Catfish Recap: ‘Lauren and Derek’

Howdy again, TrashTalkers. Before we dive into this week’s Catfish I wanted to share with you something you can never unsee:

Nev's chest hair holy crap
Wowza

Apparently Nev is known for his furry chest but I would have never expected he was hiding all that in there. MiniPoor’s dad is similarly hairy and I’m sporting some hairy arms myself. We used to joke while I was pregnant that we were having Chewbacca, but MiniPoor doesn’t show any signs of looking like Nev. Which is especially good since she’s a girl.

This week we open with Max and Nev in a hotel room in Deltona, Florida, which just so happens to be where last episode’s catfish lives. I guess they send the last sucker home on their own and jump right into their next couple. That must be a lonely flight for those who have been catfished.

Nev has received an e-mail from Lauren. Lauren met Derek through MySpace eight long years ago when Lauren was 14 and Derek was 16. Lauren, now 21, lives in Texas with her young son Mason. It seems that Lauren and Derek have dated other people throughout the years and one of these relationships turned Lauren into a single mom. Well, that and the lack of birth control.

Lauren freaking out in the carMeet Lauren

Derek from myspace
Meet Derek, circa 2005 MySpace

Mason
Meet Mason – Cutie!

Derek has been really accepting of Mason and talks about them all being a family, but alas Derek and Lauren have never met. Lauren has tried to video chat with Derek but he always finds an excuse, leading Max to opine “He’s ready to take care of her kid but he’s not ready to video chat.” Good point, Max.

You Mason MeYou — Mason — Me…but I won’t video chat

Lauren was engaged to another guy after Mason’s birth. Derek was so upset by this news that he unfriended her on Facebook and they stopped talking. Eventually Lauren called off her engagement and set out to reconnect with Derek, who she feels is the love of her life. I imagine the ex-fiance and the baby daddy are thrilled this is all on MTV.

Max is convinced Lauren is batshit, given that she broke off her engagement because a guy who wouldn’t video chat with her deleted her from FB. They video chat with Lauren and she actually seems fairly sane and really sincere in her love for Derek. She wants a marriage with her best friend. Her family knows Derek exists, but they don’t know she’s never met him. Please don’t be a catfish, Derek. Be a trout. Or any other random sea creature.

Nev and Max head off to Texas to meet Lauren and Mason. Max is convinced this will end in heartache, while Nev thinks it may be okay. Lauren answers the door with Mason, who is adorable and really curious about the crew and all the cameras. We learn that Lauren’s mom died when Lauren had just turned 6 and her father was in the Navy so they moved around a lot. After all that, she really craves stability and permanence.

We also learn that once Lauren was within about five hours of Derek’s home in Maryland, but when she called and suggested they meet Derek said it wasn’t a good time. Yikes. The boys try and prep Lauren that he has to be hiding something and she needs to be prepared that this isn’t going to have a happy ending.

It looks like Max and Nev are staying at a quaint little bed and breakfast, instead of the usual nondescript motel. They begin their stalking/investigation with Derek’s FB page where they find a post talking about a $39 birdbath he bought (instead of a webcam). Their reverse image search turns up…nothing. They check out his friends who are all around his age and live in Maryland or went to high school in Maryland with him. Nev thinks Derek might be for real, but Max is still really pissed that he’s never tried to meet her.

Then they reverse search Derek’s phone number and find it belongs to one  R. Levourne. Mr. Levourne is married and has pictures of himself with kids. They also find a picture of Mr. Levourne on what may or may not be a “trike,” which is what “Derek” told Lauren he’d like to ride off into the sunset with her on, so that’s alarming. Also alarming? Mr. Levourne looks like this:

R. Levourne profile pic
Whoa

So everything looks legit except for “Derek”‘s phone number, which is apparently owned by Mr. Levourne. Nev still has hope that Derek is for real and just has a really big secret they need to ferret out, while Max is convinced Mr. Levourne has been masquerading as Derek this whole time. (Wouldn’t their voices sound a lot different?) They head to a park to meet Lauren and Mason and give her the news. Lauren tells them that Derek’s had the same phone number the whole time she’s known him and she doesn’t know Mr. Levourne.

Back at the B&B, Nev and Max call Derek and try to figure out what his deal is. He’s really hesitant but finally agrees to meet so Nev and Max head to collect Lauren. Before they leave, Lauren needs to tell her dad and stepmom and they are NOT thrilled. Her dad especially is worried about what she’s going to find out, but says that if Derek is who he says he is then he’s supportive of the relationship. Stepmom points out that Lauren has an awfully big heart (she really does seem to) and that people take advantage of those with big hearts. So true. Lauren keeps referring to Derek as her best friend, which eventually moves her dad to tears, since Lauren’s mom was his best friend and ReplacementWife is too. All in all they’re a really sweet family who seem to really care about one another. If Derek isn’t Derek I’m going to be so pissed.

