Maybe you heard about the show from friends or family, maybe you learned about it from watching YouTubers react to some of the most infamous couples to ever appear on the show, or maybe you saw all the articles and memes about Big Ed and his DIY hair care routine that involves mayonnaise. I myself only discovered it during the beginning of the pandemic because I was running out of new shows to watch. I was skeptical at first because I was never a big fan of reality tv but something about this show caught my attention. Maybe it’s because it was different from all the other dating shows that mostly consist of beautiful aspiring Instagram influencers claiming they’re ready to settle down by the age of 22 (Looking at you Bachelor and Love Island!). But here there’s a variety of relationships such as ones with big age gaps, clashes because of different religions, social class differences, and language barriers. Some couples can only communicate through a translator which ends up causing awkward and sometimes hilarious miscommunications. All these factors end up leading to drama and many couples question if 90 days is really enough time to decide if they’re compatible enough to get married. Love conquering all the hardships may have been the original premise of the show, but if you look at the pattern or memes and gossip about the show the entertainment factor isn’t really about the success stories, it’s about the train wrecks!
Colt and Larissa, Jorge and Anfisa. What do these two couples have in common? They’re all couples who had disastrous relationships on the show and whose drama is followed through multiple seasons and spin-offs. It’s a love story as old as time, the American guy is down on his luck in the romance department and decides to date online. He then finds a beautiful foreign girl, usually from an impoverished country and/or much younger than them that they fall head over heels in love with and starts promising them a better life and lots of luxuries. However, when the girl finally comes over on her K-1 and starts questioning why their life isn’t what they were promised, the men call them ungrateful and accuse them of using them for a green card. During their individual seasons, the women were often painted as the villain because of their want for a rich lifestyle and feuding with in-laws. And it was easy to see them that way with Larissa shouting “WHO IS AGAINST THE QUEEN WILL DIE!” at Colts family at a backyard BBQ and when Anfisa admitted to being interested in having Jorge financially supporting her. But the thing is they have always been upfront about what they wanted, and the men could have called it off. But instead, they played along to get what they wanted, a girl they considered to be out of their league. Colt was a nerdy guy who openly admits he has a thing for Brazilian women and has an oddly close relationship with his mother Debbie who was always picking fights with Larissa and other foreign women Colt dates. And Jorge claimed the reason he started dating foreign women was that American women were too “feminist” and foreign women had better family values.
Translation: these guys purposely pursued these women because of the stereotype that all foreigners want to come to America and live the good life. A theme that is prevalent on the show whether it’s family or friends accusing the foreigner of only being it for a green card, or even the American partner admitting in a confessional they’re scared the only reason their partner is with them is for citizenship. These storylines have brought up interesting discussions about these relationships with many people saying that Larissa and Anfisa aren’t necessarily villains but were upfront and honest about their intentions while Colt and Jorge were trying to manipulate them by saying they’re selfish and ungrateful for all that they’ve given them.
There are also many discussions criticizing most of the Americans on the show for assuming most foreigners want to live in America, dating a foreigner without trying to learn their language or respect their culture, and calling out the ones who don’t come off as genuine and are more in line with sex tourists. And all of these reasons right here are why it’s become such a hit. It has everything someone could ask for, love, drama, train wreck relationships, people you root for or against, and it also gives you insight into other people’s cultures and countries (especially if you watch the spin-off The Other Way, where the Americans move to the country their foreign spouse lives in). Isn’t that why we like reality TV? To forget about your own problems while watching other people’s drama? In the meantime, I look forward to this Sunday’s Tell All Special and I will certainly be writing an article about this season of 90-day fiance and my thoughts on all the couples.