Grace Dent on TV: Reeled in by Catfish, the show that’s created a fresh dictionary definition of deceit

 

Despite my obsession with Game of Thrones and Lucy Worsley’s The First Georgians right now, I am still televisually smitten with MTV’s Catfish. The show that exposes online love fraudsters. The throwaway youth TV show that one’s mind just cannot throw away. Instead, one sits post- episode genuinely saddened that our human need to love and be loved is so destructive. Or that  the earth’s supply of gullible optimists may well be infinite.

Oh, Catfish, I just can’t quit you. This is youth TV so successful that it has created a fresh dictionary definition of deceit. It’s the moment when Nev and Max, the detective duo, get their subject, typically from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to  admit her “boyfriend” has never, not once in 20 months, turned on video chat to prove his  existence. There will never be a day I won’t sweep aside all work and watch the next 45 minutes.

Craig, pronounced “Cragg”, in Pittsburgh, PA, is in love with Zoe, pronounced “Zow”, in Shelby, North Carolina. Zoe helped him through the death of his father. She calls him every day and tells him she’s in love. Zoe doesn’t exist. She is hewn from stolen Facebook photos, given breath and blood by barely concealed fibs and double-bluffs and lives on in Craig’s heart due to the genuine malice of one of America’s worst teenagers, Cassandra. Catfish isn’t about technology. It’s largely about love. Pre-social media, we were all just as dumb for love.

Never try to tell me that today’s teenagers are bone idle. Their hobbies are industrious, inventive, all-consuming. I can barely service one whole life functionally – most Catfishers have two or three. They jump between mobile phones and web browsers, conducting public conversations with their selfs – online chats to lay seeds of verity that they exist. And there’s you, too exhausted to go online and pay the gas bill.

Another fantastic youth show People Just Do Nothing appears not to be scheduled to play on TV screens at all. BBC3, in case you didn’t hear the hubbub, is moving to iPlayer. You can also download the show to watch on a big screen if you’re that sort of traditionalist. Gosh, I hope people bother to find People Just Do Nothing as it’s one of the greatest comedies the BBC has produced for a while.

People Just Do Nothing is The Office – and I mean this genuinely; it has the heart, depth and devilish details of the early Gervais creation –meets the deadpan “rockumentary” style of  Spinal Tap, but set in a drum’n’bass pirate radio station, Kurupt FM 108, in Brentford. Throw your Kurupt Ks in the air, make some noise. But do it quietly as Grindah’s girlfriend Miche and her kid are next door.

It was proper romantic how Miche met Grindah. He shouted at her out of a van. Grindah and his best mate Beats are, frankly, a bit too old to be playing records in a back room cloaked in a thick fug of cannabis smoke but this is exactly the point. Wonderfully, all the actors involved in People Just Do Nothing have a modicum of rap or DJ talent. It’s that modicum of ability defiantly being forged into an entire “career” that is so great. It’s deeply daft, but also a lovely satire on British extended adolescence. I’ve watched episode one – the one where they try to soundproof the Kurupt FM  studio with egg boxes – on numerous occasions, looking for evidence of any of the cast corpsing when Grindah suddenly hits them with some  freestyle nonsense.

In case one is worried that Youth TV might be getting a little too cerebrally stimulating, MTV is currently running a wonderfully dim show called Ex on the Beach. In this show, young women who didn’t make the Take Me Out audition and young men with spray tans and Chinese dragon sleeve tattoos are sent on a tropical beach holiday. It’s non-stop boozing, bonking, building human pyramids etc suspended only by a ghoulish motorboat occasionally pulling up on the beach and delivering an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Obviously then, all hell is let loose.

“I’m not gonna let him spoil my tiiiiime here!” females tend to shout, “Or spoil my tiiiime  with Gazz, cos I love Gazz, who I only met  two days ago but I totally love him, and what we have is special and Damo is an ex for a reason so I won’t let him stir things up!” Meanwhile, the ex struts around pulling a variety of body-building poses and territorially pissing – figuratively, at least –  around her feet. Obviously they’re all so vain and highly strung that they can’t help but  be incapacitated by jealousy and anger. The  clever thing for the ex to do would be to get off the boat, get a drink and enjoy a free holiday courtesy of MTV, occasionally giving his terrible  ex’s new quarry a cheery “good luck mate” thumbs-up.

The gorgeous screaming kids on Ex on the Beach make being skint, non-pretty, slightly  malnourished-looking and trapped on a Brentford estate with a boyfriend who runs a pirate radio station seem like a preferable way to spend one’s salad days. People Just Do Nothing. They really really do.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

    Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

    Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US