Social media is the backbone of every episode of MTV’s Catfish; however, last night’s episode focused solely on Twitter. And what a tale it was.
The story starts out surprisingly: Hollywood actress and singer Tracie Thoms, star of Hollywood “blockbusters” such as Rent and Death Proof. She is asking for Nev and Max’s help in finding out the truth behind one of her loyal fans whom she met through Twitter. She explains that she had been talking to Sammie for about two years due to her constant support of Tracie and her new independent film, Raze. Tracie explains that her connection with Sammie was so strong and supportive that she was even thinking about hiring her for her promotion skills.
Unfortunately, Tracie doesn’t feel the same way anymore because she caught Sammie in a web of lies, Catfish style.
Tracie explains that Sammie had introduced her to her friend Reese, who was also a loyal fan. The two continued to support Tracie in her work and also got in contact with Tracie’s friend Lotti, who was working on producing her own film, Chastity Bites. As the two continued to support both Tracie and Lotti, Tracie noticed a tweet from Reese saying that she hopes to meet Tracie before it’s too late. When Tracie questioned her what she meant by this, she discovered that Reese had been diagnosed with cancer. Before she knew it, Tracie received a message from Sammie saying that Reese had just died. Expressing her condolences, Tracie thought it was weird when Sammie asked her how she was doing when it was Sammie’s friend, not her own, who just died. Things really started to go downhill from there as Tracie noticed that Reese had favorited her own tweet about her dying and an hour later, unfavorited it. This seemed to indicate that someone was using Reese’s account.
When Nev and Max head out to Los Angeles, they get the details that Tracie wasn’t able to express during their Skype chat. Tracie had received a message from Sammie one day asking if she had heard from Reese. When she didn’t respond, the next day Tracie got the direct message on Twitter saying that Reese had just died. Sammie even sent a video of the funeral while hiding from behind a car and cutting the video right as the casket was brought out.
As if this doesn’t sound suspicious enough, Sammie tweeted a picture of a funeral banner from the cars in the funeral procession, adding that today was the day for the funeral. At this point, Tracie knew that Sammie was lying to her and caught her in her lies by zooming in on the picture of the funeral banner and getting the information for where it was held. When she called the number she found, she was informed that no “Reese” had been buried there.
To further provoke Sammie, Tracie decides to ask her if she could receive an obituary in order to understand whom Reese was since she didn’t know her well. Sammie begins to see that her lies are unraveling in front of her and tells Tracie that she can’t get an obituary at the moment, but if she could have her address, she’d mail it to Tracie at a later date. Tracie insists that Sammie could just Twitpic the obituary to her — and never hears from Sammie again.
Before Nev and Max head out to investigate, Tracie mentions to them that Sammie had her own death scare earlier in the year. Tracie was contacted by a girl named Marissa letting her know that Sammie had collapsed. However, a few days later, Sammie wrote on Twitter that she was okay and had just passed out.
To gain proof of Sammie’s lies, Tracie tried to look up her previous conversations with her on Twitter, but as she pulled up the messages, the conversation — along with the tweets — were being deleted in front of Tracie’s eyes. She even tried looking up Reese’s account, but found out that it had been deleted. Tracie realizes how upset and angry Sammie is and asks Nev and Max for help getting her answers.
In California, Nev and Max head out to Catfish headquarters to start investigating. The first thing they do is look up Sammie’s number on Spokeo, as usual. They find it is registered to a Samantha Davis in Philly. This matches up to what Tracie has been told, so they look up this name on Facebook and find Sammie’s account. On her “About” page, they find out that she is also interested in women. Then they look up her Twitter account. Once they click on it, they’re surprised to be taken to a different Twitter account than the one Tracie had been using to communicate with her. The Twitter handle is “twisted_lizbian” and is basically a fan page for an actress on the Nickelodeon show Victorious named Liz Gillies.
As proof of how connected Twitter is in this episode, even though they blurred out all pictures and mentions of Liz’s last name, people began tweeting to her that she was on the show. This was a surprise to her since the episode hadn’t been aired on the west coast yet.
Next, Nev and Max decide to try looking at Sammie’s Pinterest account, find a picture of Marissa Von Bleicken from Season one of The Glee Project, and notice there’s a pattern to who Sammie is stalking: They are all females and involved in acting and singing. Since Marissa’s picture was previously on Reese’s account, too, the guys want answers and contact both Marissa and Liz. Nev only receives a message back from Marissa who is just as shocked to by what he has told her and asks Nev to call her. When he does, she agrees to meet up with them at Tracie’s friend Lotti’s office.
The next day at Lotti’s office, Marissa arrives with all a bunch of fan mail that she received from Sammie, including fan fiction and romantic poems. She explains that she never replied to any of it because of the nature, but feels like she should’ve done something. Lotti explains to Marissa that Sammie had misled her under an account that was once named “Marissa” and then changed to “Reese.” Marissa then tells them that the last time she talked to Sammie was a couple of months ago on the Liz Gillies fan page. Since this is a new page that Sammie appeared to be using, Lotti finds that she is still lurking under the new account name.
When the guys show Tracie all of the information they discovered, she is frightened by the intensity of the fan mail that Marissa received. She also checks to see if this new page Sammie is using is following her on Twitter and confirms that she is. Tracie decides that she wants to meet with Sammie and get some answers, so Nev messages Sammie and receives a response the next day. She expresses how nervous she is, but after Nev convinces her it would be the best thing to do, Sammie agrees to meet.
When they all initially meet up, it’s revealed that Sammie videotaped her own cousin’s funeral and sent the footage to Tracie as Reese’s funeral. She also tells Tracie that it was not her initial intent to kill off Reese, but she wanted it to end once she realized how deep their friendship was becoming. She expresses the high she receives from getting noticed by celebs and says she made another account to gain more access to celebrity interaction.
While I agree with Sammie that it’s amazing to get noticed by a celeb online — I freaked out when I got followed by members of my favorite band, Emblem3 — I don’t believe it’s okay to abuse that access. Sammie does express that she felt bad — but only after she got caught.
The day ends without much resolution, but the next day Nev receives a bunch of texts from Sammie asking them to come over because she had been thinking hard about what she’d done.
They sit down to talk and Sammie confesses that she made the “Reese” account to create a friend that could be a fan girl with her. She says she didn’t have many friends growing up that shared her interests and never had any brothers or sisters, so she felt like Tracie was the big sister she never had. Sammie adds that she could never go to her parents for any advice or help and struggled with self-esteem issues related to her sexuality. However, she made peace with being a lesbian after having her son and wasn’t afraid to express who she was. Sammie admits she became attached to the sympathy she was receiving from Tracie and didn’t want it to end.
After hearing her story and sincere apology, Tracie forgives Sammie and encourages her to stay true to herself because that is why celebrities noticed her in the first place.
When Nev and Max check in with Tracie and Sammie a month later, Tracie tells the guys that she hopes to see some of Sammie’s writing in the near future after encouraging her to tell her story. Sammie tells the guys about the dramedy piece she’s working on, and informs them that she is focused on more important things that social media and is no longer following Tracie or Lotti on Twitter.
What did you think of this episode? Did you feel sorry for Sammie when you heard her life story? Do you think it’s ever okay for someone to create fake social media profiles? If you were a celebrity, what would you have done if you were in Tracie’s situation? Would you have stayed in touch with Sammie even after everything she confessed to? Do you have a Twitter friendship with a celebrity? Are you suspicious of any of your own Twitter followers or other social media contacts? Let us know in the comments section below!
New episodes of Catfish premiere Wednesday nights at 10/9CT on MTV.