comment that given all the time he says he’s in the studio, the production value of the tracks is surprisingly low and they seem very amateurish. Then the ever-helpful image search reveals that the photos “Steve” has sent to Cassie are actually photos of the FB fan page of Deonee Arnez, aspiring model. Ouch.

deonee's facebook fan pageMeet Deonee Arnez, aspiring model

Congrats on the exposure, Deonee. I’m not entirely unconvinced this whole show isn’t a savvy marketing game played by the Deonees of the world in an attempt to be discovered. My apologies for the triple negative.

Nev and Max headshakingly exposit that since it only took them 32 seconds to find out Steve is a fraud, they really can’t understand why the Catfish dilemma still plays out. I concur, boys. Even if love can make you blind, deaf, dumb and stupid you sort of have to own. But as long as they keep bringing us train wrecks to watch I’m in, even if sometimes/often this show makes me so uncomfortable that I have to watch through finger slits like it’s a horror movie.

Watching Scary Movies Through Fingers
Why would you get engaged to someone you’d never met?

Nev meets Cassie and Cassie’s bestie Gladys for mani/pedis. Cassie and Gladys met in preschool. The first things Gladys said to Cassie was “I like pickles.” Cute. After sufficient relaxation, they head back to Cassie’s where Nev and Max explain their search results. When they first searched for the songs S-Killa sent to Cassie, they didn’t get any hits. Then they explain the image search, and show Cassie Deonee Arnez’s FB fan page containing “Steve”‘s pictures. Cassie is muy disappointed.

Nev gets mani pedis with Cassie and GladysGladys, Cassie’s best friend and full supporter of her engagement to a stranger.

Results of the Internet search
Please let it be Steve. Please let it be Steve.

Cassie to Nev who tf is Deonee
Who is this Deonee who’s been using Steve’s pictures?

 After further digging into one of the songs, Nev uncovers the true author: a skinny white boy skater dude named YNotParty. He shows Cassie YNot’s picture – and it turns out YNot is Gladys’ cousin, Tony, who has been living with Gladys for some time now.  Huh?!?

Tony is the real victimThe real “artist” behind S-Killer’s “music”

Cassie whoa that's Gladys' cousin TonyWait a minute – I know this dude! That’s Gladys’ live-in cousin.

Nev, Max and Cassie head on over to Gladys’ house to see what’s the what with Tony. On the way there Max begs for death and a release from the frustration he seems to experience dealing with the stupid people he and Nev tend to encounter by sitting in the middle of the back seat with no seat belt. Of course, this is coming from a girl who spent countless hours riding in the back of an empty full-sized van my parents had purchased with full intentions of adding an interior in the late 70s. Instead, my brother and I rotated between a bean bag and a folding chair. Every time we’d slow down, BrotherPoor and I would go sliding up toward the front of the van.  Then when we’d accelerate, we’d go sliding all the way back. Seemed fun at the time.

Max is suicidal with no seatbeltMax’s death wish?

Gladys comes outside and is immediately forthcoming: “So Steve…I made up…Steve’s me.” Cassie gives her a death look and then heads to the car to scream out some of her frustration. We learn that when Cassie starting ho’ing it up after her father was killed, Gladys worried that Cassie would compound her life’s ills by getting knocked up. Cassie had mostly shut out everyone in her life who actually cared about her, so Gladys decided to take things into her own hands and made up Steve.

The Confrontation
It was me. I’m Steve.

Cassie wtf do you mean you are steve
But I thought you liked pickles?

Gladys did most of the electronic communications as Steve. The pictures were straight up stolen from FB (poor Deonee), while the music and two years of hours-long conversations and phone-sexing were courtesy of none other than…Cousin Tony, who has gotten himself all tangled in Gladys’ plan. “It felt real to me,” he says of his long talks with Cassie over the preceding two years. Was Tony like 12 when they first hooked up? Sheesh. The things we do for family. Tony has developed a mad crush on Cassie, but his whole stoner/skater vibe doesn’t appeal to her and we never hear from poor Tony again.

Tony 2The real victim here: Cousin Tony, the voice of Steve who fell for Cassie

Ultimately Nev and Max get the two girls to sit down and talk. Gladys apologizes profusely and begs Cassie for the chance to earn her trust back. They’ve been friends for pretty much ever so there’s a chance. And hey, really Gladys’ plan worked – Cassie didn’t get knocked up. Yet. Just before Nev and Max return to New York Gladys vows to never touch Facebook again. “I think the world as a whole will be better off that way.” Ha – that was Nev. Usually Max is the mean one.

Cassie and Gladys sitting really far apart post-reveal
Sitting as far apart as humanly possible

Two months later, Nev and Max speak with the girls online. Gladys is still reticent, and is very happy to hear Cassie tell the boys that though their friendship has major trust issues, it’s still a friendship. As for dating, Cassie has put that part of her life on hold for the time being, preferring to focus on her schooling and work at the radio station. All’s well that ends relatively well.

So what’d you think, TTers? I can see why Gladys wanted to stem Cassie’s post-traumatic meltdown but to get her cousin involved and just flat lie to her best friend for two years seems a little…FREAKING CRAZY. I feel really bad for Tony, and totally creeped out for Cassie. I’m pretty sure if my Gladys had pulled this shit, pickle-loving pre-school friend or no, that’s someone I wouldn’t want in my life. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. But I also know what I’m like when I go off the rails, and I recognize that there’s little help I will accept when I’m busy trying to destroy my life, so maybe Gladys was actually doing Cassie a solid? Tough call. Either way, Gladys should have ‘fessed up as soon as Cassie was all “hey MTV’s coming so I can finally meet Steve!” (which, again, really?!?) to spare Cassie the worst of the embarrassment.

It looks like we’ll be sailing clear through October together! Are you watching? Ever been catfished? Do anything fun to celebrate National Catfish Day? Let me know in the comments!

Check back soon for a recap of Episode 2. In future weeks, plan on a Wednesday morning minicap with the full recap up by Saturday.  Thanks for reading!

– NP

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