It’s been a while since I wrote about 90 Day Fiancé, but then again it’s also been a while since I’ve actually watched an entire season from start to finish. It’s not that I haven’t watched almost every season that’s been produced, it’s just that so often times, I fall off the wagon at some point, be it my life being busy, or the episodes aren’t always available on Plex or the TLCgo app when I’m ready to watch, but I haven’t watched a season from start to finish in a while until now.
Including the uncomfortable and cringey Tell All episodes, to which I have decided to spent a little bit of time to write about season 8, because seeing as how I actually watched it all, might as well share some thoughts about yet another successful season of one of the true anchors of TLC.
I think one of the most miraculous things about season 8 is that all across the board, the show actually managed to make ALL of the Americans and their friends and family seem like the assholes among each couple, while the mail-order spouses all somehow seem like the people us viewers end up feeling sympathy for throughout the season.
Usually in seasons past, there’s always one or two mail-order spouses who are clearly in the game for a green card, and/or are insufferable demons who make viewers scream at their screens at why some pathetic American schlub is putting up with it, and that they need to flex their leverage at the fact that they control the citizenship routes. Like Mohamed or Anfisa, people who come from other countries who are miserable and easy to dislike.
But season 8 actually manages to execute, where all the Americans look like assholes or are the worse of each couple, and I’m left hoping that some of these people actually throw their hands up and go back to their home countries. I’ll try to break it down by each couple, and maybe power rank by trainwreck-ability or something.
Jovi & Yara – The funniest thing is that by the time the Tell All episodes ran, among all the couples, in spite of Jovi’s douchey alcoholism and his selfish family, the two of them were probably the most normal couple of the season. Babies have an amazing way of bringing couples back to earth, in spite of their chaotic lives before children, and by the time the Tell All came around, the two of them mostly sat back and watched the drama unfold all around them from the other couples.
Overall, their saga was pretty tame, in comparison to others. Jovi is a douche, Yara is high-maintenance. She disliked New Orleans, but Jovi drank too much, was selfish, valued his friends and family over his fiancé, but the whole pregnancy thing forced the both of them to grow up during their 90 days and beyond, and they came out of it seeming like the least train wreck of all of the couples.
Tarek & Hazel – Honestly, as the early episodes ran, these two seemed like the biggest layup couple of them all. Especially since they’re technically veterans of the show, having been on one of the spin-off shows previously, I think it was a before the 90 Days or something. Tarek is a giant Thai-aboo who somehow ends up with a fiancé from the Philippines, and Hazel is the token Filipina who just so happens to allegedly be bisexual, and is fixated on getting a girlfriend as soon as she gets to America.
Frankly, in spite of that juicy sub-plot, the couple is derailed hard by coronavirus, seeing as how trying to get into polygamy kind of helps to leave the house. But in spite of how much the show tries to make it dramatic, Hazel’s fixation of getting a girlfriend leads to a lot of their superficial conflicts, and they cruise on to the finish line without much complication. The funny thing to me is that all of Hazel’s beef with Tarek’s ongoing communications with their Thai ex-third, is basically her fault, but whatever, the show skirts around the whole Minty thing, all the way to the end.
Rebecca & Zied – long-time viewers of the show might have realized that the show really likes to dip into places like Tunisia abroad, and Georgia domestically, so it’s kind of great that this season actually features a couple of a Georgian woman with a dude from Tunisia.
She’s old and has visually lied her way into the heart of this oaf from Tunisia, brings him to Georgia, where she has jealousy issues because he’s over 20 years younger than she is, doesn’t seem to comprehend the importance of Ramadan to a Muslim man, and acts like a spoiled brat for much of the season for having to rush a wedding in order to beat the arrival of Ramadan and the increasing threat of coronavirus.
He’s no prize either, but you kind of feel for Zied, because everyone thinks he’s a green card seeker, he has to come to racist-ass Georgia and live in super red-state Canton, no matter how genuine he might be.
Either way, they make it to the finish without too much drama, and their participation in the Tell All is minimal because Zied barely speaks, and Rebecca’s only contribution is the fact that she’s had a bunch of work done in order to try and look younger.
