90 Day Fiancé – The Sleeper Hit of 2020

Find out why 90 Day Fiancé is a show you won’t want to miss…

As I sit here on my commute contemplating the most impactful piece of pop culture of 2020 for me, I am struck by just how much I have consumed this year. There have been many, many bad things to come out of this pandemic, but being locked down for most of the start of the year allowed me to catch up on things that I might not ever have caught up on had I not been presented with more spare time than I have ever had in my adult life. I watched all of The Americans, for example, which I’ve been dying to watch for years but never felt like I had time to dedicate to it.

I thought I was going to write this article about Ted Lasso. It’s arguably the best TV show of 2020; I have no interest generally in football aside from once every 4 years when England lose spectacularly in the World Cup, but Ted Lasso is the funniest show to air this year, with a charming performance by Jason Sudeikis as an American hired to manage Richmond Football Club. I would encourage everyone to watch it.

Instead, I am going to write about Season 4 of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. It is the show that has probably had the most impact for me this year, and I still reference it regularly.

For the uninitiated, 90 Day Fiancé chronicles the lives of several couples who have brought their other halves to the United States on a K1 Visa, which stipulates that they have 90 days to get married or their partner must go back to their home country. Before the 90 Days is its sister show, where Americans go to their partner’s country before applying for the K1, to make sure that they are compatible with their partner. Drama ensues. And it is glorious.

Season 4 follows eight couples over 15 episodes, each at least 2 hours long, and culminates in two ‘tell all’ episodes where the entire cast get together to talk about their experiences on the show. Watching the show sometimes feels like more of a commitment than the couples are willing to make to each other.

I won’t go into much detail about what happens; instead I will cover the best moment from each couple, and hopefully you will find as much joy in the drama as I do. Spoilers (and many tears) ahead:

1. Ed and Rosemarie

You’ve probably seen Big Ed from all the memes earlier this year. Big Ed travelled to the Philippines to meet his girlfriend, Rose. He couldn’t seem to do anything right, first buying her toothpaste because he didn’t like the smell of her breath, and a razor to shave her legs because they were too hairy. There are so many good moments from this story, but this moment might be my favourite. Ed goes to stay with Rose’s family, where he finally understands how poor Rose and her family are. He does not fare well.

Big Ed Showers with Rose's Dad! | 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days

2. Avery and Ash

Avery looked to be the voice of reason out of all of these couples; she seemed to be able to communicate her problems effectively, even when dating coach Ash couldn’t. One of her concerns was that Ash’s entire client base was women, so she went to one of his seminars to see him in action.

Ash's Problematic Seminar | 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days

Avery has since come out as a massive MAGAhead which, in hindsight, makes perfect sense but came as a massive surprise after the show had finished airing.

3. Steph and Erica

The show’s first non-heteronormative relationship, Steph travelled to Australia to meet her online girlfriend Erica. They were completely different people, which put a massive strain on their relationship. Steph was very highly strung (I can relate) and jealous, where Erica was laidback and calm. Steph’s biggest issue was that Erica had a casual relationship with her best friend, and Erica could do nothing to put her mind at ease.

Stephanie Freaks Out When Erika Tells Her About Past Traumas | 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days

4. Yolanda and The Williams

Yolanda met her English boyfriend Williams on Instagram and it is clear to anyone who isn’t delusional that he is catfishing her. This is confirmed when she speaks to him on the phone. The British accent is the sexiest accent in the world!

Yolanda Calls Her British Boyfriend Williams | 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days

5. Lisa and Usman

The less said about these two the better, but we did get this classic Sojaboy song:

Sojaboy - i love you (Official video)

6. Geoffrey and Varya

When we first meet Geoffrey in America, he is speaking with his friends. It is clear that his friend, Mary, is very into him. Geoffrey then goes to meet his Russian girlfriend Varya in Russia for the first time. They have a few bumps, and just before he leaves he proposes to her, to which she tells him no. That’s the end of it. Or so we think:

7. Darcey and Tom

Darcey is a ‘fan favourite’ (absolute trainwreck) having appeared in two previous seasons. In Season 3 of Before the 90 Days, Darcey meets her English boyfriend Tom for the first time, in the hopes of getting engaged. In their first episode of this season, Tom and Darcey aren’t together and he is particularly brutal.

Tom and Darcey Are Done | 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days

8. David and Lana

Saving the best for last; David met his Ukrainian girlfriend Lana on a website where he had to pay to talk to her. After 13 episodes of being convinced that Lana wasn’t real, and was just somebody scamming him, David finally meets Lana for the first time. It’s a pay off better than Avengers Endgame…

Lana Is Real! | 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days


I understand why 90 Day Fiancé may not be everybody’s cup of tea. It’s clear that some of the things that happen have been encouraged by the producers of the show. To me, that is part of the fun of it. These people are often awful. But let me tell you, in those initial weeks of lockdown, it really was just what I needed.

A new series of OG 90 Day Fiancé has just started on TLC, and I am looking forward to every second of it.

While you’re here, please subscribe to Upside Down Shark on YouTubeApple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Ryan Upton
Ryan Upton

Reality TV is an underappreciated medium

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