- 90 Day Fiancé -‘90 Day’ Fans On What It’s Like To Be Featured On ‘Strikes Back’
As much as 90 Day Fiancé is ultimately a show about lovers (however romantic or rather transactional their relationships may be), the fandom is full of haters. Not people who hate the show, per se, but people who watch the show because of the crazy stars they love to hate. Part of the experience of joining the 90 Day Fiancé fandom is snarking on the show, something TLC itself chose to enthusiastically embrace when they announced their new Strikes Back spin-off series.
So far, the network has launched both 90 Day Fiancé: B90 Strikes Back! and HEA Strikes Back. The two shows offer the casts of Before the 90 Days and Happily Ever After the chance to rebut the claims and criticisms made not only by viewers but also by their fellow stars on Pillow Talk. They have the opportunity to join in on the joke — or to defend their good(ish) names and explain what fans might not have seen on screen. But while the stars may have gotten a heads-up about the program, the series caught fans unaware, so we decided to reach out to some of those vocal show watchers who’ve been featured and see what they had to say.
For the most part, reddit users and Twitter users never expected that they would become part of the fun. While they love to rag on the reality personalities with their friends, they had no intention catching the cast’s attention — and some 90 Day fan accounts even have rules about not tagging the accounts of the celebrities at whose expense they’re having fun. After all, for the most part, any actual snarking is meant to be light-hearted, not hurtful. But now that they’re in conversation with the cast, they’re enjoying the ride.
Turning a Franchise Into a Fan-chise
Reddit user /u/devil-doll first heard about B90 Strikes Back when someone from Sharp Entertainment, the production house behind the 90 Day Fiancé, reached out for permission to feature their post. “I was skeptical,” they told The Dipp. Not sure if it was a legitimate offer, they ignored the message — but when they got another one, this time including an email address that appeared to belong to the company, they were ready to get on board. “I've been watching all the 90 Day franchises since the beginning, so it was really cool to be a small part of it,” they said.
They first saw their post — a screenshot of Yolanda’s text conversations with her catfish boyfriend Williams accompanied by a question about just what these two actually talk about — on TV in a trailer that featured the star herself and her daughter responding. Other reddit users also noticed that one of their own had made the cut, and everyone was eager to see what the 90 Day cast had to say.
Though there’s talk of the stars lurking in fandom spaces online, including both reddit and Twitter, the subreddit rules discourage actual cast interaction, so this was something new. Thankfully, it seemed to go off without a hitch. “I LOVED [Yolanda and her daughter’s] reaction to my post,” /u/devil-doll said. “They both basically agreed with me, so that was satisfying.”
It also helps that none of the stars seem to take the criticisms too seriously. Twitter user @splashthatcat has had two tweets make it onto the show, including one about how Kalani Faagata’s dad is downright terrifying. They were glad to see that Low Faagata’s daughter and son-in-law knew everything was in good fun, and the post even got a laugh out of Kalani. “What I said was meant as commentary, not cruelty,” they explained. “I’m glad that she saw the humor.”
They were also glad to see that their other post — one about how Rose Marie Vega had “been through enough” without having to admit to having sex with Ed “Big Ed” Brown before an audience of millions — got a kick out of one of the stars. “I like how I made Rose laugh,” they said. “She went through a rough time on the show.”
All in Good Fun
Angela Deem is one of the more temperamental stars on the show, cracking jokes at her own expense on moment and taking offense at someone else’s awkwardly-phrased comments another, but even she’s been enjoying the ride. She’s cackled at TikToks about her pole dancing lesson and enjoyed tweets about her flagging fertility. “Angela feeling around to make sure her one good egg is still in place,” Twitter user @ValdostaMiss jokingly captioned a photo of a screenshot from the show, and they were glad the star had an equally good time reading it out on the show. “I think Angela is hysterical, so everything she does makes me laugh,” they said.
Elizabeth “Libby” Potthast and Andrei Castravet have also been happy to engage with tweets making jokes at their expense without taking them to heart. When Twitter user @NoMoJoJoNoMo joked that the Moldovan man should’ve just married his father-in-law’s wallet instead of his wife, they were excited to see how the post was received. “I did always wonder how Andrei would react to one of my tweets,” they told The Dipp. “Libby and Andrei’s reaction was spot on.”
