TLC's 90 'Day Fiancé' is a beautiful mess that you won't be able to look away from
TLC's 90 Day Fiancé is a beautiful mess that you want to look away from, but you can't...because Jay was caught having sex with another woman in barbershop's bathroom, and David spent close to R2 million on his Ukrainian girlfriend (who he has never met).
The chaotic reality show on TLC follows several newly engaged couples each season. The couples consist of one US citizen and a potential partner who lives abroad and has applied for a K-1 visa.
Also called the "fiance visa" the couples have 90 days to marry each other from the day their new love lands on American soil. If they don't get married within the time frame, their significant other has to leave America and reapply.
But here's the kicker, most of the couples have never met in person and sparked a relationship online through dating sites or social media - only communicating through video and chat, or through the dating service's messaging portal.
One of six spin-off's, 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days (season four), which follows couples that have met each other online but have not yet started the K-1 visa process, is currently showing on TLC (channel 135) on DStv. With episode 1 -3 streaming on DStv Catch-Up.
Every season we meet a new batch of disaster bound couples, who despite numerous red flags and caution from loved-ones, travel to a foreign country to pursue a romantic relationship with someone they met online.
I'll admit that some couples are genuine in their intention to form a lasting relationship with their "soulmate," while others so clearly have ulterior motives, be it a green card, or financial reasons. And of course, love is blind to their unsuspecting victim, sorry I mean, partner.
Some of the couples don't even speak the same language, and can't communicate without using a translation app. Not to mention the utterly ridiculous age gaps. Yet, season three's Mark and Nikki defied all odds and are still together despite their, wait for it... 39 year age gap.
We are privy to all aspects of the couples' lives from preparing to board the plane and their airport arrival to moving in together and planning their wedding. We also meet their family and friends and see how they overcome cultural and language barriers while discovering each other's deep, dark secrets...
And just as you manage to tear yourself away from the TV, someone reveals that they are "technically" still married to someone else. Or it turns out they have a couple of children they forgot to mention. And what would trash TV be without a hidden criminal past?
While some lies can still be kept secret to a certain degree, in the past, certain cast members have not been completely honest about their appearance and age, investing in ring-lights for video calls, using filters, and sending old photos to look younger or hide their appearance.
In season 4 of 90 Day Fiancé, Azan revealed that he was only 55% attracted to Nicole when she arrived in Morocco, saying that she wasn't healthy and encouraged to go to the gym.
Most recently in last week's episode of Before the 90 Days, Usman from Nigeria, who is 30 years old, admitted that he wasn't attracted to his 50-year-old girlfriend, Lisa, saying: "She is 70 percent good of what I expected." He added that 70 percent was "good enough" for him.
Popular cast members this season on 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, include "Big Ed," 54, who travels to the Philippines to propose to his 23-year-old online girlfriend Rose, who he met on Facebook. But Ed hasn't been completely honest to Rose about his height and told her that he is as tall as her - 1.6m, despite standing at 1.25.
Yolanda, 51, connected with her British boyfriend Williams, 41, through social media. The two have been "dating" for seven months and Yolanda believes that he is her soulmate. Despite never having video chatted with him before, as he claims his camera is always broken, Yolanda prepares to travel to London to meet her boyfriend face to face.
Perhaps the most bizarre relationship of all is between 60-year-old David and his Ukrainian girlfriend Lana, who is 27. The couple met on a Ukrainian dating website and have been together for seven years, although they have never met in person.
David has tried to meet Lana in person three different times, but each trip fell through, with Lana having a different excuse every time (she stood him up once, her brother died the second time, and she had a medical issue the third).
David has spent upwards of $100 000 (close to R2 million) on Lana, and he is heading back to Ukraine one last time.
Watch 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days season 4 Thursdays at 20:00 on TLC.