Catfish Recap: “Anthony and Marq”

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Greetings from the pond, Catfishin’ Trashiites! After what I hope was an enjoyable long weekend, I’m here to ease the transition back to real life with a recap of episode 2 from the second season of Catfish. Before we dive in, it seems that the repeal of DOMA in conjunction with Anthony’s same-sex catfishery prompted Nev and Max to post this pic to instagram during MTV’s airing of last week’s episode:

 NevMaxKiss
They’re a couple!

I honestly had no idea, but I think it’s really great that they felt comfortable enough to let us all know. Good luck you crazy kids! Working with your significant other is normally a recipe for disaster, but given all the insights you’ve gained about relationships from your time together catfishin’…ah, who am I kidding. This show is way more about the perils of the interwebs than it is about relationships. So on to that!

We open with Nev and Max in a super cheesy hotel room reading an e-mail Anthony sent to Nev requesting assistance figuring out what’s the what with his online love, Marq.  Anthony is a 27-year-old Army veteran from Houston. He was awarded the Purple Heart for service during a tour in Iraq. He broke his hip, his femur, his knees and his ankle in an explosion. He also admits to a brain injury, which more people on reality tv should really open up about because it explains a lot. It took nearly three months in the hospital to recover from his injuries; a serious thank you to Anthony for enduring all of that. Anthony likes boys, so yay for the repeal of Don’t Ask…Don’t Tell so he was allowed to serve without constant fear of losing his pension.

Nev and Max in hotel room nice wallpaperNice wallpaper

Anthony smiling
Meet Anthony – adorable! Also the only time he’s smiling the whole episode.

Marq is from Jackson, Mississippi, which makes me do the whole Miss-Iss-Ipp-I from 3rd grade every single time I type it out. They met on Facebook. Upon returning from Iraq, Anthony was in a pretty dark place and he related to Marq’s equally “I’m in a dark place” status updates. While initially attracted to Marq because he was hot, over time Anthony came to really love Marq’s sensitive nature and appreciates that they’re so open with one another. Well, about things other than their actual identity. They’ve been talking for about a year and “dating” dating for 7 months. Although since they’ve never met I don’t really get how you know your relationship has taken that leap?

Marq collage“Marq”

Marq and Anthony have never video chatted despite many requests from Anthony. Once we all have video phones the whole concept of catfishing may be a thing of the past so I’m glad Nev and Max are documenting this wholly time-sensitive phenomenon. It’ll be a lot harder to hide your actual identity once it’s just standard practice to have video calls. I hope I’m not expected to shower more often, change out of my yoga pants, or tame my hair any better when that day comes, because all of that is pretty unlikely. By the way…

NouveauPoor
Meet “NouveauPoor”

(That’s totally not me.) Anthony flew all the way to Mississipi (Miss-Iss-Ipp-I) last Thanksgiving where Marq was supposed to meet him in a restaurant, but Marq never showed. His excuse? He got carjacked on the way there! Oh nos! The carjacker ran him over with his own car and broke his arm and his leg! That’s so totally horrific! And also the most elaborate bullshit excuse anyone’s ever given to avoid meeting their “boyfriend” who traveled hours to be there. On a holiday. Too bad these two don’t have phones so Marq could have called and Anthony could have met him at the hospital like any caring supportive boyfriend would. Maybe the carjacker took his phone too?

It’s already pretty obvious that Marq’s big excuse is…improbable at best, but instead of sending Anthony pictures of his arm and leg casts with a sad schmoopy face to garner sympathy like one would expect, Marq sends only a picture of his arm in a cast. Upon seeing the photo, Max points out the obvious: “That’s a white hand.” Marq said that’s because it was swelling at the time. Huh.

By the time Anthony calls in Nev and Max he’s already pretty for sure he’s being catfished, and he’s devastated about it. Nev and Max head to Houston and over to Anthony’s house. So many actual houses this season; I sort of miss the sheds and lean-tos from Season 1. Anthony shows us a picture Marq sent of Marq with a guy and a girl. Lo and behold, Anthony knows the other guy in the picture, Robert, so he texted Robert and asked who the dude in the middle (supposedly Marq) was. Robert was all “Yeah, that’s Joshua.” Uh oh.

