Why Big Ed is the Reality Star We Love to Hate and Hate to Love

The Kardashians used to reign supreme in the kingdom of cringe-worthy reality TV. But with “Keeping Up the Kardashians” coming to a close soon, other reality stars are vying for the crown they’re leaving behind. One of them is Big Ed from “90 Day Fiancé.”

Here before you is the reigning King of cringe reality TV, Big Ed (Photo from Soap Dirt)

Ed “Big Ed” Brown made waves when he first appeared on “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days,” one of the countless “90 Day Fiancé” spin-offs. The entire Big Ed and Rose story was so popular on the show that both Ed and Rose gained fame in their own right. Rosemarie Vega, his ex-girlfriend, started her modeling career and YouTube channel whereas Big Ed returned to the 90 Day Fiancé stage by starring in “90 Day Fiancé: The Single Life.”

For people who are unfamiliar with Big Ed, he may be just another reality star with an odd appearance. Born with a rare disorder called Klippel Fiel Syndrome (KFS), a condition that affects his spine, Ed has a short neck, which earned him the nickname No Neck Ed (a popular meme on the internet). People have teased him, calling him a dwarf or a hobbit.

But his appearance isn’t the sole reason behind the ridicule and backlash he has been receiving since he appeared on the show. People aren’t mean to people with genetic disorders. Nope, they’re often mean to mean people — especially manipulative reality stars who chase clout.

Big Ed and a Tale of Two Women

Before we dissect why people love to hate and hate to love Big Ed, it pays to know his story in “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days” and “90 Day: The Single Life.”

90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days

Big Ed and Rose made us fall in love with them until they fell out of love themselves. (Photo from ET Online)

Big Ed caught the attention of the audience when he talked about Rose, his 23-year old girlfriend based in the Philippines. Aged 54 years old at that time, Big Ed and Rose’s age gap caused an issue not just with Big Ed’s family but with the 90 Day Fiancé audience. But then again, if you’ve watched 90 Day Fiancé, a big age gap is no longer surprising (*side-eyes Laura and Aladin Jallali with their 22 year age gap).

The more gripping part of their storyline is their drastic differences, especially in terms of lifestyle. Big Ed lives a comfortable life in the US whereas single mom Rose is struggling in the Philippines. Despite his earlier declarations of love for his Queen, Big Ed was shocked when he discovered the type of life Rose lived — in poverty.

Rose’s status, however, served as leverage for Big Ed since he enticed her with the American Dream, promising her a new life and spoiling her with money.

Initially, Rose was attracted to the whole idea, apart from her attraction to Big Ed. During an episode of the “90 Day Fiancé: Tell All,” she admitted to having ulterior motives from the beginning. But she insisted that her love for him blinded her from the red flags that manifested during the start of their relationship.

Big Ed figured he could fuel Rose’s affection for him with money, despite initially catfishing her. His recklessness with his finances manifested in a materialistic manner. Four weeks into their relationship, Big Ed sent Rose care packages filled with gifts, spending thousands of dollars on shipping. When they met in person, he bought her pajamas, fancy lingerie, plane tickets and hotels. Although he does everything out of love, proving to Rose that he can take care of her, he reinforced the fact that he can buy her out of her impoverished life.

Alas, Big Ed and Rose did not go the traditional Great Gatsby route. Rose eventually saw the red flags of Big Ed. The peak of the end of it all happened when Rose realized that Ed did not share her desire to have another kid after he admitted to scheduling a vasectomy in the US. She made 90 Day Fiancé history when she packed her bags and left Ed at the hotel, giving the internet the infamous crying No Neck Ed meme.

90 Day: The Single Life

Liz is the patron saint of patience. She deserves applause. (Photo from Us Magazine)

Big Ed made his big return to the 90 Day Fiancé stage by appearing on 90 Day: the Single Life,” another 90 Day Fiancé spin-off that follows former stars in their new life as singles. It was only fit for Big Ed to be part of this show, given that he is a hopeless romantic still searching for love after his relationship with Rose ended.

