Why Catfish Matters

Season two of MTV docu-series Catfish: The TV Show debuted to 2.5 million viewers, and was the number one cable telecast of the day among viewers ages 12-34, a demo otherwise known as Millennials. The show is a hit, and signifies larger shifts in reality TV tastes and their entertainment desires. Here are some of the reasons that Catfish matters, and what it says about Millennial viewers.

 It puts the real back into reality.

It might seem ironic that realness is so big a part of a show about people who are on TV for telling lies, but one reason that Catfish matters is that it is telling the truth about real lives of real people. We talk a lot about authenticity and Millennials’ desire to know all the facts and be told the truth. Though reality TV has a genre name that implies it is all real all the time, Millennial viewers have gotten used to the fact that reality shows are staged, and that “unscripted” programs most likely have a staff of writers working behind the scenes. Catfish shows a shift in the genre, and a re-emphasis on the showcasing of real lives, real emotions, and real moments. If it ever came out that elements of Catfish were faked, there is a good chance that it would seriously damage or even end the show. Actual reality in this case is a vital part of what makes the show successful. Millennials want real, and Catfish serves it up in a way that few shows aimed at them in the past have done.

 It is anti-aspiration.

There are no makeovers here, and most likely not even a happy ending for the young people who participate. Watching Catfish is not about wanting what you see. When hosts Nev and Max pull up to the house of the catfish, they are usually visiting humble places, in small towns. The young people on the show are often unhappy with where they are and who…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I think when I'm a parent my top concern in raising a child will be, in general, just not screwing them up." –Female, 14, MA

It is becoming common practice for busy Millennials to skip breakfast, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like breakfast food. In fact, this generation is more likely than others to eat breakfast at times other than traditional morning hours, and 16% are pushing back their mealtime to use breakfast as an afternoon snack. Their adventurous food preferences are influencing the “premiumization” of breakfast items, but since we know that the majority of Millennials enjoy cooking, there is also opportunity in "speed-scratch" products for the 65% who prefer to make breakfast foods from scratch. (MediaPost)

In the past three years, Lego has seen its consumer base change from 90% boys to 40% girls, thanks in part to its Lego Friends collection of girl-targeted construction sets. Activity kits like Rainbow Loom and GoldieBlox, along with licensed Frozenmerchandise, have helped drive the surge in sales for girls toy divisions, whereas action figure movies have begun to cannibalize each other in the boys toy aisle. (Kidscreen)

In the Age of Not Believing, images online and in magazines are almost assumed to be manipulated, but one Millennial is speaking out in support of imperfection. The fashion blogger behind the site Do The Hot Pants posted a reveal of images before and after Photoshop, admitting that she posted edited images to her site that decreased the size of her stomach, legs, and smoothed her skin. While she lifted the veil on her use of Photoshop and is advocating for better body image perceptions, her transparency might make some even more skeptical of what they see on user-created blogs. (BuzzFeed)

The #IceBucketChallenge for ALS is still going strong with participation from celebrities continuing to snowball, but no one’s nomination has seen as much viral traction as Bill Gates’ video. The tech genius decided to step it up a notch with a specially designed ice bucket contraption, and his behind-the-scenes take has seen over 8 million views in the past four days. (YouTube)

The social media landscape has seen a number of standalone apps fail, often due to resistance from users to migrate themselves and all of their friends to another platform. Instead of creating another Snapchat look-a-like, new app Camoji is using iMessage to send GIF selfies. The short video selfies send and loop seamlessly within iMessage, elevating the selfie into animated expressions that can also be shared as a URL link to non-iPhone users. (Mashable)

Quote of the Day: "I haven’t had children yet because I have a lot to accomplish—academics, career goals, travel destinations—before I settle down and look to someone else's interests.” –Female, 25, PA

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