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When Catfish first came out in documentary form back in 2010, it was something of a pop culture phenomenon. When Catfish: The TV Show debuted on MTV a couple of years later, the concept lost a lot of its steam and legitimacy. But when the network debuts the upcoming spinoff Catfish: Internet Trolls, we might just have a phenomenon on our hands again.
The name kind of says it all, but for anyone who might be skeptical about what Catfish: Internet Trolls will be, let's dig in. Similar to the original goal of targeting and "unmasking" people lying about their identities online in the name of romance, Catfish: Internet Trolls will seek out some the most vile and virulent offenders of online message boards, forums and social media sites, with the intent of identifying them and bringing them to Internet justice. That should go as smoothly as a fridge falling down a spiral staircase when it debuts in September.
While Internet trolls aren't a new phenomenon or anything, the ante has been upped considerably over the years, with Twitter, Facebook and Reddit serving as the most widely used hubs where antagonistic users attack others through words and images, often hidden behind fake avatars and user names. And if Catfish aims to seriously attempt to bring these hate-spewing folks into the public eye, I cannot imagine it will be an easy task in any way.
For one, so many Internet trolls are just underage kids with little to do other than belittle the outside world, and I can't imagine that MTV or law-enforcing agencies would be down with Catfish bringing the Internet's vengeful ire down upon a pissy 14-year-old honor student whose parents run the local yacht club (or whatever). As well, even if the research is done so that they're only going after adults, that doesn't immediately make things sound easier to accomplish. Considering all the hubbub that went down over that dude that created the "Donald Trump DDT-ing CNN" video, does anyone really think that other trolls will just offer up their names without a fuss? I expect lawsuits.
MTV ordered up a few other series beyond Catfish: Internet Trolls, though it's sad that none of them are about crack documentary teams taking down the animated Trolls movie characters. One other new project is Undressed, a game show in which two contestants getting to know each other through questions, challenges, and the act of disrobing. And MTV vet Rob Dyrdek created the game show Win Big, in which contestants will compete against Dyrdek's "party people" for a chance to win lots of money. (Weird that he would be in another show with "Big" in the title, all things considered.)
While Catfish: Internet Trolls doesn't have a premiere date set just yet, MTV is looking to give it a September debut, just in time for fall TV and school sessions and football, all sections of life where trolls like to wreak havoc. In the meantime, head to our summer premiere schedule to see all the TV that's coming in the next few months.