So when is a man not a man?
When he's a catfish.
But catfish is now a verb, something that can be done to you. Stuck to you, more like. It happened to Meri Brown, the cat-riarch of TLC's bizarre polygamist saga Sister Wives. I didn't get to see any of the current episodes 'til last night, though it was already getting near the end of the season. Why? None of the episodes had recorded, that's why. And why is that? I don't know, but I think I deleted "series record" at the end of Season 5. Four neurotic wives, seventeen children and one asshole patriarch was just a little too much for me to stand.
And yet, and yet, here it is again, the Browns growing even more dysfunctional as they begin to have illicit-yet-platonic affairs with people who don't actually exist.
There had to be another way, you'd think, but no. So Meri had to get out of the way and divorce Kody. Kicked to the curb, and probably no longer receiving Kody's every-four-night's ministrations because she's now a "divorced woman" (which would, let's face it, be immoral), Meri got a little itchy, a little antsy, and somehow or other ended up on-line, late, late at night.
Catfishing is a blood sport that demands a victim, or, better yet, victims (spouses and girl/boy friends caught in the swirl of blood going down the drain). Some people put a lot of planning into these things, especially if they want to hook a big one like a high-profile reality star. It's the little things at first, the warmth with just a frisson of over-friendliness. Then, slowly, subtly, stepping up the flattery, allowing little hints of sexuality to peep through. Photos exchanged, compliments given, sighing, seething. And other things. This is a masturbatory activity if ever there was one, with orgasm guaranteed every time. For a middle-aged woman, for whom the whole thing can misfire all too easily, that's a pretty darn good deal.
Then. . . what do you think comes next? A sudden silence. Confusion. What happened? Where has he gone? Doesn't he love me any more? Jerk, jerk, goes the hook.
Frantic phone calls. Increasingly-desperate declarations of passionate love. Dismay, anger: don't you care about me any more? Don't you care about what we had?
It always ends with some sort of awful public announcement on the catfisher's blog, with all those pathetically desperate phone messages posted for all to hear (see below). Not only that, catfishers are cheered and praised by their legions of fans, who don't quite dare do this sort of sadistic stuff themselves but nevertheless highly approve of someone else doing it.
This is sad. Sad because Meri is infertile and could only produce one baby, with difficulty, in a family which is now looking forward to its EIGHTEENTH child. Sad because she was expendable enough to be expected to abdicate so the nubile new-ish wife could step up and take her place. This goes against every so-called law of polygamy, in which the first wife is always First, and the succeeding wives ever-more-subservient.
So it was catfish time, but the story is even more strange than that. The man who didn't exist, Sam something-or-other (doesn't matter), isn't even a man. Meri's throbbing new beau is a great tough butch of a woman named Jackie Overton, but she also poses as Sam's assistant Lindsay (still with me? I'm not.) The torture was stretched to the most excruciating level when Meri was led to believe she'd be going to Disneyland to FINALLY meet Sam, and instead met up with Lindsay/Jackie, who told her Sam "couldn't make it" (to say the least!) The YouTube video of Meri's voicemail messages (below) features photos of them having a squealing good time in the Happiest Place on Earth.
Insane, and it all melted down eventually, with charges that Robyn, the youngest-and-prettiest-and-most-fertile wife, knew all about the catfishing scam and said nothing, claiming it was all going to come out eventually, so why bother to stop it.
Can I click that setting again - you know, the one that says Cancel Series Record?
(Below is the Daily Mail account, in case my version of it is a hopeless garble. It's a warning of the cost of extreme loneliness and naivete, but it's also a story of exquisite cruelty and hook-jerking. And no one pays any sort of penalty for this sort of thing except the victim. Jackie Overton is now gloriously famous, the world's most powerful catfish lady. A bottom-feeder if ever I saw one.)
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Sister Wives star Meri Brown has confessed she was recently 'catfished' into a fake online relationship with a man who turned out to be a woman.
The first wife of polygamist Kody Brown said the relationship was purely emotional, and says she's sharing her story to prevent others from falling into the same trap.
'During an emotional and vulnerable time earlier this year, I began speaking with someone online who turned out to be not who they said they were,' Meri told People.com.
The 44-year-old told People that she never met her online 'boyfriend', and regrets the entire situation.
The term 'catfishing' refers to people who create fake online profiles in order to trick others into online relationships, and was popularized by MTV reality show Catfish.
However, reality star Meri said her family had been by her side through the messy online affair and shocking reveal.
'Throughout this ordeal, my family has supported and stood by me. I am grateful to them for their love and strength through this difficult time,' she told the magazine.
Meri, who is 46-year-old Kody's first, legal wife, agreed to divorce him this year so he could legally marry his fourth wife Robyn.
The polygamist patriarch says he and Meri remain 'spiritually' married. The change was thought to be so that Robyn's three children could get his health insurance and he could adopt them.
However, as a result of the shifting family dynamics, Meri has been under emotional strain.
The reality star was allegedly duped by a female catfisher, who posed online as a 42-year-old male CEO named 'Sam Cooper', according to reality blog AllAboutTheTea.
The TV gossip site claims they met in person after Meri traveled to Disneyland in Los Angeles to finally meet 'Sam' this year - but instead met up with the catfish woman, who was posing as his assistant ‘Lindsay’ and claimed Sam couldn’t make it.
They allegedly spent the day together without Meri realizing that 'Lindsay' was actually 'Jackie', who was posing as 'Sam' online.
The reality star appeared increasingly distant during the last season of the show as the divorce storyline played out.
