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Lechon Larry: Culture Clash

Photo of Lechon Larry Passariello and Jenny from the TV show 90-day Fiance

 

Facebook Fodder

Hot right now on Facebook and elsewhere in the Philippines are a couple of clips from an episode of 90-Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days, a “reality” show that brings together people who are pursuing partners from other countries that aired back in September of 2017.

In an official clip from the show, potential fiance Larry Passariello embarrasses potential fiancee Jenny De in front of her family by refusing to try lechon at the party held to welcome him.

In a second clip, not posted by TLC, Jenny tells Larry, “You’re rude.” Her “rude” sounds like “road” and endless memes are now going around the Philippines because of it.

 

What’s This Show?

The 90-Day Fiance logoFirst, there was a show on cable channel TLC called 90-Day Fiance. On the show, they follow couples around who have either a foreign boyfriend or girlfriend in the US on a K1 visa, also known as a “fiance/e visa”. The visa expires after 90-days so the couples either have to marry or the foreign fiance/e has to leave the country. 

Spinoffs followed as that show became more popular. Along with Before The 90-Days, which shows couples meeting for the first time (to fulfill the requirements of the K1 visa that the couples meet in person), there are now shows that follow up on the couples who married and the individuals who did not.

Is It For Real?

Well, I have my doubts that any “reality” show is very true or reflects real life.

Shows like this are, in my opinion, made and edited to emphasize the conflict so that their viewers, who usually don’t have a high tolerance for nuance, are kept excited and entertained.

Let me be diplomatic and just say that this family of shows are at least true to their advertised descriptions, ok?

So What’s The Beef, Er, Pork?

The beef I see the most is that Lechon Larry (as I call him) should not have refused to eat the roast pork. He treated their traditional food like it was garbage (he crossed himself before tasting the smallest string of muscle fiber). He was road. Or rude.

The opposite beef is that Lechon Larry shouldn’t have been expected to eat food he doesn’t want to and that it was Jenny and her family that was rude. Or road. Whatever.

Sometime after the segment aired on TLC, the internet exploded and fans of the show were coming down hard on Larry. Around that time, Larry dumped gasoline on the fan fire by claiming that he was really a vegetarian and that’s why he didn’t try the lechon. 

Larry, it seems, worked as a manager at McDonald’s (cooked animals, anyone?). Many, many fans of the show did not believe his vegetarian claim.

Lechon Larry: What I Think

Timeout

Photo of a woman signaling timeout for Lechon LarryI’m going to start off by giving Lechon Larry the benefit of the doubt two ways.

I’m going to say first that I understand people being afraid to try food they’ve never seen or heard of before. I didn’t have Chinese restaurant food until I was 23 or 24 and I was so afraid of it that I ran out on a dinner with a girlfriend’s family because they had ordered takeout. I was afraid I’d hate it and look like a dork. It didn’t occur to me that leaving made me look like a dork as well.

I’m going to say second that I haven’t seen the 90-Day Fiance show and probably never will. Let me include here that I don’t know how Larry and Jenny met or how long they knew each other before he was flown to the Philippines to meet her. I’m also going to add a reminder that i think these shows are directed and edited for maximum conflict.

I Bring Out The Knives

 

If you are involved with a Filipina and you do not know what lechon is and what it signifies to Filipinos, you are not ready to travel 10,000 miles to meet your girlfriend.

If you are involved with an American and have not told him what lechon is and what it signifies to Filipinos, you are not ready for him to travel 10,000 miles to meet you.

Shame on both of these people to a certain extent but shame on Lechon Larry even more.

You know nothing about this woman’s culture? You haven’t even told her you’re a (supposed) vegetarian?! What the hell makes you think you’re ready to meet her as a potential marriage partner?!

Oh, and by the way, marriage isn’t a throwaway thing to Filipinos like it is to Westerners. Divorce is not legal here. You’re not considered married unless you have your vows officiated by a priest, imam, pastor, or whatever your preacher/teacher is called in your religion. Even if you marry Jenny in America, divorcing her will put a black mark on her and her family forever.

I don’t know what happened to your first wife but you’re on the rude road to Lonely Town if you don’t wise up!

And that’s all I have to say about Lechon Larry Passariello and Jenny De.

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