In short, the show is about American citizens with foreign fiancés, the latter who have applied for and received their K-1 visas, which gives them 90 days to get married.
One really can’t mention this reality series without mentioning Big Ed. Big Ed, aside from his utter disrespect for young women like Rose and Liz, became quite a meme after he demonstrated his hair care routine. It consisted of spreading mayonnaise into his hair because he insists it actually improves his hair. This is only the beginning of his madness.
This is one such mayo meme.
Perhaps the most well-known woman he paired up with was Rose, a Pilipino girl some 35 years his minor. His visit to her country to see her family was probably the most cringe-worthy episode I have ever watched. He asked her to take an STD test the moment he gets there. She is naturally insulted, and he is soon crawling back to apologize. She takes him home where he witnesses abject poverty, and he actually takes a bath with her father after he asks Ed to do so. I have no idea why. A huge rat scurries along a wall and frightens Ed, while Rose and her family seem surprised he is affected.
After talking her father into letting Rose stay with him in a hotel, they prepare for a romantic night. However, before getting intimate, Big Ed hands Rose some gifts he bought her, namely a toothbrush and toothpaste because her breath is “not pretty.” He also insists she shave her legs, and she insists he shave his beard stubble in exchange. Rose, as you can see in the scene, seems particularly annoyed that he would talk about her breath and shaving her legs on camera. But that’s Big Ed for you.
Imagine anything you can possibly do wrong on a date, and Ed does it. It is a guilty pleasure watching this, surely that’s the charm of the show, but you can’t watch Big Ed for more than a half hour before your neck starts to hurt from shaking your head so much.
Here’s an introductory video of Big Ed and Rose, courtesy of PewdiePie:
Haven’t had enough cringe? How about Big Ed dancing, courtesy Big Ed’s YouTube channel:
Don’t forget to read the comments in the video.
Change.org is so disgusted with Big Ed’s treatment of women that they created a petition to kick him off the show, but TLC will have none of that. He’s their cash cow, and he will be back next season with another girl.
Colt is a 35 year old unemployed man who lives with his mother Debbie. Here he is with a Brazilian bride, Larissa:
And here’s a photo of Larissa after she got arrested for beating the shit out of Colt.
Larissa arrives in Las Vegas only to find she has been hoodwinked. Colt is not a millionaire, as he implied, nor can he give her anything she wants. He can’t even give her a car with air conditioning in a hot desert city like Las Vegas, for goodness sake.
Instead, she finds a man who, again, lives with his mother whom she really doesn’t like. They live in a house with no sofa or furniture in the living room. Colt, of course, finds an infuriating gold digger who beats him, fat shames him and fat shames one of his cats. In one memorable scene she tells producers that Colt “needs a tummy tuck” and that they should fly to Brazil to get it done.
Perhaps her most famous line comes when Colt’s friend John accuses her of being a gold digger. She swears he will never attend their wedding and storms up the stairs, shrieking in a heavy Brazilian accent “Who is against the Queen will die!”
That would make a great t-shirt, don’t you think?
Here’s Colt speed dating and having some trouble as he explains he’s 35, unemployed, has six cats, and lives with his mother. Naturally, he has no luck finding a date, so TLC producers set him up with a porn star. Seriously.
I can’t speak for others, but there is something cathartic about watching people with love lives more pathetic than mine, and that’s a tall order. You get this feeling that you’re not alone, perhaps see in them hapless fellow travelers, and you find yourself saying “I’m glad I’m not that poor bastard” to the inflatable doll sitting next to you. (At least I do, and sometimes she nods in agreement.)
It’s pure schadenfreude, the enjoyment from watching the misfortunes and humiliation of others, and TLC has made an entire show based on exploiting that complex emotion. Do I fault them for that? Nah. Nobody forced these guys to go on that show.
Besides, even the show’s biggest losers get so much publicity they bank on it. Big Ed has more than 44,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and he sells plenty of merchandise.
Larissa has an OnlyFans account where she makes $5,000 to $30,000 a month now thanks to her fame and new body (the boyfriend she got after Colt bought her $72,000 worth of plastic surgery). She is worth about $150,000 right now. Like Larissa, Colt has made a sexy OnlyFans page with the help of his mother. In one photo his mother takes of him, he makes two mounds of whipped cream on his chest and tops them off with cherries to simulate breasts. In another, he is in red silk pajamas on all fours, panther style. Unfortunately they highlight, rather than conceal, his considerable flab.
The result of Colt’s OnlyFans account?
None of the show’s participants that I know of has voiced any regret for appearing on the show, though one might think they should.
To be fair, people like Big Ed and Colt are not the usual fare on 90 Day Fiancé, and the other couples, troubled as they may be, seem boring in comparison. Except for one, which wasn’t covered here. She is a 45 year old woman who marries a young Tunisian man who refuses to have sex with her, so she threatens to deport him. When asked later why he refused, he initially balked and kept silent, but finally said that she “smelled down there” and that she peed on him.
When starting this review, I was going to try to detail the intricate psychology of this phenomenon, but really, none of that is required. It’s pure schadenfreude, and what that says about us is that we’re human and flawed. Watching the show there are times when you see the stars act cruelly towards one another, and many times when you find yourself sympathizing with one person or another, especially with Colt, Liz, and Rose. With Colt, such a moment is the look in his eyes when he describes Larissa flushing her wedding ring down the toilet. He’s a poor man, and you know it was a sacrifice to buy it.
What I can say is that there is plenty of interesting psychology going on with the participants, and often you get to see the varying extremes of narcissism (Big Ed and Larissa) that you’d find in people who have spent their lives as attention seekers. You see extremes of poor self-esteem (Liz)…
Oh, who am I kidding? Why lie? I like the show because it’s a ghastly train wreck. You get to see people way more fucked up than you are embarrass themselves on national television, with the comfort of knowing that no animals were killed in the production of the show. That said, I highly recommend this very guilty pleasure if you’d like to burn some time and brain cells.