Yaniv 'Nev' Schulman is a photographer living with his brother Ariel 'Rel' Schulman and Rel's filmmaking partner, Henry Joost. After one of Nev's photos is featured in a newspaper, he is sent a painting of his photo by 8 year old Abby. Abby is eloquent and gifted for her age and she and Nev begin talking, first through letters then through Facebook. At this point Ariel and Henry begin recording this relationship hoping to create a Documentary about Abby. Eventually Nev's correspondence extends to include Abby's family, including her mother Angela and her half-sister Megan. As Nev and Megan begin to develop a relationship, Nev, Ariel, and Henry decide to expand the documentary to be about New Media relationships, especially the budding romance between Nev and Megan.
MTV recently turned the film into a series, in which Nev helps people meet their "catfish" - people using online personas, real, faked, or otherwise.
Catfish provides examples of:
- Child Prodigy: Abby although not really.
- Dating Service Disaster: The series mostly deals with people who are being "catfished" by potential or current romantic interests. In extreme cases people have 10 year relationships with people they've never met.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Bizarrely enough, the person behind "Megan" and Nev became friends.
- Foreshadowing: Ariel's incredulity at "Angela's" photo, Nev's claims of Megan's Larynx Dissonance.
- Mockumentary: Has been accused of actually being this and not a real documentary.
- New Media Are Evil: The implication of the movie. Justified if it's real.
- Person as Verb: "Catfishing" has entered the slang lexicon. Its definition: to create a completely fictitious life online, with or without deceitful intentions, especially when the life is of a member of the opposite sex.