Love can conquer all, or can it? FYI’s new controversial show, Bride & Prejudice, premiered March 15. Viewers were introduced to three couples who are madly in love and ready to get married. With their weddings just five weeks away, they’re breaking the news to their prejudice families. Sadly, support is lacking for all three of the soon-to-be wed couples. Let’s get to know them as we hope their loved ones have a change of heart.
Eugene and Samantha: Eugene, 27, works in a bar and just graduated from nursing school. His family is of the Jewish faith; they believe “Jews marry Jews.” Samantha is a 26-year old nursing assistant who works in a local Baltimore, Maryland hospital. She was raised in a Christian home and knows very little about Judaism.
The couple met 15 months ago in a bar after finishing a semester of nursing school. Samantha liked that Eugene was “loud, outspoken, and funny.” It was “love at first moment” for Eugene; he knew right away that Samantha was “the one.” A month after meeting, Samantha got pregnant. The couple now has a 5-month old son named Nathan.
With a baby in tow, the couple is ready to make it official. Samantha invites her family over to share her wedding news; Eugene is not home for the announcement. After telling her parents and siblings that she will be marrying Eugene in 5 weeks, her family is surprised. But it doesn’t take long for them to come around. Her dad is teary-eyed as her mom acknowledges that he’ll be giving Samantha away.
When Eugene visits his family to announce his upcoming marriage, his parents and brother are visibly annoyed. “She’s not Jewish,” his brother snaps. “It’s unacceptable.” Eugene’s mom tells him they’re all “in shock,” and his father doesn’t say a word.
“It is an insult to our ancestors. It’s an insult to our grandparents, and to my parents as well,” Eugene’s brother Alex says. Eugene tells his brother he would like him to be his best man; Alex just shakes his head. Samantha shows up and tells Eugene’s family she’s willing to have a Jewish ceremony, but her offer is not enough. Alex tells the couple he doesn’t think they’ve “thought this out.” Eugene and Samantha stand up to leave as Alex is begging his brother to have a one-on-one talk. Eugene refuses, telling his brother, “There’s nothing to talk about.”
Although Eugene didn’t expect his family to be so “harsh” and “angry,” the couple invite both families over for dinner. Eugene’s mom looks uncomfortable throughout the meal, refusing to eat or to speak. “Samantha’s family [is] definitely not the kind of people we would normally associate with,” Alex tells viewers. “It’s not just about religion; it’s about attitude, the jokes, the conversation.”
“I can’t even think about anything I can say I like about Samantha’s family,” Eugene’s mother says on-camera. “Samantha’s father doesn’t know anything about Judaism or religion. I felt like I was offended.” Tension was in the air throughout the increasingly awkward get-together.
Chris and Lou: Chris is a 35-year old from Boston, Massachusetts, and Lou is 27. They share an apartment. Both men work as flight attendants. Appropriately, they met at an airport. They locked eyes and “that was it,” Chris tells viewers. “It was this instant ray of light” for Lou. After falling in love, Chris proposed to Lou in Hawaii on the beach. Lou considers it “the luckiest day of my life.”
While Lou’s mother is supportive of her son being gay, Chris has been forced to keep his sexuality quiet, as his family does not approve. His father is a marine and a “typical macho man.” Chris is nervous that his parents will not attend his wedding. But he’s ready to tell them, so the men get on a plane to Florida.
Chris and Lou arrive at Chris’ sister Angelina’s home. Chris explains to his sister that he wants their parents’ support. It’s obvious Angelina loves him, but she is torn about the situation. She feels she’s “in a bad position,” because “we wish my brother was marrying a woman.”
Lou runs out to the store to pick up some liquid courage, and Chris’ mom and brothers show up without Chris’ dad. “I expected him to be here,” Chris admits. “It crushed me. I seriously felt so numb.” When he announces to his family that he has asked Lou to marry him, his mom is instantly upset. “Who really wants that?” his mother asks. “Who wants to have your son walk down the aisle with a man? I don’t.” She calls Chris out for keeping the family “in limbo” about the wedding.
When Lou returns, he’s smiling until he sees his fiancee crying. He sits down as Chris’ mom asks them about wedding plans. “It’s not gonna be like a gay pride festival,” Lou tells her matter-of-factly. She admits she doesn’t think they will come to the wedding if Chris’ father feels uncomfortable.
Chris and Lou celebrate their engagement on a boat at Boston Harbor. Lou’s mother comes to offer her congratulations and support. Both men give speeches, and they are very emotional. Chris wishes his family was there celebrating, too.
Later, Chris and Lou meet at Chris’ family’s home. Lou’s mother comes from Puerto Rico so everyone can talk. During a private moment, Chris tells his father about the wedding. “I respect that,” his father responds, “however, there are some parameters that I still believe, because I wasn’t raised that way. That makes me uncomfortable, not knowing what to expect. I’m not gonna put myself in that situation. I won’t accept it no matter what you do. I don’t wanna be a part of it.”
When the families all sit down together, Lou’s mom speaks her mind. “It’s sad that you think certain things have to be kept a secret,” she says to Chris’ dad. “It’s really BS for someone to say, ‘Oh, it’s a disaster to be gay. But God already knew. I love my son as-is.” Lou is crying, so Chris consoles him; it’s the first time the men have shown affection in front of Chris’ family.
“I’m not walking Chris down the aisle. No,” Chris’ father says. “If he was getting married to a woman, yeah. I’m not walking anybody down the aisle. I don’t want any part of it.”
Adam and Briana: Adam is a 35-year old truck driver, and Briana, 23, is a full-time student. The couple live in Houston, Texas. They met on a dating website and have been together for a year. Upon meeting, Adam thought Briana was “gorgeous.” Briana says she “fell in love with him instantly.” Briana is black and Adam is white, which they are concerned may cause issues with their families.
Adam’s formerly prejudice father is about to meet his future daughter-in-law for the first time. Adam explains his father “used to be racist,” but his first grandchild changed his mind. Adam shares a child with a black woman he used to date.
When Briana meets Adam’s dad, they hug and make a great first impression, but the conversation gets increasingly awkward as he talks about having black friends. She hopes that Adam’s dad is “the changed man that Adam says he is.”
Briana meets her aunts and cousin, Ashlyn, to tell them her good news. It’s obvious Ashlyn is annoyed by Briana’s decision to get married; she doesn’t believe in interracial relationships. When Adam arrives, Ashlyn is purposely rude. “I don’t feel like you should be getting married, but that’s my business,” she says. She believes that Briana marrying a white man means their family could become “a target.”
Ashlyn knows that family approval is extremely important to her cousin. “There won’t be a wedding until he has her family approval,” she says, “and there’s not too much approval at the moment.”
Later, Adam and Briana meet both families for a meal. Although things go well at first, tension begins to fill the room. “When I’m around small-minded country white folks, a lot of times it’s just be quiet and be observant,” Ashlyn tells viewers, “cause you never know what might happen.” Adam tells everyone he just wants them to be happy and for everyone to “show up” for the wedding. His sister comes from Dallas to support the couple’s decision. Ashlyn is not easily convinced. “Racism is alive around here,” she says.
Will these families come around, or are the happy couples in for more heartache?