Time to buckle up: the 90 Day Fiancé franchise has a new spinoff series set against the backdrop of the Caribbean, and it’s anything but paradise.
Ushering in a new set of on-the-rocks couples, Love in Paradise: The Caribbean, premiering July 18 on Discovery+, whisks viewers away to Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, and Barbados to gawk at four Americans who are trying to salvage relationships with their holiday flings.
As it always goes, the couples wistfully recall how they were swept off their feet and fell hard in love while on vacation, and are now heading back to see if they can make things work. But within the first few minutes of the series, the cracks in the relationships are already showing.
Alon Orstein, the Senior Vice President of Production and Development of TLC and Discovery Life Channel, told The Daily Beast that while the franchise might not have the best track record with success stories, the casting team truly aims to find couples who are all-in. And despite having a rabid fanbase who gleefully rejoice when things go up in smoke, the show truly hopes that the couples can work things out.
“It’s hard for us to see any relationship that goes out,” he admitted. “One of the things we look for in casting is to make sure that there’s an opportunity to root for these people. You’ll probably see some relationships that maybe you thought might not work out, actually do.”
“But this is the real world, and relationships that don’t work out are part of the story,” Orstein added. “We want to make sure that there’s an opportunity for people to see both sides of the couple’s POV to relate to them in some way, shape, or form.”
It’s sure to be a long journey, as each couple faces unique issues from the jump.
Perhaps in the most precarious situation is 25-year-old Aryanna, who is headed to Jamaica to finally reunite with 35-year-old Sherlon, last seeing him on a whirlwind vacation. But a month after she returned to Illinois, she realized she was pregnant.
“It wasn’t the smartest decision, we were caught up in the moment,” she cries to the camera of their decision not to use protection. “A decision I made in paradise will impact the rest of my life.”
Still, Aryanna is determined to make it work. The same can’t exactly be said of Sherlon, who seems more excited about his job at a swingers’ resort than the fact that their baby is arriving in three months.
“It’s all about nakedness and sex,” he raves. Although he’s not supposed to “interact” with the guests, Sherlon laughs and boasts that he’s broken the rule “more times than you can count.”
Aryanna is hoping that Sherlon will move to Illinois and help raise their child, but Sherlon seems unwilling to give up his life on the island. Plus, his initial meeting with her family didn’t go smoothly. In an uncomfortable grilling, Aryanna’s mother racially stereotypes Sherlon, who is Black, asking him how many other kids he’s had with tourists.
Also on unsure footing is 30-year-old Amber, from Florida, and her 23-year-old fiancé Daniel, who have been together ever since meeting nearly three years ago in Costa Rica. The couple hadn’t seen each other in months due to COVID-19, plus the pandemic derailed their K-1 visa application, making a process that is supposed to take around six months stretch to 11.
Amber is also at her wits’ end with having to foot Daniel’s bills and expenses because he lost his job during the pandemic. She feels her hand is forced when Daniel asks her to pay for his Wi-Fi bill and bring him a new phone, otherwise she won’t be able to communicate with him. To top it all off, Daniel isn’t holding up his end of the bargain and hasn’t sorted out any of the paperwork he needs to finish the expensive and complicated visa process.
As Amber lands in Costa Rica and gives Daniel a hug, he makes a startling confession to the camera. “I haven’t been telling the truth,” he admits. “I haven’t been honest all my life. She’s going to be pissed for sure.”
Meanwhile, there’s Martine and Steven, who met on a boozy cruise and became inseparable. For the past three years, Miami-local Martine travels as often as she can to visit Steven in Barbados. Now, she’s over Steven’s lackadaisical approach to their relationship and is ready for him to make a serious commitment: propose.
But party-boy Steven is in no place to settle down, previously admitting to cheating on Martine during their first year together. Plus, because of a disastrous breakup with the mother of his daughter, he has vowed to never get in a relationship that serious again.
Things quickly become rocky on their first night together, butting heads over a waitress flirting with Steven in front of Martine. She’s not sure if she can trust him, especially because he’s surrounded by women when he DJs. Martine is convinced that it’s only a matter of time before he gives in to temptation.
There’s a glimmer of hope for the most promising couple of the series: Mark, who is traveling from California to Panama to see his long-lost love Key. The two met nearly a decade ago while he was running a hostel in the country. After a hot-and-heavy two weeks, they stayed in touch every day until Key called Mark out of the blue and confessed she had to go to rehab for her addiction to ketamine.
Mark dropped everything and flew to be with Key and her family in Argentina, staying with them for six months to help with Key’s recovery. But they drifted apart because Mark couldn’t speak any Spanish and Key and her family’s English was equally poor.
After nine years of radio silence, however, Key reached out to Mark, leading them to see if they could finally make things work. But Key doesn’t necessarily believe in monogamy and has no interest in moving to the United States. “Maybe [they have] the best peanut butter, nothing else,” she shrugs.
Overall, Orstein hopes Love in Paradise: The Caribbean resonates with the franchise’s superfans the same way the other spinoffs have developed cult followings. “What makes this unique is that it is concentrated to a specific region. It really shines a light on one territory and how romantic journeys unfold in that particular location.”