Catfish has been a runaway success since its debut in 2010, but it’s also had its share of controversy. In June, MTV ran an internal investigation after a woman who had appeared on the show accused host Nev Schulman of sexual misconduct. Filming of season 7 was paused, but subsequently resumed after the claims were found to be “not credible.”
However, the negativity won’t affect the show – in fact, the “sadness” over many things going on in the world is part of the reason the show still works so well, Schulman told Us Weekly exclusively ahead of the mid-season premiere.
“I think there’s a real, emotional desert in this country – or in the world right now – amongst young people. There’s this sort of vastness in terms of people feeling very isolated and unsure about how to feel. There’s a lot of sadness and negativity sort of whirling around right now,” he shared. “The show sort of tackles those issues head on and says like, ‘Look, I know you’re going through this, you’re feeling these things. Let’s deal with them, let’s look at them, let’s unpack them, let’s try to understand them from either the hopeful side of things or the Catfish side of things. Let’s see you, let’s give you an opportunity to feel important and feel relevant and feel like you matter.’ I think people watch the show because it’s fun and obviously there’s some mystery and a little bit of adventure, but at the end it’s a show that encourages self-reflection and conversation, and I think those are things that everybody needs more in their lives. That’s sort of the undertone – we sneak that in without people really realizing!”
This season, Schulman’s cohost Max Joseph was unavailable for two episodes so viewers will see Schulman’s wife Laura Perlongo filling in – something that he couldn’t have enjoyed more.
“Watching her interact with people and the sort of way in which she thought and the questions that she asked and the opinions that she had and the perspectives she offered was eye-opening,” he revealed to Us. “I have a pretty good idea of what Max is thinking and we’re so in sync now that we tend to know where the other is going and to have someone new on, which we’ve done before, but obviously someone who I’m also so connected to, brought some seriously fresh energy to me and to the show. Not only did I learn something about my wife, but it definitely also enhanced my interest and abilities to keep it interesting and fresh.”
Catfish season 7 returns to MTV Wednesday, July 11, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Carly Sloane
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