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We've just discovered MTV's 'Catfish' is hiding a big, fat lie.

Attention Universe: I don’t mean to alarm you, but we have totally been lied to by the people we trusted most, Nev Schulman and Max Joseph.

Yes – YES – the duo behind MTV’s hit show Catfish have been quite loose with the truth for the last four years.

So, you know how the first half of every glorious episode is spent trying to figure out ~who~ the catfisher is with all the fancy ~image searches~ and ~number recognition~ stuff?

That is all a

BIG

FAT

LIE.

(…. kind of.)

Let me explain: When the producers cast the subjects for each show, they don’t normally receive applications from the catfish victims, but from the catfishers themselves.

True friendship. ????

A photo posted by Nev Schulman (@nevschulman) on

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“Are you keeping a secret from your Internet crush that you’re dying to confess?” reads the show’s casting application form, before asking questions like “Have you made any fake online profiles?”.

The series executive producer, Marshall Eisen, cleared the air a while back with Vulture about how the show is run and confirmed that what you see on TV is pretty far removed from reality.

“It’s often the catfish we hear from first because they’re looking to unburden themselves,” Eisen said. “It’s not always the case, but it probably happens more than people realise.”

Can you have a drink with a male friend when you are in a relationship? (Post continues after audio.)

Admittedly, it’s not hard to see why this is the preferred method of shooting episodes. Dealing with the perpetrator first provides a level of security that, once filming scenes with the catfishee, the episode won’t crumble because the catfisher has zero interest in being on a globally recognised TV show.

It also guarantees that Nev and Max’s stealth attempts at online stalking will be successful every time. I mean, nobody wants to watch an episode where the catfisher can’t be found so Nev just turns to the camera and gives a big old  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ before the credits roll.

I knew nobody could be THAT GOOD at Facebook stalking. (Image: Instagram/Nev Schulman)

That said, Eisen ensured the duo are mostly unaware of the catfisher's identity, and are forced by producers to crack the cases themselves. Given there hasn't been a single unsuccessful episode to date, though, one can presume the producers nudge the pair in the right direction.

“Our whole mantra for the guys is, ‘If you can’t figure it out, just go with it and see where it takes you'," he said. "Sometimes they get really flustered by what they see.”

Still, I can't help but feel a bit like Nikki after the final rose ceremony. Or like I've bitten into a cookie expecting choc chip, only to find it's bloomin' raisins.

If anyone needs me, I'll be under my doona.