Frienemy RobertFrom left: Girl-who-didn’t-sign-a-release, Marq/Joshua?, Frienemy Robert

Anthony found Joshua “HeartThrob” online and realized either JHT was Marq’s doppelganger or Marq had been lying. When questioned, Marq says it’s a fake page and gets really angry about JHT stealing his pictures. Anthony doesn’t know if he should believe Robert because it turns out Robert hates Anthony, so there’s some hope that Marq is not lying. Sure.

JoshuaHeartThrobJoshua HeartThrob, whose page has all of Marq’s pictures on it (and 13,000+ likes)

After Nev and Max leave, Anthony breaks down crying and one of the show producers call them back inside. Anthony is really upset about all the lying and says he’s tired of all of it. It’s a really honest moment, but I totally can’t understand why Anthony hasn’t cut this shit off way before now. He seems like an intelligent guy and deserves way better than this even if Marq is Marq. Also, why is his bedroom so empty?

Anthony crying in his sparsely decorated bedroomSomeone send this poor boy a Pottery Barn catalog

Nev and Max go back to their cabin-like hotel (“The (cat)Fishin’ Hole”) and start their search. First they e-mail Joshua, who calls Nev on the phone almost immediately and obliges when they ask him to video chat.  Meet Joshua.

Joshua HeartThrobHeartThrob

Josh tell the guys that he’s familiar with the show, and that people steal his pictures all the time. Me too, Josh. Me too. Josh is a party promoter in Houston and he knows a lot of people and apparently they’re ripping off his identity left and right to become catfish. Weird! Josh records a message for Anthony saying he’s sorry he’s not the guy Anthony’s in love with and he hopes Anthony finds everything he’s looking for. I thought it was actually really sweet.

Next Nev and Max reverse lookup Marq’s cell phone number, which they find belongs to someone named Framel, also in Jackson, Mississippi (Miss-Iss…). Good heavens. Even with all the whacked out names of late, I haven’t a clue what “Marq”‘s mom was thinking when she named him…Framel. His name is Framel. I might pretend my name was Marq too. They find Framel’s MyLife page and when they click on the FB link it takes them to Marq’s FB page, so they’re pretty sure this Framel guy is “Marq.” Eventually they pinpoint Framel’s real identity by searching by his MyLife customized url, framel_300 or something like that, just in case any of you wanted pointers on online stalking. I’m already fairly good at it myself.

Framel
The unfortunately named Framel

That was so not Framel’s hand in a cast earlier. They find a video Framel posted online in which he talks about how much he loves himself all Jack Handey style, even his crazy hair and the gap in his teeth. Framel. If you love yourself as much as you claim why make up another identity? Also, that’s not just a “gap”; I’m pretty sure you’re actually missing a tooth. I’m so sad for Anthony.

Armed with all their findings, the guys head to Anthony’s house to pick him up and take him to…anyone know where they are?

Where are theyVFW hall? Homeless shelter? Revelation Station?

Nev opens with the video from Josh, which is obviously disturbing for Anthony. Once he’s processed the fact that Marq has definitely been stealing Josh’s identity, Nev shows him Framel’s Jack Handey video. Anthony loses it and they take a break. He’s really upset that he’s shared so much of himself when he was only being played. I don’t blame him, but I still wish he would have found all this out before sharing so much. After a commercial, Anthony is ready to confront Framel. Nev goes outside to call and set up a meeting. When Nev asks for Framel, Framel’s all “who?” Meanwhile Max is inside with an inconsolable Anthony. And let’s face it; sensitivity has never really been Max’s thing anyway. I hope Nev hurries.

Sad AnthonyMax: Are you tired?
Anthony: No I’m just so sad.
Max: Crap.

