There are few things in life more satisfying than seeing people get exactly what they deserve. And I get to bear witness to this week after week, every Sunday on TLC. "90 Day Fiancé" is the ongoing story of five couples who cross international borders, having either met online or through chance meetings abroad. The show rotates focus from couple to couple over the course of a two-hour episode. For a channel that is ostensibly about learning (remember, TLC stands for The Learning Channel), they sure do jam their programming blocks full of things that are designed to make you lose brain cells. It is a rip-roaring good time and you should absolutely be watching.
The all-important MacGuffin of the show is the K-1 visa, which allows these foreign lovers to come over and live in the United States. Not a lot of importance is placed on the process of getting the visa, but having the visa arrive is treated like a huge stepping stone for each of the couples. There is a certain chaos in observing the couples' day-to-day lives, and it's voyeuristic in a lot of ways but what reality show isn't?
Each new segment of the show showcases a different aspect of how each couple is a disaster. This season, we have Jorge and Anfisa. Jorge pretended to be a millionaire in order to woo Anfisa away from her home country. She only likes him for the money he doesn't have. Luis and Molly are a mismatched couple whose very existence as a couple is tearing Molly's family apart. Nicole is trying to get Azan to move to the US with her, but he's not having it. Pedro and Chantel's families hate their guts and threaten constantly to tear them apart. And those are just the conflicts they open with! Wait until you get to the part where Chantel's mom thinks Pedro is trying to harvest their organs. This show is amazing because they've managed to find people who by all means do not have the communication skills to be in a relationship, but have the money or the sheer will to get someone to agree to it.
It's one of those "slow burn" watching experiences. There's not always something exciting going on, but there's so much tension just bubbling beneath the surface that even segments where they are doing nothing can feel fraught with melodrama. The question of the show is whether or not the couples will stay together and in most cases there should be no reason for them to stay together.
I love this show because it is trash television, but I also think that there is something to be appreciated about trash television. There doesn't always have to be value to media we absorb, sometimes it is nice to be able to sit back and just let waves of garbage wash over you. This show honestly deserves to be watched by more people because of just how much craziness they can shove into one two-hour time block. Long live the kings of frauding.