Twitter user @luvshaters joked that Chuck Potthast, Libby’s dad, should go ahead and “dress up like an ATM” in Andrei’s presence, and they also appreciated seeing the stars’ sense of humor. “It really seems that they take all the tweets (negative and positive) in stride,” they agreed. They also gave some credit to the Sharp Entertainment producers, who pick and choose which posts to feature.
“I believe [mine] was one of maybe 20 tweets that night about Andrei expecting Chuck to pay for everything [at his and Libby’s wedding]. Some were funny. Some were not so funny. I’m just glad they chose a funny one.” They explained, “I like to make people laugh in my everyday life. … I’m happy in some very small way I could do that for Andrei and Libby as well as anyone else who got a kick out of it.”
But not all stars get the gag. When Colt and Debbie Johnson saw Twitter user @IWedFred’s post about how it’s “nice” to see that the “happy couple” is “still together and going strong,” they didn’t seem to realize the joke was on them.
@IWedFred meant the tweet to be funny, not mean — they don’t want any of their posts to be hurtful to the celebrities they’re about — but even they got an extra giggle out of the experience. “[Colt] and Debbie just went on about how they’ve never lived apart and seemed oblivious to the undertone of the tweet, which made it even funnier to me,” they shared.
Stepping Into the Spotlight
While some revel in the opportunity to talk to the cast — the Escape to Reality podcast hosts joked that they “talk about these people 24/7” and “it was a thrill” for the stars to finally “respond to [them] directly” — for many fans, the most exciting part is just seeing themselves and their friends’ posts get some love on the show. “On Twitter, many of the 90 Day fans all follow each other, so we’ve been cheering for each other every time we see one from our little circle make it on TV,” @IWedFred said.
After @ValdostaMiss’s tweet made the cut, they woke up the next day “to a dozen Twitter notifications,” and they couldn’t wait to check out a replay and take a photo of the television. Reddit user /u/misspeejay also needed a second look when they saw their own username on screen during a preview. “I literally paused and watched it a few times,” they shared. “It definitely was a bit shocking and cool to see it on TV.”
That’s a common experience. @luvshaters wasn’t shocked to find themselves in conversation with the stars — they’d already been retweeted several times by the 90 Day Fiancé official show account, leading to interactions with personalities like Libby and Kenneth “Kenny” Niedermeier — but they never expected to become part of the franchise in their own way. When they first saw their post on screen, they freaked out.
“I believe I said out loud, ‘Holy s***!!!’ My wife screamed, ‘Babe, your tweet made it on the show!’” Soon enough, their phone and Facebook messages were “blowing up” from other friends who had tuned in. “Seeing my tweet being read on TV by some of the stars of the show was pretty dope,” they gushed. “I’m part of the show’s history now, and that’s pretty cool.”
Twitter user @itsalisontoyou also enjoyed the opportunity of joining the franchise in at least a small way. Though they generally avoid tuning in to Strikes Back for fear that one of their tweets might not go over well (“I don’t go below the belt,” they explain, but say their line is “just barely above” it), they’ve heard from friends online about their tweets making the show.
“I think it is cool that the network is giving the fans of the show (who I think have helped the popularity of the show grow over the years with their absolutely solid roastings of the cast and their portrayed situations) a chance to be a part of it,” they said. “It’s a unique opportunity for a stay-at-home mom like myself to let my husband know that everyone, including a TV show, finds me funny, and that is truly a gift that I never knew I needed.”
The Show Must Go On
Of the featured fans we spoke to, most agree their snarking habits won’t change because of Strikes Back, but they love the idea behind the program. “It was a great experience and a smart way for Sharp Entertainment to get fans involved, especially with the filming limitations due to [the coronavirus pandemic],” /u/misspeejay said.
Others are still planning to tweet and meme and post like nobody is watching. “Tweeting during the show is just a way of interacting and giggling with other fans, and [it] makes the show more fun,” @IWedFred shared. “I just tweet my reactions instead of just yelling at the TV like I used to.”
@splashthatcat said their posting preferences didn’t change after their first tweet was featured, and they’re not about to change now either — whether that’s to avoid prying eyes or to get noticed. “I never make jokes on the internet with any intention besides amusing myself,” they shared. Their only reaction to being featured? “I thought, wow, TLC should send me a hat."
Hey, 90 Day — once you start an official line of "I Survived Strikes Back" merch, we've got your first influencer right here.