Framel tries to hastily hang up, but Nev tells him he’s been putting this off long enough and Framel finally ‘fesses to being Framel and agrees to meet. He says he loves Anthony and he hopes they can work through this. It’s not looking probable – Anthony is devastated. He heads to the airport with Max and Nev and they hit the road for Jackson.

Anthony at the airportAnthony is adorable!

Framel lives in kind of a busted up neighborhood “in Timbuktu” as Anthony puts it. When they get to his house they head…into the garage. That’s different. Framel doesn’t even invite them in; they have it out in the garage.

Meeting Framel 2I wish we could’ve met at Marq’s house.

Anthony can’t even look at him. Framel says he loves Anthony as a partner and he never intended for anyone to get hurt. He says he would take it back if he could.

Anthony AngryYou can’t. And ewwww.

Anthony asks Framel if he was in the restaurant last Thanksgiving. He was! He couldn’t handle outing himself to Anthony so he left. Max asks Framel if he lies a lot in his real life, or if he restricts his stories to the interwebs. Framel says that he actually sees himself as Marq – a fictional character with Joshua’s physical attributes and Framel’s personality. Holy crazypants. He must be really shocked every time he looks in a mirror.

FramelWHOA. That’s not what I look like in my head.

Anthony says his peace/piece, lamenting that he allowed Framel to make a fool of him to his friends, his family, and most of all to himself. Then he jets. “I don’t have nothin’ to say.” Framel is upset, claiming to love Anthony and that he knows how much he’s screwed up. The next day Nev, Max and Anthony head back to Framel’s. He invites them in this time, and he’s brought backup in the form of two hag friends whose only purpose in being there is to get on tv.

Framel and some friendsFriends/bodyguards?

They knew about Anthony pretty early on, but didn’t find out for a while about the whole “Marq” thing.  Anthony and Framel start yelling at each other and it’s about to come to fisticuffs when Anthony walks out. Nev follows him, leaving Max awkwardly alone with Framel and his friends. Eventually Anthony comes back inside. He apologizes for “disrespecting your mother’s house” and I just really like this guy and hope he finds someone who makes him so happy. He’s respectful and attractive and has a decent attitude for someone who’s been through so much. He also apologizes for not listening and gives Framel the floor.

Framel says he’s going to try his hardest to win Anthony over because he loves him. He also says he doesn’t want Anthony going through life never trusting anyone because of this. He says he’s willing to answer any questions. Nev puts it best: “Who are you?” Framel pulls out his baby book and tells us about his life. He got into some kind of an accident when he was 12 that required multiple surgeries and led to a big weight gain as he struggled to recover. Throw in being gay in a religious family and Framel developed a deep self-loathing that led to his alter-ego creation. He says that while the pictures weren’t him, everything else was real and that he really needs Anthony to forgive him.

Goodbye hugsDon’t ever call me again.

Anthony does forgive Framel and they hug before our crew heads out. Two months later, Nev and Max videochat with Anthony who says he’s put his romantic life on hold while he recovers from the breakup. Every time he misses “Marq” he remembers how angry he was when he found out the truth. Then they talk to Framel, who has deactivated his “Marq” page and claims to be only Framel online now. He says he was always so concerned about how people would feel about the real him, but that seeing what he had done to Anthony gave him the wherewithal to put himself, his real self, out there anyway…and he’s already met someone! Anthony and Framel haven’t spoken since the big reveal, but Framel hopes one day they can reconnect and have a meaningful friendship. Good luck with that.

So what’d you think Trashmii? Anyone ever hear an excuse as bad as “I got carjacked and my hand turned white from swelling?” Are you a little angry at Anthony that he didn’t cut his losses sooner when it was pretty obvious he was being played? But other than that, did you find Anthony as likable as I did? I really hope he finds happiness. Do you, like me, wonder if this whole episode was staged solely to get some publicity for party promoter Joshua HeartThrob? What if we’re all being catfished by Catfish?!? Do tell!

See you soon,

NP

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