Here we go again with a new set of couples seeking to marry on a K-1 fiance visa, as well as last season’s hot mess, Nicole and Azan. It’s always interesting to see how these relationships play out–for the most part it seems that the people who troll the internet for foreign spouses end up in bad situations (Danielle & Mohamed come to mind), while people who meet organically while traveling have a better chance of making it (see Loren & Alexei). This season includes both types of couples, so we’ll see if this theory holds true.
First up is Molly, a custom bra designer who intends to marry Luis, whom she met in the Dominican Republic. Molly is 41 and Luis is 26–red flag–but Molly seems infinitely more astute than her cougar sister Danielle. She also seems to be doing pretty well for herself, so hopefully Luis doesn’t have a venal mother and sister back in the DR for whom he intends to drain Molly dry in order to support, a la Pedro.
Next we have Elizabeth, who met her Moldovan fiance Andrei in Dublin, where he lives. Elizabeth is the youngest of ten–that’s right, TEN–siblings, and she isn’t even a Duggar. But she is from Florida, a state known for the backwoods tendencies of its citizens, so I guess it’s not that surprising. I already like Elizabeth because she loves her dog and appears to be well-traveled. She and Andrei “came across each other”–I’m assuming online–and her reservations about the complications of a long-distance relationship fell away when she met him in person. Elizabeth describes Andrei as the classic alpha male and a gentlemen despite his rough exterior.
Elizabeth’s family is not on board with her overseas romance. They think Andre could not possibly love Elizabeth, and is just using her to come to America, which isn’t the best way to boost a loved one’s self-esteem. I can see why Nicole’s family would doubt Azan’s motives because duh, Nicole–but Elizabeth is attractive and seems intelligent and confident, so her family’s skepticism is less understandable.
On to Nicole, who incredibly is still with Moroccan Azan and plotting to bring him to the US. Nicole and Azan were last season’s most delightful train wreck. After meeting Azan online, Nicole impulsively flew to Morocco to meet him in person. Azan was taken aback at the real-life Nicole’s physical appearance, lamenting that she was “big, a little.” How could he not have anticipated that she was overweight? Skype can only hide so much and Nicole’s moon face should have been a dead giveaway.
Once in Morocco, Nicole revealed her utter ignorance of Azan’s culture by constantly badgering him for public displays of affection, whining that his reluctance to engage in such behavior made her feel unloved, and turning up her nose at the local cuisine, wondering where she could get french fries instead. Azan appeared to at best tolerate Nicole, but most of the time seemed repelled by her, which is why it’s surprising to me that these two are still involved with each other.
Nicole can’t afford a K-1 visa herself so she needs a co-sponsor to bring Azan to America. Her mother adamantly refused to do it last season, so now Nicole is blackmailing her father and stepmother into co-sponsoring Azan. She tells them if she can’t find a co-sponsor, she’ll take her daughter and move to Morocco. Everyone in Nicole’s family recognizes that she is completely out of touch with reality, and is therefore appalled at the thought of 2-year-old Mae adrift in a foreign country with only this clueless simpleton to care for her. The father and stepmother agree to sponsor Azan, but as they try to impress upon Nicole how much of a risk it is for them, she indifferently shrugs her shoulders.
Next we have yet another middle-aged loser who thinks a twenty-something Asian girl is his true love. Behold the American male midlife crisis. David loves Annie because she makes him feel younger than his 48 years. Rather than going out and acquiring a red sports car, David is opting for the second most obvious midlife crisis symptom and seeking to acquire a young Asian wife. He proposed to Annie after dating for a week or two, so clearly he has completely removed his brain from his decision-making process and is relying solely on his penis.
For her part, Annie has agreed to marry David because she imagines life in the US will be like the American movies she loves. She estimates she is maybe 90% in love with him, which she finds strange because she doesn’t think he’s handsome, but at least he’s nice. And American. And pretending to be flush with cash as he squires her around Bangkok. Cue the secret David is keeping from Annie–his financial situation is precarious, and he’s worried whether her family will accept the meager dowry he is able to offer for her hand. He can only swing 50,000 baht, which is equivalent to around $1,500. This seems like a bargain-basement price for a whole human being, but hey–at least Annie is cheaper than a sports car.
