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Source: TLC

'90 Day Fiancé' Isn't Scripted, but Producers Do Get a Say in How Scenes Are Shot

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90 Day Fiancé enticed fans with its raw portrayal of flawed relationships, capturing how two people hailing from vastly different cultural contexts fall in love. 

From Nicole Nafziger's overt insistence on PDA to Sojaboy's slapdash love songs, the TLC reality show featured a handful of fantastic scenes that were simply too good to be true. 

We set out to investigate: is 90 Day Fiancé scripted?

So, is '90 Day Fiancé' scripted?

The first show to shed light on the painstakingly complicated process of applying for a K-1 Visa, each season of 90 Day Fiancé chronicles a handful of couples' quests to start a new life together in the U.S. 

According to Screen Rant, the main stressors motivating participants are real. Filing lengthy forms, organizing a wedding ceremony in 90 days or less, and staying together for at least two years are the requirements every person wishing to relocate to the U.S. knows all too well. 

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Source: TLC

Nicole Nafziger

However, the participating couples have no say in how they will be portrayed on the show. In fact, their contract strictly outlines that they will have to accept the final edits, regardless of how unrealistic, distorted, or outlandish they might be.

This led to a few controversies in the past. Take Mark and Nikki Shoemaker, the Season 3 stars who decided to sue Discovery Entertainment (the company that owns TLC) and Sharp Entertainment (the production company) for creating an inaccurate representation of their relationship. 

As Screen Rant reveals, their case was thrown out without further consideration — as they made an appeal without having read the contract that grants producers the rights to manipulate the contents of the show in accord with their aims. 

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Source: TLC

Nikki and Mark Shoemaker

While most of the magic takes place in the editing room, the producers also play an active role in how the scenes are shot. There's no shortage of couples who shared intricate details about the creators' involvement. 

Mohamed Jbali (Season 2) took it to Facebook Live to admit that the court scene portraying his divorce from Danielle Mullins was shot at least twice, Radar Online notes. 

Meanwhile, Ashley Martson (Season 6) spoke out against the cast members criticizing the show for its dishonest portrayal, stating that they shouldn't pretend to be oblivious to how standard editing procedures work. 

Although the show isn't scripted — nobody has to memorize lines — cast members do have to accept the strict directions provided by the team. Some scenes wouldn't have taken place in real life, was it not for the producers. 

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Source: TLC

David Toborowsky and Annie Suwan

Take, for instance, the iconic scene in Season 5 that saw David Toborowsky's best friend-cum-financial sponsor, Chris Thieneman, ask David's newly found love, Annie Suwan, for a massage. 

According to Men's Health, the entire scene was arranged by the producers, who gave specific instructions detailing who should say what and when. 

"The producer asked him to say it & Chris had to say it more than once because it didn’t come off as natural. We were fed our lines while sitting at the table, which is why no one reacted. WE ALL KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT." Chris's wife, Nikki explained in a Facebook post referenced by Men's Health

Although 90 Day Fiancé captures real couples who met each other before production begins, the producers do tend to impose a few shortcuts to make certain scenes more interesting. 

90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined premiers on Monday, April 20 at 9 p.m. ET on TLC. 

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