A Different Baiting, Hooking and Reeling Take on Catfishing


Five FCLC female students banded together to make their parodic version of MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show.” (Photo Courtesy of Dirty Tea Cup Productions via YouTube)


With the popularity of “Catfish: The TV Show” come people who pay tribute to it through the production of parodies. One parody in particular, titled “Catfish (@MTV Parody),” was created by Dirty Teacup Productions, which consists of five female Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students who also all happen to be roommates. Their channel name was inspired by a joke made regarding the amount of dirty coffee mugs lying around their apartment.

Director and screenwriter Alycia Shannon, FCLC ’14, recounts how she and one of her roommates, Quincey Kai, FCLC ’15, who is a film major and who also filmed and edited the video, were watching the show one day and thought it would be a fun idea to create a parody of it. Shannon ended up writing the entire script in one night and got the ball rolling on the video rather quickly.

MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show” is a documentary-style show that focuses on people who have created relationships with people that they got in contact with through websites ,such as Facebook, but have never actually met in person. Its main host, filmmaker Nev Schulman, got the idea for the show when he discovered that the 20-something woman with whom he’d been having an online relationship with was really just a catfish in 2010.

A “catfish” is a person who creates fake personal profiles on social media sites in order to pretend to be someone that he or she isn’t. This is made possible by using someone else’s pictures and fabricated information about things like where he or she lives, what he or she does for a living and so on. Ironically, this documentary is believed by some to have been a hoax. It was even slapped with a lawsuit back in December 2010 regarding its validity. Nonetheless, the film sparked an interest in the subject of catfishing.

“We decided to do ‘Catfish’ because we wanted to do a parody of something that hasn’t had too many parodies,” Shannon said, citing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” as an example of something that’s been overdone. Although they wanted to make a parody of a pop culture hit that would garner enough attention, they didn’t want their video to get brushed under the rug and lost among a sea of similar content, Shannon said. Thus, the students decided to pursue “Catfish,” which is popular in its own right due to its fresh and thought-provoking take on modern-day romances.

The writing portion of the parody came easily to Shannon. One aspect of the parody that makes it so enjoyable to watch is the way the characters from the actual show are portrayed. For example, the character of Nev, played by Alexia Buas, FCLC ’15, is introduced as an over-the-top and enthusiastic person. Shannon sheds light on what prompted her to do so. “I wrote a few of the characters with my roommates’ sense of humor in mind,” Shannon said. “The Nev character came out [the way it did] because my roommate Alexia is super outgoing and funny. I wrote it around her personality.” Moreover, the fact that Nev is so über positive and hopeful in reality made exaggerating it in the parody that much funnier. The other characters include Maxie, a feminine take on Max, Nev’s friend and cameraman, played by Kiersten Johnston, FCLC ’15 and Shi, played by Shi-Anne Shakes, FCLC ’15, who portrayed the person being catfished.

Although Shannon is majoring in psychology, the “Catfish” parody is an expression of one of her other interests. “I would like to do something with production. It would be awesome if I could produce a TV show,” Shannon said. Seeing as she is also minoring in visual arts, there’s a good chance that we’ll be seeing a lot of entertaining content from this talented group of students. “From now on, we’re going to be doing a few more parodies. But, we’re also going to be focusing on more original stuff,” Shannon said. If you liked what you saw with “Catfish (@MTV Parody),” stay tuned for other videos from Dirty Teacup Productions, including an upcoming original web series, which will focus on how social media encourages contemporary relationships.