Brandon & Julia – This is a couple that really caught fire for a few weeks in terms of being the most must-see couple for a few episodes, but I think coronavirus kind of derailed everything, because it forced them into a position where they had to rush a wedding in order to avoid the potential of it not being able to happen because of it. But prior to COVID, there was a lot of volatile drama between Brandon the mama’s boy being tugged between his hot Russian mail-order bride, and his overbearing parents.
Poor Julia seemed to have been duped hard, coming to America only to end up in Dinwiddie, Virginia, a drive-thru town between Richmond and the North Carolina state line, living on a farm, tending to animals, while her man-child of a fiancé Brandon couldn’t make any decisions without his parents, and meekly exists to do their beck and call, in spite of the fake game he used in order to win Julia over in the first place.
The conflicts between Julia and the parents were pretty must-see, but once coronavirus came into play during the season, everyone seemed to snap onto the same page in agreeing that they should get it done ASAP in order to not jeopardize the 90 days, and then the drama kind of ended.
But Julia really could’ve done so much better, that much is very obvious.
Mike & Natalie – veterans from a prior show, Mike and Natalie return for round 2, and I feel like the two of them might be playing a long game of becoming 90DF lifers, to come back in a future series, because they definitely had a strong season of being dramatic, having a compelling arc, but then ending out the season with nothing but questions and potential for more screen time.
But despite the fact that Natalie could be overbearing and intense, she actually showed a lot of personal growth throughout the season. Meanwhile, Mike was just some big lazy sloth throughout the entire season, constantly dodging Natalie’s desires to talk about their issues in Kyiv, and told the camera every single segment that “they have things to work on” but not actually working on them, but most definitely capitalizing on carrying Natalie to the bedroom multiple times.
The season did an excellent job of setting up a plot throughout the season, with Natalie tearfully talking about how she’s illegal in the country, and talking about a monster of a man, whom I initially thought was the baked potato, but it was revealed to be Mike, who cancelled the wedding at the 11th hour and 30th minute, only to strategically renege, and pull through, only for the two of them to be standoffish and lead to nothing but questions during the Tell Alls, and I think there’s probably some deliberate nature to it, in order to stay relevant and compelling for potential future use.
Stephanie & Ryan-then-Harris – Stephanie is batshit crazy. Has murals of her cats in her home, regularly consults a psychic, and drops tons of money on her leech of a fiancé, buying him watches, clothes and shoes.
And then when she’s in Belize, they fight, they break up, and she immediately gets together with Ryan’s cousin Harris, who’s more than happy to pick up the pieces and all the financial gain.
Stephanie was so batshit crazy, she knew the firing squad she would be up against if she went on the Tell All, so she didn’t participate, and instead apparently did her own virtual tell all, with her controlling the narratives.
Kind of respect the hustle, but she’s still fucking insane.
Andrew & Amira – Now if there was anyone who was the biggest asshole of the season, that title undoubtedly goes to Andrew. First displayed as a caring, compassionate guy who works daycare for a living, as the season progresses, and we are revealed to his plans to bring his fiancé to other countries to quarantine, before coming to America, on account of coronavirus, the asshole emerges throughout the season.
When Amira is detained in Mexico for unknown reasons, instead of doing anything to try and help, Andrew remains at the resort, capitalizing on all the fun activities and good food, even after Amira is deported back to France, and looking for some compassion and comfort.
And when Amira acquiesces to try again, but in Serbia, alone, more details come out, where Amira reveals all sorts of passive-aggressive and mean-spirited text messages and interactions between the two of them that shows that Andrew is manipulative, toxic and pretty much the biggest asshole of the season.
Amazingly, Amira does the most miraculous thing of the season, by actually dumping Andrew and not coming to America, but during the Tell All, Andrew played his one last leverage card, by storming off the set when producers told him he couldn’t be present when Amira was on screen; he keeps people guessing at what bullshit he was going to come back with, and keeps his ability to be needed in the future, somewhat alive, even if most viewers have already tabbed him as the biggest asshole of the season.
In conclusion, kudos to TLC for doing it once again. No matter how many spin-offs and seasons, this is a formula that can go on for 30 seasons, because there will always be pathetic people who only feel abroad is the only way to go for love, and if not just that, the financial gain for just participating on a cable television juggernaut.