At a family dinner, Elizabeth’s father and siblings grill her about Andrei. They express the same reservations all the families on this show express–Elizabeth and Andrei are moving too fast, they don’t know Andrei, how will he support himself when he gets to the US, and is he just using Elizabeth. Only time will tell.
David’s best friend and his wife are in Thailand to meet Annie and to attend her and David’s engagement party. David’s friend Chris is very supportive of him, but Chris’ awesome wife Nikki (sp?) breaks down the real story. She is skeptical of David and Annie’s relationship because this is the third girl he’s met since his divorce and he’s wanted to marry all three of them. Chris points out that Annie is the first one David has actually proposed to and while Nikki concedes this to be correct, her facial expressions and body language tell us that she knows what’s up.
David starts rattling off all the expenses associated with his engagement, including the “Sin Sod.” Nikki wonders what a Sin Sod is and David admits it’s a dowry. It’s like by using the Thai phrase for dowry, he was trying to obfuscate the concept in hopes his friends wouldn’t catch it. Too bad, David. It seems like nothing gets past Nikki.
David actually describes the dowry as a means of “buying” a wife, which prompts Annie to repeatedly emphasize that she is not being purchased. How demeaning for her to hear him say that. David is a tool. Turns out he’s also a mooch, having borrowed money from Chris several times. Obviously this conversation about money is David’s way of greasing Chris for another loan. Nikki, standing next to Chris with her arms crossed, is sure the request is coming and is clearly over it. Have I said that Nikki is awesome? Chris must be the world’s biggest optimist because he says he doesn’t think Annie is with David for money, since David doesn’t have any money. What we already know that Chris doesn’t is that David has not been truthful with Annie about his finances.
Nicole meets her family for dinner the night before she and Mae leave for a 2-month trip to Morocco. She breaks the “good news” to her mother that her father and stepmother have been bullied into sponsoring Azan. Nicole’s mother, Robalynn (again, sp?), browbeaten and frustrated by a lifetime of trying to manage the selfish, blundering Nicole, is not pleased. The look she shoots her ex-husband says it all.
She vents that Nicole bulldozes her way through life, expecting everyone to cater to her whims, doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “no,” and doesn’t get that life is different from the way she thinks it should be. When Nicole’s father basically concedes that he agreed to sponsor Azan to keep Nicole from spiriting his granddaughter away to Morocco, Robalynn correctly points out that Nicole is holding the whole family hostage.
Nicole’s younger brother agrees. He thinks Azan sounds like a robot when he tells Nicole that he loves her and misses her, and points out that his sister is not a very observant person. This poor family. How awful would it be to have to deal with a person as stupid as Nicole? If she didn’t have Mae, they would probably just cut her loose and let her make her own way, but as dense as Nicole is, she is cunning enough to realize she has the ultimate bargaining chip and shamelessly exploits it.
Back to Molly, whose 17-year-old daughter Olivia is unhappy about Luis’ impending arrival and her mother’s plans to marry him. Molly seems to be a sensitive and astute parent, inquiring about Olivia’s feelings and assuring her that things will be okay. If not, they’ll go from there. I empathize with Molly’s dilemma; as a single parent her children have been her first priority and are worried their mother’s new romance will take her away from them, but Molly feels it’s time to pay attention to herself. Molly may have fallen into the pitfall of being more of a friend than a mother to her older daughter, so now Olivia thinks she has more say in her mother’s decisions than she should have, but who knows? Olivia has a point when she says it’s inappropriate that she and her sister won’t even meet Luis until he moves into their home, so the stage is set for some potentially brutal conflict. I have high hopes that Molly will handle it better than Danielle did, which I guess isn’t saying much, since Danielle was…well, Danielle.