Content Warning: This article contains discussions of bullying and racial discrimination
MTV’s Catfish might not be the highly-ranked MTV reality series that it once was, but the online mystery show has nevertheless contributed some amazing things to popular culture. From memorable memes, hilarious terms, and even the usage of the word ‘catfish’ itself, it’s safe to say Catfish has changed popular culture in many ways since it first premiered in 2012.
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With eight seasons produced, a change in co-hosts, nearly 200 episodes in the books, and countless guest hosts under its belt, Catfish has more than earned the time to take a victory lap and look back at the best of what the MTV series has produced so far.
Updated on March 14th, 2022 by Alex Gentile: As fans continue to rifle through the catalog and rate their choices for the best Catfish episodes, the all-time standings continue to change. The show’s following keeps growing into its eighth season as the show reaches its ten-year mark. Some classic episodes are still celebrated, but newer stories have now broken into the show’s top ten tales of digital deception.
11 “Nick & Jasmine” – 7.5
“Nick & Jasmine” is a crucial episode in the history of Catfish, but it has very little to do with the case at the episode’s center. This seventh-season episode marks Max Joseph’s final appearance as co-host, and it includes plenty of bittersweet moments to boot.
The rest of the episode follows an unconventional Catfish case, as hopeful Nick tells Nev and Max that he has been in love with the alleged catfish ‘Jasmine’ – and even met and kissed her, while blindfolded. Of course, things don’t turn out as expected, with ‘Jasmine’ revealed to be a young woman named Nicole. By the end, Nick and Nicole decide to go their separate ways.
10 “Lucille & Kidd Cole” – 7.6
A famous moment from Catfish history that has made its way into many memes and GIFs can be found in the contentious episode “Lucille & Kidd Cole.” This episode, which might no longer be aired due to legal issues with the catfish themselves, saw Nev throw the catfish’s cell phone into the water they are filming beside after they refused to answer Lucille’s questions.
The episode is also an unconventional one for the series, as the relationship between hopeful Lucille and catfish Kidd Cole was not a romantic one, but rather a business relationship.
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9 “Lucas & Many” – 7.6
“Lucas and Many” came to Catfish fans during season 5. Nev and Max follow the story of Jayme. The dancer and former Playboy model meets a love interest on Tinder until she finds out he isn’t all he seems.
Fans perhaps say the episode is highly rated due to the level of drama it presents. For one of the first times in the series, a catfish was confronted for manipulating dozens of women. Furthermore, he wasn’t confronted by just one, but three of his victims along with Max and Nev.
8 “Spencer & Katy” – 7.6
As should be well clear by now, many of Catfish’s best episodes break the conventional mold of the dating series. Few episodes fit that bill better than the unforgettable “Spencer & Katy.”
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In this Season 5 episode, sweet and hopeful Spencer has gone and gotten himself convinced that he’s not only talking to Katy Perry but also that they will be getting married too. He’s even spent some of his savings on having an engagement ring made for her from his grandmother’s band. Of course, Spencer winds up greatly disappointed in the end — but not without putting up a bit of a fight.
7 “Catfish: The Untold Stories Part 10” – 7.6
Viewers perhaps remember Catfish’s Untold Stories special. Perhaps the most fascinating installment in the unique broadcast comes in part 10. Each part of the untold stories special is broken up into segments.
Fans of Catfish know the series is based on a documentary in which Nev is catfished by someone he believed to be in an online relationship with. In part 10 of the untold stories, the focus gets turned on Nev as he is catfished once again.
6 “Dylan & Savenia” – 7.6
Love stories that turn out to be genuine are all too rare in Catfish, underscoring its place as a guilty pleasure dating show on Hulu. That makes the seventh episode “Dylan & Savenia” sweeter, even though the young lovers don’t wind up together after all. Dylan and Savenia have both written into the series for help at different points, but it’s Dylan who plays the role of the hopeful as he comes to Nev and Max for help finding the woman he’s fallen in love with over Facebook chats.
Although Savenia had slightly altered her profile pictures (which she feared would be a breaking point for Dylan), viewers were glad to hear that she still turned out to be exactly who Dylan believed her to be. Both Dylan and Savenia are incredibly shy and earnest in their first meeting, making for a sweet episode, no matter how their relationship may have ended off-screen.
5 “Lauren & Derek” – 7.7
There are some moments from Catfish that have become so iconic, they have not only been turned into memes but have also often been featured in the series’ opening credits. The season two episode, “Lauren & Derek,” is an episode filled with many of those moments, including hopeful Lauren excitedly shrieking, “I’m in Derek’s driveway!”
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Lauren connected with Derek online, and to her absolute delight, Derek turned out to be exactly who he said he was. The two even made things work for a while, getting engaged as they reported in a reunion episode. Sadly, their engagement didn’t last.
4 “Catfish: The Untold Stories: Part 9” – 7.8
In 2017, audiences were given a special called Catfish: The Untold Stories amid the sixth season of the series. The special is broken into parts, with each section presenting several stories of online deception. Three individuals tell their tales of woe in part 9.
The special features dramatizations of the events of each person, along with interviews in which they explain what happened in an online relationship. Fans might remember Taneal’s story of catfishing her own boyfriend after learning about his dating profile.
3 “Falesha & Jacqueline” – 7.9
In yet another episode that doesn’t involve a romance whatsoever, Catfish manages to tell one of its most disturbing tales. Hopeful Falesha is desperately seeking help from Nev and Max to locate the person behind a profile using the name ‘Jacqueline’ – a catfish who has been stealing her photos for years and spreading drama and vitriol on social media.
And in similarly unconventional fashion, finding the woman behind the profile is just about as easy as it’s ever been for Nev and Max. But the absolute most troubling part of the episode is the complete lack of regret the catfish shows, and her inability to understand why she has harmed Falesha for so long.
2 “Danny & Rosa” – 7.9
It’s unfortunately all too common that catfishes wind up appearing on the series more than once, but it’s not often that a catfish becomes the catfished. “Danny & Rosa” gives a first glimpse at a man named Jose, who here, is posing as a woman named Rosa on social media to connect with a man named Danny.
Jose returns to the series later, but in this episode, he undergoes a profoundly moving journey, opening up about his struggles with being bullied by the woman whose photos he used, and his ongoing personal struggles. In the end, Jose and Danny parted on good terms.
1 “Artis & Jess” – 8
Perhaps the most memorable Catfish episode ever may have never even been a real Catfish case at all. “Artis & Jess” finds a young man named Artis, ostensibly in a happy relationship, claiming to be in love with a model online named Jess. Of course, ‘Jess’ isn’t who she claims to be.
Instead, ‘Jess’ is a man named Justin, who says he’s working to expose cheaters online. The episode comes to a head in a confrontation. But as Artis and Justin would later claim in a behind-the-scenes Catfish fact, it may have all been a joke to try and fool MTV, in hopes of getting on television.
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About The Author
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Katerina is a List Writer here at Screen Rant with a background in literary criticism and creative writing. She has been in love with all things film and television since she saw her first movie in theatres at 2.5 years old (Muppet Treasure Island, in case you were wondering). She has a passion for character-driven stories with dynamic but flawed leads, and a special weakness for all things 1980s. If she’s not ranting about characters who deserved better or typing away at one of her many fan fiction epics, she’s probably asleep.
She’s been living in a galaxy far, far away since she was 11 years old, though she makes the occasional stop in Themyscira, Hawkins, and Westeros – and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
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