(About the YouTube video. C'mon. Cut me some slack. I only posted a minute-and-a-half of what could have been a seven-minute recording. I needed to provide a sample for reference, though it disturbs me to think of that great fat bitch Jackie licking her feral lips over Meri's desperate pleas for Sam to pay attention to her. Can't pay attention when you don't exist!)
There had to be more. . .
These are just a few of the mildly-sexy photos Meri sent to her catfish lover Sam. I found another one with her shoving the banana into her mouth, presumably mimicking fellatio, though it would be hard to perform fellatio on a catfish you've never met (let alone a woman). The truly winsome ones are kept under internet lock and key and can't be saved, unfortunately. The thumbnails above are watermarked to keep us from blowing them up and selling them as masturbatory aids.
And then there's this. . .
This scum-of-the-earth Jackie character is gradually letting more and more artifacts leak out, prolonging the embarrassment. What jeebies me out about this is the constant reference to "love". How can you feel love for/feel loved by some anonymous dame in a basement, clacking away at 3:00 a.m. just to keep a reality star on the emotional hook? What exactly did she SAY to Meri to make her feel so "loved"? How can this happen with a person you've never met? Hasn't she ever heard of FICTION? Apparently not. I have heard of cases where women were duped out of a quarter of a million dollars by total heartless sociopathic fake-outs.
Let's see now. . . Meri Cooper Brown. . . M. C. B. . . Ms. Meri Brown-Cooper. . . oh, screw that, let's make it Mrs. Sam Cooper!
The Catfish Strikes Back!
Inevitably, new material is surfacing claiming that there really is a Sam Cooper, that he's a flesh-and-blood man instead of a catfish, and moreover, he and Meri have been getting it on hotly for some time now. It must be true, cuzz I've seen it on all sortsa show biz sites! Are you paying attention, Meri?:
"However, since her opening up, the person behind the catfishing, previously identified as Jackie Overton posing as Samuel Cooper, has taken to their personal blog to continue addressing the claims, and has even added new sections with voicemails left by Meri, and a password-protected section which allegedly proves sexual encounters with the reality star.
In a first post, the allegations that Meri was catfished is denied, and that there were physical meetings between them:
"I have 194 voicemails from Meri, that prove not only did we fall in love, were in love, but we were together. At Disneyland, twice, in Utah for a whole week, and all the number of times in and around Las Vegas. We talked every single day, for 6 months. It started March 1st of this year and we broke up August 23rd of this year...," the post reads. "I DID NOT CATFISH Meri...I am a guy and it's ridiculous I have to even say that Lol In my opinion, it's easier to go with the rumors that have been floating around for 2 months and go with the catfish story the internet trolls and SisterWives haters created in order to keep the media damage at a minimum. She does not want to admit to an affair, she does not want to admit that she fell in love with me and she does not want to admit we had sex, a lot.."
In the second post, the need to request a password to see proof that 'Sam' and Meri had sex is detailed as well:
"I added this page to prove without a doubt that I am all man Lol. And Meri and I had sex over 60 times. Nothing has been edited. Nothing. You can clearly see her, you can definitely tell its me. You can't deny we were happy, having fun, and in a consensual sexual relationship."
(Note that a lot of these posts have been taken down. Not sure why. These things normally don't turn legal, mainly because they're not illegal. It's OK to pretend to be somebody you're not, so long as money isn't involved. And in any case, a lawsuit would just make Meri look like the vacuous, love-starved diva she really is.)
(but wait, there's more. . . )
There's always More, and in this case, More-more. "Sam Cooper" keeps a blog called Not Batman Yet, and it's very interesting in that it drips with hints about his/her "relationship" with Meri Brown. Of course, Sam Cooper is really Jackie Overton, the sadistic bitch who very quickly hooked the head Sister Wife at a vulnerable time, when she had been more-or-less cut loose by the family. This strange blog has a curiously blank, devoid-of-personality quality to it, bloodless, and the "gallery" of photos consists of very cheesy generic Google images, as if playing with the reader to suspend his/her disbelief. One entry goes on for a few thousand words, but here's the gist of it:
"The path that I am on now is only towards you. I can’t wait for all of the things we have talked about. I’m excited to get to know everything about you and your life. It sounds challenging. It sounds that you have been doing it alone for so long already, that sharing yourself with me might be an adjustment at first. But you say you want to. I can’t wait to show you my life and everything about me. I am so excited that I found love again! It’s exactly what I need. And I will take care of you. I want to. I live for that. You are my every desire. Making sure you stay happy will be my top priority. Your wants and need are as important as my own. And I know you will definitely take care of me. You are so loving. So kind. I’m in awe of that. It really is like a dream to me that you exist in my world. And I love you very much."
"I needed to be rescued from myself. Honestly, my love, I was drowning. My life had become mundane and plain. Go to work, come home. Repeat. I want to explore. I want to travel. I want to see your eyes light up when I surprise you with anything. I want to feel you when we hug. I know that building on the love we have already created will be such a great feeling. My heart already starts beating faster anytime I am talking to you. I think I had to grieve and really take my own time with it. Time heals all? I guess it does. But you have to want it and that’s the change in me.
I realized something the other night after we got off of the phone. You are happy too. I think maybe you were in a little bit of a bad place too before we found each other. Am I making you feel this way? I hope so. Doesn’t it feel great! I wish everyone could feel this good. There is so much more I want to say to you. So many more stories about my life I want to share. I could talk to you all day and night."
He also mentions reading the book of Mormon and scouting out property in Utah to build a casino, where gambling is illegal. Really, isn't that why the Browns moved to Nevada? Their whole family system seems pretty dicey to me.