Remember how uncomfortable ‘catfish’ phone calls used to be?

When it comes to cold-calling a potential Catfish, Max Joseph and Nev Schulman have got the routine down to a science: Dial, wait for an answer and mention the show’s name as soon as someone picks up. BOOM: an in is suddenly secured. But it wasn’t always so easy…

Tonight, in the thick of the show’s fourth season, Max and Nev opened the “Catfish” vault to air an episode that had been filmed during Season 1 but never previously made it to air, and within a few minutes, we were struck by a wave of nostalgia: The unshaven duo looked noticeably younger, the love hopeful in question, Stephanie, didn’t quite know what she was in for and, as the project’s concept was relatively new, the detectives hadn’t perfected the art of getting in touch with reticent Internet daters. In short, it felt like one big experiment, and as soon as the guys picked up the phone to give Stephanie’s crush David a call, the nerves appeared to set in.

In the clip above, which includes Nev’s first contact with David, the host is a little bit tense and seemingly unsure of what he hopes will come from the conversation. “Hey David, I’m a friend of Stephanie’s,” Nev says, which leads to a few concerned looks, the impetus of an ear-scratching tic and a generous supply of severe lip-biting. David seems receptive to Nev’s eventual request to meet with Stephanie, but soon after the conversation’s over, Nev receives a text from David saying he’d gotten cold feet and that the deal was off.

And so, Call #2…

“It’s early!” Nev nervously mouths as he reaches out to David for a second time. Then: more uncomfortable silences, an anxious ultimatum and a conclusion that “that wasn’t particularly reassuring.” No, “Catfish” calls are never a walk in the park, but these two have got us on a particularly powerful cringe-bender.

Did you notice any stark differences between tonight’s Season 1 “Catfish” episode and the Season 4 stories? Tell us what you thought of the episode, and be sure to tune in to an all-new story next Wednesday at 10e/7p!