90 Day Fiancé is totally trashy. It is also utterly fascinating.
90 Day Fiancé is a "documentary" series on TLC, following couples — one person is an American, the other is from a foreign country — who want to get married, and under the K-1 visa, have just 90 days to wed before the visa expires and the non-American must return home. The show premiered in 2014, and there are now two spin-offs, 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? and 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. Yes, we can now follow along at literally every step of the journey. Coming in 2019, we can surely expect 90 Day Fiancé: Maybe I'll Meet Someone Eventually.
But I joke because I love. And really, I love 90 Day Fiancé.
Why am I so entertained by this show? Let's start with Anfisa, who moved to California from Russia to be with Jorge, who lied and said he is rich and successful. Anfisa is an honest gold digger, and told him she's upset that he doesn't have money, and he wouldn't be with her if she wasn't pretty. Jorge proceeds to lie about seeing a divorce attorney and lies about lying about that, but this shouldn't come as a surprise because he even lies about how to pronounce his name (he calls himself George). He may or may not have a secret daughter, Anfisa may or may not have been a cam girl, and I just want to know why they don't have their own show.
Don't even get me started on Pedro and Chantel, whose families hate each other. Chantel is from Atlanta and Pedro is from the Dominican Republic, and Chantel's mother Karen — who at one point proclaimed that "things are about to get a little bit more stupider" — enjoys poking at Pedro with her bad Spanish (she loves to say things are "muy loca"). They ended up having an epic brawl that involved a weave snatching, Chantel's brother accidentally punching his mom in the head, Pedro karate kicking a bunch of plates, and Karen saying she was going to get Pedro and his sister Nicole, who was just there visiting, deported.
That is only scratching the surface of the shenanigans that happened over the course of the most recent season. The casting director for 90 Day Fiancé and its many iterations deserves all the awards. They have put together an ensemble that even the most creative person on peyote couldn't dream up.
Look, this isn't important or illustrative of anything particularly beautiful or true about who we are and the way we live now. It's just the palate cleanser we all need. This show is so outrageous, you honestly forget about all the drama in the world because you're so focused on the drama unfolding in front of you.
Now that 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? is over, it's time for 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. These people make Chantel and Pedro seem stable — Rachel, for example, is in love with Jon, an Englishman she met on a karaoke app. She found out she was pregnant by some man she briefly went out with, but Jon doesn't care, and she shipped him a piece of her daughter's umbilical cord. From thousands of miles away. In a package. SHE SENT HIM A PIECE OF UMBILICAL CORD IN THE MAIL. That thing has traveled farther than I have, but not as far as Angela, who went to Nigeria to meet Michael. Michael has a shrine to President Trump because he also wants to be a businessman, and she brought him a bunch of MAGA merchandise when she finally made it over there. Michael originally said he was actually older than he is (30) and Angela said she was younger than she really is (52), so their relationship has a totally solid foundation.
I suppose it's good that these people are learning about other cultures and getting to experience international travel. Then again, several of these people suffer from low self-esteem or are super shallow and only care about having a younger, more attractive partner. Either way, I can't look away.
If 90 Day Fiancé sounds like it's too much, it is, and that's good — the last thing you want to be able to do is watch this show and say, "I can really relate to this person." You do learn a bit every week, like how to spot a catfishing in progress and the best filter to use so your photos look nothing like the person who shows up at the airport.
I think I could write a dissertation about this show, if only I wanted to get my Ph.D. in Useless Studies.