Despite wrapping its ninth season with an immaculate survival rate, 90 Day Fiancé’s limited-time lovers weren’t without their woes. Seeking guidance from family members and ghosts of relationships past, the main cast diffused situations and sometimes caused new issues entirely with the personalities they reached out to.
From voices of reason and free-spirited support to headlocks and brazenly bad advice, the side characters in season 9 were as entertaining, if not more so than the main subjects themselves. Leaving a mark in their limited engagements, these fringe members of the 90 Day community deserve their flowers, too.
Elegant and kind, Emily’s sister Madeline is a warm presence from the moment she’s introduced. Receptive of Kobe and understanding of his struggles, she chooses to elevate not castigate him as he acclimates to fatherhood and farm life. The polar opposite of Emily, her calming presence is both welcoming and enlightening toward Emily’s shortcomings.
After Emily nonchalantly breaks the news that she’s having another baby, an irritated Madeline states that Emily is abusing her parents’ kindness while showing no signs of responsibility, proving that as nice as she is, the most important aspect of love is honesty.
The last time viewers saw Ari’s ex-husband Leandro, he was being choked out by Biniyam in Africa after giving Ari some new bras. So, when Biniyam later tried to choke him in New Jersey with Ethiopian food under cultural pretenses, the action came as no surprise to Leandro or viewers alike. Sharp and well aware of what he does to Biniyam’s confidence, Leandro’s recurring presence shows that not only does he still care about Ari but he won’t let Bini and his MMA background intimidate him out of one of the most important friendships in his life.
Making the questionable decision to bring Guillermo to her 10-year high-school reunion, Kara introduced Guillermo (and the world) to her high-school sweetheart, Kris. Enlightening Guillermo to the fact that Kara cheated on him with someone in massage school, forever altering his faith in women, Kris used his time as a warning. Kris’ admission would be hard to hear from anyone, let alone from someone that looks like Kane Brown with a ponytail. Aesthetic aside, Kris was filled with truths. Kara is controlling and refuses to be controlled. Sharing his heart with the man walking down a similar path, Kris’ cameo was memorable for the right and ridiculous reasons.
Temperature’s impact on Kobe was immediate. Upon arrival from Columbus, Temperature takes notice of the way Emily talks to Kobe and bosses him around, pulling no punches in telling Kobe and Emily that their relationship dynamic is unacceptable for an African man and any woman. Unveiling Kobe’s royal roots, Temperature boosts Kobe’s image to the Bieberly family while commanding him to take a more dominant role in their relationship.
From planting the seeds of Kobe potentially moving into a Cameroonian enclave in Columbus to telling Emily’s immediate family that she belongs to Kobe over dinner, Temperature ignored any sort of nuance in his defense of marital hierarchy in African culture. Right or way off base, his screentime was electric.
Patrick’s Mother Paula
As Patrick talks about his harrowing childhood and rough upbringing while living in an Austin mansion, it’s hard to picture him in that setting. After he travels home to Massachussettes to introduce Thais to his ailing mother and sister (who’s sporting a fresh black eye), not just Patrick, but John’s issues all begin to make sense. Boston strong and just as abrasive, Paula wastes no time in voicing her concerns and tells Thais that under no circumstances would her future grandchild be living in Brazil. A hodgepodge of Roseanne Barr and Christine Baskets, Paula is both loving and direct, and with four prior marriages, no one is more qualified to chime in on the topic of commitment than she is.
Daveed Dacho aka Serbian Tom Cruise is Jibri’s muse. His entry point into Serbian culture, Jibri co-fronts spacepunk act Black Serbs with Dacho and co-anchors a nearly 15-year friendship with him that somehow includes Dacho putting him in a coma. Despite the fights and Dacho’s issues with Miona, he remains integral to Jibri’s creative life. More than just a musician, Dacho is an avid runner and owns the Strong Group trucking company. Dressed for the runway and always ready to tussle, Daveed’s appearances were as chaotic as the music he and his kumovi put out.
Jibri’s Grandma Cheyne
Jibri’s grandmother Cheyne is a joy to watch. Dubbed a “badass radical lesbian feminist” by her grandson, Cheyne is welcoming of all of Jibri’s quirks and gives him the unconditional support his mother Mahala is incapable of while psychoanalyzing his every move. As stylish as she is knowledgable, Cheyne’s sartorial flair often manifests in matching fits with her grandson and the all-knowing energy her daughter carries herself with. As Cheyne officiates Jibri’s wedding—the same wedding Jibri’s parents refused to go to—it’s obvious why Jibri is so close with his grandmother: she’s a gem.
Pat’s friend Jeremy officiated his wedding like it was a pitstop on a deli run. With his hands firmly placed in the pockets of his Gucci tracksuit, Jeremy led a gravely-voiced ceremony that sounded more like pleasantries between cigarettes than a traditionally structured celebration.
Jeremy’s brief presence caused a stir online, spawning an outpouring of memes and quips moments after his unveiling. While he didn’t log much airtime, Jeremy’s ability to promote himself for background acting work as “unnamed Italian Man” during a meticulously crafted wedding truly deserves to be commended.
Pat’s brother John is the most prominent non-focal cast member on the show. Living with Pat for the past two years, John helped Pat rediscover who he was after his divorce and gave him the brotherly love he didn’t get to have during his youth. With glossy eyes and a thick Bostonian accent, John also plays devil’s advocate as he lovingly chides Pat about his relationship and questions Thais on her intentions. Casually cracking beers and cooking floor steaks before noon, John’s drinking and omnipresence are ongoing issues for Thais whose only real desire is for John to go away. With his heart in the right place and his foot often in his mouth, John’s tough love is as important for Patrick as is narratively for season 9.
Resembling Michael Richards if he starred in Eraserhead, Jibri and Miona’s friend Igor is a revelation. Transporting their triangular wedding “arch” through three hours of desert terrain, Igor would calm everyone’s nerves with his arrival and also serve as their wedding photographer and only guest. So full of love and joy, Igor’s energy is contagious. An actor and comedian that’s fluent in English and Serbian as well as their respective signings, Igor may be deaf but is far from defined by his condition. As Jibri signs and slowly annunciates his vows for his friend to understand, the moving inclusivity of the ceremony spoke volumes on the importance of this extraordinary man.