I recently came across a press release for a show that will be launching on TLC here in India. The show’s title is 90 Day Fiancé. After doing some investigation, I found that I somehow missed this show when in the States and that the first season has already been concluded. The basic concept of the show is like many other dating reality shows, following around couples as they get to know one another. The twist with this show, however, is that the fiancé’s are in the US on a K-1 visa and must marry their significant other within 90 days or be sent back to their home country. As I read this press release detailing the concept of the show I found myself getting increasingly disturbed at the actual theme of the show. I guess it struck a nerve a little too close to home…
Being in an intercultural relationship, I can say firsthand that everyone feels it that they must warn you or rather tell you that your significant other is only marrying you so that they can get a green card. UGH! I had so many people say this to me; even people who had never met my husband. If you don’t know him or his intentions do me a favor and stay quiet. Not only did this come from total strangers and co-workers, but it was also implied by family members and friends as well. Certainly it is something to be concerned about, especially given that Abhi and I got engaged and married quickly, especially in comparison to American standards, but it is disheartening to say the least when everyone just assumes they know the other party’s intentions and dismiss you as being overwhelmed by feelings to be able to realize the truth. Abhi had no need to marry me as quickly as we did and it certainly wasn’t for a green card. We both felt when it feels right it must be right so why wait.
Reading this press release, I was afraid that this type of show would only work to further encourage others to say this to those just entering into intercultural relationships and those coming to the States on a K-1 visa would face even more ridicule. I have no doubt that this show has spread light or informed individuals of such practices that may have been previously unaware. In fact, of this I am almost certain, given that the show’s season finale ranked #2 for all ad-supported cable in the 10pm time slot. Despite my apprehensions, I decided I needed to see for myself what this show was and how such relationships were being portrayed.
I’ve only been able to see one episode from the middle of the season, but let me tell you, it was not what I was expecting. It certainly has the typical dating reality themes and of course focuses on the countdown to when the fiancé would be forced to leave the country (this is something that I certainly would be glad to be rid of, but I guess is kind of the whole enticement of the show for the average viewer). What I watched hit even closer to home then I had expected. Families were suspicious, families missed ceremonies, cultural differences caused tensions, and communication had many barriers to overcome. In the first season, all fiancés were female and from foreign countries. But I found myself relating with both the potential grooms and the potential brides. Who knows, maybe this comes from Abhi and I’s time spent in both countries. I could totally relate to the groom’s desperation and attempts to make the brides more comfortable since they had no one here with them. Meanwhile, I wholeheartedly felt for the brides whose families couldn’t be there since my parents missed my own Indian wedding.
Needless to say, I kind of liked the show. While there is some focus on the 90 day time limit, the show really does go into some of the struggles and challenges that come with being in a relationship with someone from a different culture, especially if they are first generation and are in the States by themselves. I don’t think it really makes a difference what type of visa they are here on, there will always be challenges. Although, I’m sure having the 90-day window must add a whole other level of stress that I didn’t go through. But watching this show got me thinking, we have reality shows on all types of people from The Little Couple to Honey Boo Boo to the Real Housewives of (insert city here). Why is there no reality show that focuses on an intercultural couple? These couples face such challenges with visas, immigration, different cultures and customs, languages, food, religion, and trying to making sure they are able to spend time with both families. With the number of intercultural couples growing as the world becomes smaller with internet, isn’t this something that others can relate to?
Has anyone else seen this show yet? What were your thoughts on it? Were you able to relate? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts….