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Mark Archibald, Daily Sun columnist

I’ve always tried to be transparent with the readers sharing, a bit of myself in every column. In order to maintain a spirit of trust, I feel compelled to reveal an embarrassing fact. I started watching 90 Day Fiance on The Learning Channel.

I can imagine what you must be thinking, how can anyone watch this “reality show” which chronicles the trials and tribulations of those looking for love on foreign lands or dating sites. Couples must first be approved for a K-1 visa, then bring their betrothed to the United States and marry them within 90 days.

I view the show as a game of chance, with a voyeuristic twist. Is what we are seeing a true relationship, the beginning of a romantic connection, or are contestants motivated by the promise of a better life and citizenship provided by a green card?

In my defense, the girl I’m seeing wanted to find a television show we could watch together. This was the least objectionable of her suggestions. I avoided watching as long as I could, even after she tuned in. I told her that I was only watching in order to mock eccentrics who reacted strangely to predictable situations. 

I used to complain about the lack of learning on The Learning Channel. But somewhere along the way I too became invested in this weekly train wreck. It’s currently TLC’s highest rated show, and becomes appointment television on Sundays. To my surprise, it’s been on the air for seven seasons so far, with several spinoffs. Without fail, people continue to be surprised that finances, cultural differences, and unmet expectations stress relationships. 

God, I loathe myself. I blame the absence of live sporting events and a DVD player that picked the absolute worst time to go on the fritz. I sheepishly shared my secret with some. To my surprise a few have told me they also watch the show. 

We watch it for the contrived drama. However, I began to appreciate the show because it allows for escapism. Just letting go during this time, and enjoying what we can has immeasurable benefits. Sure, 90 Day Fiance is ripe for ridicule, but on a positive note, the thinly veiled tropes have already been converted into a drinking game. Those who imbibe have ample opportunity to enjoy the show on another level. 

On April 20, the francize launched yet another spinoff, “90 Days Fiance: Self Quarantined.” Nearly two million people tuned in live to watch these “stars” deal with life during the coronavirus lockdown. 

I wasn’t impressed. It turned out to be just a bunch of people who think they’re important complaining about everyday inconveniences. Beard length, and the hoarding of toilet paper were common themes. Some couples cooked together while others played games and scheduled time for romance to assuage the boredom. Getting out is important, but there doesn’t need to be a season two ratings spike of COVID-19. I encourage those who can to continue to shelter in place, allowing the true stars of this reality to provide care and save lives.

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