For a show all about online relationships and deceptions, going completely virtual while filming the new season of Catfish amid the coronavirus pandemic brought plenty of new challenges for hosts Nev Schulman and Kamie Crawford. Ahead of Wednesday's premiere of the groundbreaking new season of Catfish, the MTV stars opened up to PopCulture.com about just how their strategies had to shift while tracking down catfish from a distance.
Crawford called the whole process "insane," but exciting, noting that they began filming at the start of the pandemic's spread to the United States in March when there wasn't much precedent for producing quarantine content. Schulman added, "For us, it's interesting because the whole point of the show is getting people to show up in person and make that eye-to-eye human connection."
Getting the people suspected of lying about their identity to meet in person is easier, he explained, because there's more "healthy pressure" of a physical meeting to get them to fess up. "When you're trying to get people to FaceTime you, there isn't any pressure like there is when you show up at someone's house," Schulman told PopCulture. Crawford agreed it's far more difficult to get people to appear on screen from the comfort of their own homes, giving her co-host the credit of using "a lot more softness" to "butter people up" and get them to agree.
Despite the widespread success of the Catfish documentary in 2010 and subsequent hit TV show, Crawford said she somehow continued to be "shocked" at every single episode they film because of "the audacity that some of these catfish have and sometimes the naiveté of the person who is looking for love, and the hopefulness sometimes."
Filming during a pandemic made it only more evident how important human connection is, which Schulman said should make empathizing with the catfishing victims easier for the general public. "The last four months have taught us all that when you feel isolated, and when the future maybe looks bleak … the internet becomes a very desirable, appealing place to spend time and get that human contact you need," he said.
On the flip side, Crawford noted spending so much time at home has also emboldened the catfish they see: "It's definitely giving some people the time they needed to pursue catfishing activities." Don't miss the premiere of Catfish's entirely virtual season Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m. ET on MTV. For more on the latest MTV programming from PopCulture, click here.