while the show is set up to lead you to believe that the catfishee is the one who contacted Nev asking for help, in reality, usually the catfish is the one who contacts MTV, which is why the show has such a high hit rate for catfish being willing to meet up even when the stakes are high with true love, cross-country moves, money, and children on the line.
here are people who want to come clean. while some are there for revenge, or out of boredom, most of them have invested real feelings into the person they have been lying to and are hoping for a miracle: that they will tell the truth and be loved anyway.
the show is full of wishful thinking. people trusting other people with no proof that trust is deserved.
both parties genuinely believe so strongly in their connection. the catfishee is confident they are not being lied to and true love waits for them. the catfish is confident the catfishee will accept them as they are.
we watch as both find out new things about themselves: what they will and will not accept, unexpected pettiness or shallowness, the realization that they may soon be lonely again, wishful thinking unfulfilled.
while the show is based on lies, so much realness comes through. so many catfish say, other than the photos and name, everything else was real. and I believe that.