Lauren and her dad
I just don’t want to see you get your heart broken

Nev, Max and Lauren head to Maryland with Mason and Lauren’s friend Ryan (who’s never been on an airplane!) along for the ride. Everyone is really nervous – Lauren because she’s finally going to meet the man of her dreams, and Nev and Max because they don’t understand why he hasn’t met her yet. Mason stays behind with Ryan while Nev, Max and Lauren head to meet Derek. Lauren is freaking out which, eight years. Lauren points out that Nev and Max do this all the time for different people but for her this is all new.  Nev thanks her for reminding them that it’s not a show for the people who contact them; it’s real life.

Lauren in the car cryingOmg omg omg omg omg omg omg

Lauren says omg about 8,283 times culminating in “OMG I AM IN DEREK’S DRIVEWAY!!!!” She doesn’t know who should knock. She’s holding onto Nev for actual physical support. She rings the doorbell but can’t look to see who answers, even when she hears the door open.

Lauren at the front door feature pic“Omg it’s really going to be Derek!” Or is it?

Surprise surprise…

R Levourne answers the door
It’s Mr. Levourne

No I’m totally kidding! It’s actual Derek!

Lauren and Derek finally meet
Derek is real!

Lauren and Derek finally hug and they’re really adorable. They’re both shaking. Derek thanks Nev and Max for bringing Lauren to him and says it’s really weird to actually touch her. Max thanks Derek for being Derek and they all head to chat on the deck. They tell him about his phone number being registered to Mr. Levourne but he has no idea what that’s about. Did Max and Nev, internet searchers extraordinaire, screw up their search? Huh. They also ask him why he would never video chat but he says he didn’t know it was a big deal to her or he would’ve done it no problem. It’s still not all adding up for me but we’ll see.

Lauren and Derek cuddling on the deck
Falling more in love in person

Derek says he wanted everything to be perfect before he met her – he wanted a better job and a more settled life – and that’s why he was so scared to meet her before now. He’s also really worried that Mason won’t like him, but ultimately he’s just really glad she’s there. Nev and Max send the happy couple on their first date and seriously you guys they’re adorable.

First Date unsized
Adorable!

The next morning as Nev and Max are waking for the day, Max says he didn’t get enough sleep because he was up worried about Lauren and Derek. Awwwwww. Nev got a text from Lauren at 3:38am saying “I have a lot to tell!!smiley!” They head down to her room and rehash the perfect date. Max asks if there’s anything awkward physically, like, the size of Derek’s “hands” but it’s never really established if he stayed over or they got any more physical than kissing.

Later that day, Nev and Max take Lauren, Mason and Ryan to meet Derek at a farm-y place. They go on a hay ride, feed some farm animals and put Mason up on a tractor. Max gets bit by an ostrich-looking thing which totally cracked me up. Mason seems to really take a liking to Derek which, phew for everyone. There’s a shot of Lauren and Derek each holding one of Mason’s arms and doing the “1-2-3-swing!” game which, as a single mom myself, totally melts my heart; that’s something you don’t ever get to do enough of with your kid when you’re on your own.

On the Farm
Down on the farm

Nev goes off alone with Derek who reiterates that the thing he was worried about the most was meeting Mason, but it all seems to be going really well.  He thanks Nev for bringing just Lauren the first day and then introducing Mason now because if he had met them both at the same time he’s pretty sure he would’ve passed out. He tells Nev that he loves Lauren so much and that even though he’s never dated someone with a kid, Mason is a part of Lauren so he loves Mason too. No one can stop smiling. Not even me.

Two months later Nev and Max sit down to video chat with Lauren…and Derek is there too! They’ve visited each other three times since filming ended and they hope to be engaged within the year. Derek has met most of Lauren’s family and seems to have assuaged any of their doubts. We learn that Lauren is planning to move to Maryland to be with Derek and I’m actually kind of bummed they’re not headed back to Texas; Lauren’s family seems great and I’m sure they’ll miss the heck out of little Mason. As we fade out, we learn that Derek is still trying figure out why his phone number is registered to Mr. Levourne, but that he’s trying to correct the situation. Funny!

So what’d you think TTers? Was that not the most heartwarming Catfish you’ve ever seen?!? I think those two crazy kids just may make it! While it’s super weird that Derek never wanted to meet Lauren before, I can sort of see his reasoning that he didn’t feel like he was the man he wanted to be yet. But gah, doubts like that can keep you stuck in one spot forever if you let them.

Join me back here next week when Dorion has to choose between his current girlfriend and the online girl that’s always been there for him. Hopefully it will be just as awkward as any other episode; too much of this huggy huggy crap isn’t the most fun to recap. See you soon!

– NP

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