“Villains” are a staple of reality television, not just of 90 Day Fiance.
Some are good people in real life but antagonists when drinking on camera, others are terrible full time.
Some viewers feel that these villains are ruining 90 Day Fiance, a franchise that is supposed to be about love without borders.
Others point out that the show as it stands wouldn’t exist without these bad apples.
What defines a reality TV villain?
From The Bachelor franchise to Real Housewives to 90 Day Fiance, it’s someone who stirs up trouble.
To production and networks, these people are ratings gold — which makes them more like heroes.
Their castmates may feel differently.
So, too, do viewers.
These controversial reality TV fixtures have to evoke strong feelings from viewers.
These larger-than-life personalities need to be over-the-top, but they can’t be universally hated.
In other words, these cast members have to court controversy, either intentionally or otherwise.
Their bad acts can only go so far, however. If they threaten to hurt the show’s bottom line, they’re no longer helpful.
When it comes to 90 Day Fiance villains, there are different kinds.
Infamously, the fandom has a deep-seated misogyny problem, worse even than its issues with racism and xenophobia.
The show is aware of this, and casting and editing clearly keep this in mind while framing the season’s storylines.
A vocal chunk of viewers will despise any woman who’s either too young, not young enough, too pretty, not pretty enough.
But it takes more than that to be a true villain on the franchise.
So while some fans want to pelt Emily Bieberly with eggs for, let me check my notes, “breastfeeding” and “not letting Kobe drive her car,” let’s look at some bigger fish.
Angela Deem has such an over-the-top personality that it’s at times easy to forget that she is a real person.
This chain-smoking, ill-behaved grandmother often seems to forget that other people have rights and feelings.
Her favorite victim seems to be her on-again, off-again husband, Michael Ilesanmi.
The way that Angela verbally insults, intimidates, and belittled Michael is not actually funny.
What viewers have witnessed time and time again is nothing short of verbal and emotional abuse.
Every time that they break up, many of us breathe a sigh of relief.
No one deserves that treatment.
Angela’s inability to treat people like human beings has not alienated all viewers, however.
There are people who see Angela as entertaining — or, worse, as inspirational.
Not all 90 Day Fiance villains scream, yell, or smoke indoors like it’s The Purge.
Bilal Hazziez is new to the franchise, having joined the Season 9 cast.
What he has been doing to Shaeeda Sween resembles the first act of a Lifetime movie.
Bilal has serious control issues.
He likes his house a certain way. Clearly, he wants his wife to be a certain way.
We all have quirks, but Bilal isn’t just a harmless neat freak.
Bilal has been lecturing Shaeeda since long before they began filming.
She had imagined that it might stop when she came to the US.
Sadly, she was mistaken.
Bilal seems fixated on winning every argument.
When asked to stop, he simply becomes defensive.
Bilal will play word games instead of consider how he is making his fiancee feel.
Speaking of Bilal and “games,” he has an odd definition of “pranks.”
At the beginning of the season, he picked up Shaeeda in a crappy work van.
He drove her from the airport to a dilapidated house — his childhood home.
Bilal grew up in poverty, and the house showed it.
There was a bicycle lock on the door to Shaeeda’s room. Pieces of the ceiling were peeling off.
He may have called it a “prank,” but this was a test — to set Shaeeda up to embarrass herself.
While we look forward to watching a very faithful horror movie adaptation of Bilal and Shaeeda, there are other baddies.
Big Ed Brown is without a doubt the most widely memed 90 Day Fiance star on the show.
Between his stature and his goofy antics, he presented himself as a reality TV version of Danny DeVito.
Unfortunately, Ed’s behavior better resembles DeVito’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia character, Frank Reynolds.
Simply put, Ed chases after women who are decades younger than he is.
Some are less than half his age. Most are younger than his daughter.
He seems to particularly enjoy pursuing low-income single moms.
90 Day Fiance is no stranger to age gaps, with some fan-favorite couples with decades between them.
The way that Ed has treated these women, however, is what makes him stand out.
Viewers watched with horror as Ed repeatedly negged and insulted Rosemarie Vega.
He insulted her body-hair, falsely accused her of poor dental hygiene, and interrogated her about her sexual history.
Ed also lied to Rose for months, stringing her along on false pretenses.
When Ed finally told Rosemarie the truth about his final lie, she dumped him.
He had the gall to act brokenhearted over a situation that he created.
Back at home, he moved on to a new single mom, Liz Woods, to whom he is currently engaged.
Ed was cruel to Liz, breaking up with her numerous times via text message only to win her back.
Viewers didn’t need to hear about Ed being accused of sexual assault to know that he’s a creep.
Ed’s own castmates have chewed him out, and rightly so. He’s gross.
Some 90 Day Fiance villains start off with the sympathies of viewers.
At the beginning of his season of Before The 90 Days, Mike Berk presented himself as a sweet, awkward guy.
He had a good job. He was a volunteer firefighter. At 34, he hadn’t had a relationship since he was 14.
Viewers were poised to see Ximena has a scheming user.
She didn’t make it difficult.
More than once, Ximena suggested that she was only after his money.
Ximena likely cheated on Mike. She certainly said very hurtful things to him.
But Mike’s response to all of this was what landed him squarely in the villains hall of fame.
Refusing to leave a woman’s house isn’t just a dick move — it’s scary.
Maybe fans are right. Maybe these villains are “ruining” the franchise.
But … do people really watch the show only to see love stories?
If you want that, watch Loren & Alexei and David & Annie on After The 90 Days.