After the 2010 documentary Catfish, everyone knew that Nev Shulman had fallen for someone pretending to be a totally and completely different person. An MTV reality series, Catfish, followed in 2012, and filmmaker Max Joseph joined Nev in traveling the country to meet hopefuls and catfishes and try to make love connections (or at least get to the bottom of what was going on).
A new reality series has recently premiered on MTV: Ghosted. The show follows two hosts who find out why someone has been ghosted (aka totally ignored by a friend or lover) and, yes, travel the country to get to the heart of the issue. It's time to compare the two reality shows as they do sound and look very similar. Here are five things that Ghosted does better than Catfish and vice versa.
10 Ghosted: It's More Relatable
Part of the fun of watching MTV's Catfish is that it feels so out of the ordinary. It's tough for many of us to imagine catfishing someone or being on the other end. But how many times have we been ghosted?
It's okay, we can keep those numbers to ourselves... but chances are we have experienced it before. That makes Ghosted a much more relatable show, which is a really nice thing to see in the reality TV world. We may not try to survive on a desert island or put our baking or cooking skills to the test, but we go on dates and then never hear from the person again even though we thought it went well.
9 Catfish: It's A Pop Culture Favorite
At this point, we all know what it means to catfish someone, but that wasn't really the case when the show premiered back in 2012. And of course we know what it means to ghost someone, but it's tough to imagine Ghosted having the kind of pop culture impact that Catfish has had.
Thanks to the documentary film that it's based on and how popular Nev and Max are, Catfish is a big part of popular culture now, and it's even been spoofed on SNL, with Adam Levine playing Nev.
8 Ghosted: More Potential For Happy Endings
The toughest part of being a fan of Catfish? The fact that most episodes end on a pretty sad note because the people didn't find the love that they were searching for. Sometimes they will stay friends but a lot of the time, there are too many negative emotions for them to stay in contact.
Ghosted has more potential for happy endings. The pilot, for example, has old friends deciding to put aside their differences and reunite with one another, which is so heartwarming to see.
7 Catfish: A Deep, Important Message
Sure, on the surface Catfish seems like a show designed to shock and entertain. And that's definitely true. But the show has a deep, important message of being your true self and not lying and figuring out how to be a good person while moving through the world. The show deals with subjects such as coming out and family drama.
The message of Ghosted, on the other hand, seems pretty straightforward and surface-level: don't ghost people.
6 Ghosted: More Surprising Twists
When Catfish began, every episode was a big thrill to watch and no one could believe what they were watching. How could someone lie about their identity when they supposedly love someone? How could the other person truly have no clue what was going on?
But as the seasons went on, nothing was a big deal anymore and the episodes started to feel dull and flat. It's not the fault of the show at all, it's just that catfishing is simply played out and viewers have certain expectations. Ghosted, on the other hand, wins this round because the show features more surprising twists. Not to spoil things, but there's an awesome reveal in the very first episode that proves this point.
5 Catfish: More Engaging Hosts
Rachel and Travis are great and they're very sweet toward the people that they're trying to help. But it's fair to say that Nev and Max are more engaging hosts.
There's just something about the relationship that these two share. They have a true friendship that has turned into a bromance and that's one reason that fans were so upset when Max left after season seven. They joke around in hotel rooms, give each other advice, and are the best travel buddies. They also play well off each other: while Nev is always up for listening and giving people the benefit of the doubt, Max is more cynical. Rachel and Travis just don't have a good rapport down yet and they tend to feel too similar.
4 Ghosted: It's Not Just About Love
Catfish might not feel quite as tired these days if the show focused on people pretending to be someone else to fit in with their friends or at school. After all, people lie about all kinds of things, and it's not always about finding love.
Something that Ghosted does better is broadening the scope and focusing on friendships, not just romantic partners. This makes it so interesting to watch.
3 Catfish: It's Not As Formulaic
Yes, it's definitely true that both Ghosted and Catfish follow the same formula in every single episode. And many people have pointed out that both shows feel the same in that sense.
But Catfish isn't quite as formulaic as the new MTV show because it has featured some different locations over the years. In the beginning, Max and Nev would fly out to where the hopeful is living, and then fly with them to where the catfish resides. This allowed viewers to see different parts of the United States, from big cities to super small towns. In recent years, everyone comes to L.A. (which hasn't been as well-done), but at least the locations have been switched up in the past.
2 Ghosted: The Cultural Significance
It's fair to say that ghosting has a bigger cultural significance than catfishing does as not everyone lies about who they are but most people have ghosted and been ghosted.
That gives the reality show Ghosted a bigger cultural significance and makes it feel like a more crucial and necessary show. Perhaps if we keep watching, we'll learn exactly why people ghost? (Here's hoping.)
1 Catfish: The Location Of The Big Reveal
On Ghosted, when the two former friends or partners meet again, they do so in a TV studio. They sit opposite one another and there are tons of cameras around. It doesn't seem like a very comfortable place to be having such a raw, honest, and tough conversation.
Catfish features much better locations for the big reveal. The two people often meet each other in a park, which works well since they can walk around, and the hopeful can take a break or go back to the car with Max or Nev if they need a minute. Even though these two MTV reality series are very similar, this is definitely one way that Catfish wins.