Viewers were taken aback as they watched Julia Trubkina explode at Brandon’s friend Melanie.
Julia has her faults, but she’s a fan-favorite for a reason.
And after she was so conciliatory towards Brandon’s (awful) parents, it was a shock to see her be openly rude.
And viewers were also stunned by Brandon’s friend Melanie’s hostility. Was all of this "scripted" for TV?
The simplest answer is "no," but the real answer is more complicated than that.
90 Day Fiance is, simply put, not scripted, but that doesn’t mean that production cannot influence what happens.
We’ll get into that in detail after we go over exactly what went down in this bizarre scene.
Julia was already less than enthusiastic about meeting Brandon’s friend Melanie.
Some of it definitely seemed to be played up (especially to the confessional camera) with a wink and a nudge.
But some of Julia’s unfriendly vibe came from a place of genuine, irrational jealousy.
Julia wasn’t going to have fun regardless, but Brandon goofed up when he picked the venue.
They went somewhere that didn’t offer real drinks — just beer.
Julia wanted cocktails, correctly observing that beer is gross. So it was not a great start.
Julia shared her first impression of Melanie, who has been Brandon’s friend since high school.
To the cameras, Julia griped (in front of Brandon) that Melanie had styled herself to look extra pretty "for Brandon."
Obviously, this was silly for multiple reasons.
First, Melanie was appearing on TV in front of millions of viewers. Of course she styled her hair a little.
Second, literally she was there with her boyfriend of five years.
And not for nothing, but TJ is a total smokeshow. It’s hard to imagine Melanie pining for someone else.
As for their first impressions, Melanie assessed that Julia definitely looks like Brandon’s type.
Straight dark hair, pale complexion, slender build — apparently, Brandon’s girlfriends also tend to have "goth" looks.
That’s not how Julia styles herself, but we’ve always thought that she’d make a great vampire, so we can see that.
But when Brandon and Melanie began reminiscing about the past, Julia was unhappy.
Her insecurities are a real issue that she needs to work on — like, with therapy.
It’s not a cute personality quirk. That said …
… It is also generally considered rude to deliberately exclude one of the people involved from a conversation.
Sure, sometimes two people go off about a show that they’ve seen while someone else just scrolls through their phone.
But when that person is your wife? Try to make the conversation accessible to her.
Then, the conversation turned nasty, with Melanie awkwardly taking on the role of aggressor.
First, she asked if their relationship was moving to fast.
They married after two years. Meanwhile, Melanie and TJ have been together for five, and are still learning about each other.
Second, Melanie seemed to imply that Julia might be just using Brandon to come to the United States.
Julia had a great, obvious, answer for that — that if she were, it’s not like she’d admit it, so why ask?
But the question itself is rude and frankly xenophobic.
To Julia’s distress, Brandon didn’t exactly race to her rescue.
A simple "Our relationship is different than yours, and marriage is how we can be together" would have been enough.
But Brandon, for complicated reasons, wasn’t really prepared to go to bat for Julia.
Julia stormed off.
And whatever we may think of the conversation itself, that anger seemed very real.
You need to stand up for the people you love.
To his credit, Brandon chased after her.
Either for reasons of equipment or the content of their conversation, we didn’t hear much of what they actually said.
One reason that some of their talk may have been edited out was if they were acknowledging that the conversation was less than legit.
Obviously, Julia has off-the-wall bonkers ideas about gender and friendships.
These are toxic notions and something that she needs to unlearn.
Therapy could be a great way for her to overcome these flaws that are making life worse for her and the people she cares about.
It is linked to her jealousy issues, where even waitresses — who have to smile as part of their job — earn her ire.
She and Rebecca Parrott could compare notes on baseless insecurities (and we say that despite loving them both).
Julia even expressed the same gendered friendships horse manure at the Tell All.
But was this conversation real?
It was not scripted — 90 Day Fiance does not use scripts for regular filming.
But that doesn’t mean that production does not infamously nudge events to get the results that they want.
Years ago, David Toborowky’s friend, Chris Thieneman, had a horrible proposition for Annie.
In front of his own wife, Chris asked Annie to pay him back for his hospitality with a massage.
It was a creepy suggestion and, frankly, laced with racism — with obvious links to the sexualization and objectification of Asian women.
But Chris wasn’t paid for his role on the show — he did it as a favor to David.
He also never signed and NDA. Which meant that he and his wife could tell all, afterwards.
Chris and his wife confirmed that production had asked him to make the proposal to give David a dramatic scene — and it worked.
Much more common is the infamous (and xenophobic) "are they just after a green card?" question asked by guest stars.
Notably, several of Stephanie Davison’s friends who appeared on the show spoke about how production prompted them to ask this.
For hours, they described, production asked questions and got them to repeat themselves to get the exact footage that they needed.
Of course, this brings us back to Melanie, and the awkwardness to her questions that not even editing could make seem more natural.
She was, as countless fans have observed, clearly wavering before asking the questions.
It seems obvious that Melanie was asked, likely by production, to grill Julia, maybe even on these specific points.
Now, Melanie likely wasn’t under contract, so why did she ask these questions when prompted to?
Instead of rehashing The Milgram Experiment, she was probably reminded that she’s doing Brandon and Julia a favor.
After all, this is their reality career.
If they make a splash and have drama, they have better chances of returning for another season.
Production would have told them that.
It takes a really good friend of someone to play the "villain" on TV in front of millions, many of whom will take it at face value.
So yeah, that scene was almost certainly a little fake. Not scripted, but artificial nonetheless.
But just as Julia’s jealousy is real, her anger was, too.
Knowing that Melanie was only asking because the cameras were there would not have stopped Julia from getting angry. That’s fair.