Synopsis: Lauren met Derek on MySpace nearly 8 years ago! Since then she’s relied on him for everything – Derek’s funny and caring, and he even supported Lauren after she had a baby with a now former boyfriend. Lauren knows that Derek is the man of her dreams and she can’t wait to take the next step with him. The only problem is, they’ve never met in real life or even video chatted. Every time she’s tried to see Derek he’s always had an excuse. Lauren strongly believes that Derek could be her future husband and she feels that he can be a good father to her three-year-old son. But why has he avoided meeting her for so many years?
Episode 4 of Catfish sets a new bar, and keeps us guessing – is this a Catfish or the real deal? Are they going to experience a real happy ending?
Lauren is from Tyler, Texas. Derek is in Maryland. They have been having an online relationship for 8 years, virtually dating off and on all this time.
Since they first ‘met’ online on MySpace, she was 14, he was 16, Lauren says they have talked of everything and grown very close.
During one of their ‘online separations’, Lauren became pregnant and gave birth to her son, Mason. She says Derek has been very supportive of her and her son, saying he’d be ready for fatherhood to Mason. The guy is saying all the right things to her, so much so, that Lauren even left the man she was engaged to! Yes, she broke off a sure thing, to go back to Derek. Derek …the guy she’s never met or seen. Even when she was only a 5 hour drive away from his home in Maryland, he still found a way to convince her it was ‘not a good time’ to meet up.
“We have this history, and we already know what we want together,” she explains. With Derek even declaring himself ready to be a parent to her child, she adds, “I know what I want for myself, for my son, and I want that marriage with my best friend.”
Max says he’s wary of the fact that Derek claims to be prepared for fatherhood, but still can’t manage to video chat with Lauren, and Lauren agrees it’s all the more reason to finally figure this whole thing out. “I don’t want to go eight more years,” she says.
Back at their hotel, Nev and Max start their sleuthing on Derek. All his pictures seem legit. Even his friends on his personal page don’t raise any red flags. They all appear to be local people who went to high school with him. Nothing out of the ordinary. But the fact that Derek has done everything to avoid meeting Lauren or even on web cam, keeps nagging at Nev and Max. They notice one of Derek’s posts concerns his lack of money, yet he bought a birdbath for 39 dollars…but couldn’t buy a webcam.
Next they do a check on Derek’s phone number and it comes up to a different name. Could this be the answer? Further checks on the name brings up pictures and a webpage to an older male, a black male, a married male, with kid pictures. None of which match the profile of Derek. Could this explain his reticence to meet? Having a double life, a catfishing life?
Nev calls the phone number Lauren provided them, and a guy who says he is Derek answers. He admits to talking and chatting to Lauren all these years, but hems and haws about meeting…again. He’s nervous and worried. Derek finally agrees to meet all of them, that ‘it’s time’.
The boys meet with Lauren to tell them what they’ve come up with. They tell her of the other name and profile, show it to her, and she says that can not be ‘Derek’ because she’s heard his voice many times, the picture doesn’t match up to the voice. The phone number is the same one all these years. She has no idea who the other name is. (Later on Nev says sometimes the reverse phone checks do produce misinformation matches & they let it drop.)
Nev and Max tell Lauren that Derek is ready to meet her. She apologizes for getting emotional, giddy with excitement too. Nev mentions that now would be a good time for her to explain all this to her father. Her Dad and stepmom come in and sit down and Lauren lays out what really has been going on and why Nev and Max are there.
Dad asks the same questions we all have asked…why no visit, no web cam etc. How can she be sure he is who he claims to be. She keeps saying she loves him.
Her Dad chokes up and gets teary. He still worries about his little girl, it’s what Dad’s do.
He brings up the memory of her Mom, saying he married his best friend then. (Lauren’s mom had died when she was little). She says Derek is her best friend. They both can understand that feeling.
It’s decided a trip to meet Derek is in order now.
Lauren asks if her friend Ryan can join them, as he can watch Mason, to which Nev and Max agree and say yes.
On to Maryland the five of them go … Nev, Max, Lauren, Mason and Ryan.
The next day the boys and Lauren hit the interstate highway and drive to meet Derek.
After pulling over so Lauren can collect herself and her emotions, that this is real and happening, they pull into Derek’s driveway.
They walk up to the front door, she’s nervous and excited at the same time, and then rings the doorbell.
And, because she can’t bear to look & with her back to the door, the door opens. Out walks Derek. She turns around and they hug. He thanks Nev and Max for bringing her to him. She asks if he’s real, they chuckle and hug some more. Both relish in the fact they are finally touching each other.
The best part is Derek actually looks and sounds like a decent guy, good looking, personable. They look like a real couple.
No Catfish here! Nev is giddy happy.
They all go inside and out to the back deck to ‘talk’. Let’s find out why it’s taken 8 years to meet.
Derek confesses he was never ready to meet before, he was intimidated by his dream girl, he wanted to get through steps in his life to make sure the time was right. He had money problems before but he’s in the right place now. He got a new job, taking all the right steps to be ready for the day they would meet. He was scared that Mason would not like him, which would devastate him and could impede them all being together. Some lack of self-confidence also seems to have played into Derek’s fear of meeting. They grew so close all these years talking and chatting, he really has feelings of love for her, and worried that when she did meet him that she somehow wouldn’t like him. Worried that all the time they spent getting to know each other and have real feelings for each other could be wiped out when they finally met.
His fears ended up being unfounded and for naught. They couldn’t stop holding hands and being physically close. The initial awkwardness and shaking quickly passed. Derek asks Lauren if she’d like to go on a date, to which she gleefully said yes. Nev and Max drive away as they get to enjoy each other in person. Lauren even sends Nev a text, at 3 am, that she had a great time and had lots to tell them in the morning.
The next day Lauren giddily recaps the ‘first date’, how well it went, and that today she is going to have Mason and Derek meet.
In a park with a petting zoo, Mason is introduced to Derek, and from one-on-one shots of them feeding the goats, to all three walking hand in hand at the end of the day, it appears Derek was accepted by Mason.
On the 2 month follow up via Skype, Nev and Max are suprised to see all three pop up on the screen. Turns out Derek was visiting again, and that they’ve all visited about 3 times since last seen. Lauren is planning on spending the summer in Maryland and planning on moving there with Mason.
For the first time, we don’t have a Catfish…we have a real deal. This time there is a happy ending.
Here is a Bonus clip of Lauren & Derek’s first ‘date’ .
Catfish – The After Show
Nev and Max have their first After Show, where they will further discuss the episode and answer fan questions. There is a small studio audience, too.
After a quick rehash of how they were prepared for a Catfish but pleasantly surprised it ended with a happy ending, Lauren comes out to join them.
She answered an Instagram video question and also told how she was having a panic attack of sorts just before the door opened at Derek’s house. A few clips were shown also.
Derek comes out to join Lauren, and he is just as laid back and happy as he was on the broadcast.
They talk of how getting to know the other over 8 years has helped them build on a solid foundation, that they are taking things a step at a time, and will be engaged within the year.
I think this ‘After Show’ will be better suited for real Catfished people, on episodes that have the drama and heartbreak. This first After Show just seemed too much fluff and sweet.
Previous Catfish :
Episode 4 : Lauren & Derek sneak peek
Recap : Episode 3 : Ramon & Paola
Recap : Episode 2 : Anthony & Marq
Recap : Episode 1 : Cassie & Steve