With a multitude of questionable spinoffs under its belt, the 90 Day Fiance franchise is expanding.
90 Day: The Single Life Season 1 Episode 1 re-introduced us to many of the franchise's most popular stars as they come to terms with the single life after the breakdown of the relationships they were in when they first joined the show.
The result was a little bit more disappointing than I anticipated. On paper, this show sounds like something to break away from the formula of the franchise, but it actually seems like a watered-down take on the original concept.
Instead of dating abroad, the singles are dating within the U.S., which probably allows the show to remain in constant production.
Many of the other shows have been hindered by the pandemic, so this appears to be a way to keep production running smoothly.
With names like Brittany Banks, Big Ed Brown, savage Colt Johnson, Danielle Jbali, and Molly Hopkins in the premiere alone, there should have been much more drama than we got.
Maybe the 90-minute run-time is not the best for this show. Remember the good old days when you didn't have to devote a whole night to the franchise when the episodes were shorter?
Now that the series is gravitating towards streaming, there was no need to make this premiere so big and exclude the cast's biggest draw.
Fernanda Flores as a single woman and throwing a divorce party in the teaser at the end of the premiere was infinitely more interesting than what we got in this opening episode.
We'll start with Brittany, aka the person who trashed TLC and 90 Day Fiance producers on social media after 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way Season 2 wrapped.
Brittany and Yazan were not fated to be together, but what we got to see from their relationship hinted they were both to blame.
Brittany appears to be too much of a free spirit to settle down with anyone, so her return appears to be a way of the show capitalizing on having more controversial stars in recent memory back in the fold.
While it was hard to get invested in what she was saying about dating because she doesn't seem to have a connection with either of the men she spoke about, it was nice to see an unfiltered version of the character.
Moving from cable to streaming allows the cast to be less reserved and more open about the situation at hand without having to worry about it making the broadcast standards for airing.
Brittany seems happy about where she is in life, and she strikes me as one of the cast members that will still be single by the end of the season. She doesn't seem interested in putting herself back out there again.
One person who is interested, perhaps a little too much, is Big Ed Brown. He burst on to screens on Before the 90 Days, and now it seems like he's never going to leave.
The waitress and Ed had no chemistry, so it was surprising how much Ed seemed to want to date her. He's starting to rub his friends the wrong way by dating women almost 20 years his junior, but he doesn't care what the naysayers have to say.
Asking the woman to go on a date with him was probably one of the most awkward scenes in franchise history, largely because it seemed so set up.
It's hard to connect with these storylines when they probably need to be planned well in advance to adhere to COVID safety precautions.
I definitely believe the waitress had no clue what was going to be asked of her, but it seemed like Ed had been planning this for much longer than he let on to the viewers, putting a big hole in his story.
I didn't appreciate the cliffhanger. It felt needless because the woman he claimed to have the hots for looked like she wanted the ground to open and swallow her up.
Ed would be wise to go back to dating because this chick seems happy with keeping him as a friend and nothing more.
This being 90 Day Fiance, there probably will be some big twist dropped on us to reveal that they are, indeed, a thing.
Colt is one of the worst cast members. There's no getting away from that. It's nice that he's taking better care of himself, but how does he expect to date when he allows his mother to have such an influence on his life?
Vanessa and Colt's relationship started in lies, and Vanessa has witnessed the torment he put both Jess and Larissa through, so for her to even entertain the possibility of them being romantically linked feels a bit farfetched.
Then again, we know Colt and Vanessa are engaged, so Vanessa must start to see the value in Colt at some point.
The speed dating event was embarrassing, more than anything. I don't think I'm the only one who thinks this, but nothing Colt says feels genuine. Whether he's nervous in front of the cameras, I don't know, but I'd much prefer his relationship was saved for his savage Instagram page or something.
Danielle's return was actually handled well. Her life is completely different from how Hurricane Mohamed arrived, and she was in a much happier place at the top of the premiere.
It was a bit jarring to not see her children, given how involved they were during the earlier seasons of the series, but maybe they're tired of all the drama that comes from the reality TV cameras.
One thing I couldn't stop thinking about, however, is the way Danielle seemed almost excited while talking about Mohamed getting back in contact with her.
It takes two to tango, but they were downright horrible to each other when the relationship crumbled. It's hard to believe that they see any value in meeting up again.
Danielle clearly still has feelings for Mohamed, but the way he's spoken about her since the show leads me to believe he legitimately wants to be friends with her.
Perhaps he feels bad for the way their relationship imploded, or maybe he actually does need something from her. Danielle did say in a throwaway line that he has a meeting coming up.
I'm not even going to talk about Molly because, while I think she's a decent enough cast member, her storyline seemed all too similar to her one with Luis.
What does she really know about this Kelly dude? It's ripe for drama, but it's drama that could have been resolved more naturally had she just been straight-up and asked him everything during their initial conversations.
All things considered, this wasn't a terrible premiere, but it needs to up its game if Discovery+ wants people to sign up to watch it.
The coming episodes will be the true test on whether the refreshed format works.
What did you think of all the returnees?
Hit the comments below.
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.