Lucky for him, the new object of his affection, a waitress named Liz, gave him attention. Liz and Ed’s storyline continues to captivate audiences as many people wonder why Liz is actually sparing Ed hours of her day — despite him being so insistent in moving things forward too quickly. Like Rose, Liz is a single mother. But unlike her Big Ed predecessor, Liz is 28 years old. She and Ed still have a big age gap, but Big Ed likes to think it’s not that wide of an age gap.

Big Ed: The Epitome of Chaotic Reality Star

So why do people love to hate and hate to love Big Ed? How is he giving the Kardashians a run for their money?

First, his narcissism is off the charts.

His Big Ed merch is everywhere in the show: from his luggage to his shirt. TLC tries to blur the image of his merch, but Big Ed still gets away with flashing off the cartoon version of his face wherever he goes.

It’s not just the merchandise that emphasizes his undeniable love for himself.

Listen to how he talks about himself as a person. The mere fact he believes that his confidence and charisma are the keys to winning relationships is laughable. If his charisma and confidence did work, surely he and Rose would have been married by now?

Let’s not forget the first episode of “The Single Life” where he had a professional photoshoot for his dating app. The image of Big Ed dressed up in a Nacho Libre outfit will haunt viewers for the rest of their lives.

The way he loves himself would have been admirable if it wasn’t too much. The man thinks of himself an equal to werewolf Jacob Black so…no. Plus, he has a tattoo of his face on his calves.

Second, his selfish view of relationships.

On the outside, Big Ed loves to shower his ladies with gifts and affection. He will not hesitate to book a plane ticket and hotel just to see them and spend time with them. As mentioned above, he showered Rose with plenty of gifts. But when it comes to the deeper aspect of the relationship, Big Ed is always after how he can benefit from it.

Remember how he gifted Rose with lingerie and a toothbrush? His gifts weren’t for Rose’s benefit; they were for his. And he straight-up lied to her when she asked him if he wanted kids.

For example, Big Ed is a big fan of physical intimacy. During his confessionals in “The Single Life,” all he could talk about was Liz’s physical features, how he wanted to kiss her and his narration of their “off-the-charts” sex life. Prior to becoming a serious couple, Big Ed focused on getting a kiss from Liz, which he tried once (without consent, mind you) and ended up kissing her nose.

Third, he moves way too fast.

He and Rose were sort of on the same level during “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.” Both somehow saw each other as their endgame. Rose wanted to have kids with him. Big Ed called Rose the love of his life. Had he not lied to her and manipulated her, they may have ended up together before separating again.

This flaw is highlighted more in “The Single Life.” After going out with Liz for a couple of dates, he was itching to have her be his girlfriend. Before they were officially dating, Ed was trying to get Liz to kiss him and managed to secure sleeping with her (by conveniently having them sleep in one bed). A few seconds after becoming official, he immediately asked Liz to meet his daughter, Tiffany.

Finally, he’s manipulative.

His relationship with Liz highlights this fact. In a recent episode, Liz and Big Ed sit down to talk about her leaving him alone in Las Vegas after meeting his daughter. Tiffany and her friends pulled off a “Mean Girls” situation, making fun of Liz within earshot. Big Ed badgered Liz to talk about it but Liz, whose defense mechanism was to shut down, refused. When he talked too much, she booked a flight and left.

During their conversation, Big Ed made it seem that she caused his panic attack, which made her feel guilty for leaving. Think of him as a chaotic warhead teenager that does everything to get what he wants.

Why People Just Love to Hate on Big Ed

Despite being painted as such a despicable person in 90 Day Fiancé, Big Ed makes for good entertainment.

Everything about him screams “HOT MESS” and — whether you agree — people enjoy watching the chaos from their screens.

The Kardashians chaotic antics worked magic on TV viewers, which is why the show has 20 seasons. Big Ed took a leaf out of their book by being chaotic on TV. Viewers can’t resist chaos happening, especially when it’s someone as annoying or unbelievable as Big Ed. Even his other 90 Day co-stars like Anfisa Nava garnered attention for causing trouble. They are people whom you just can’t believe would act the way they do. Even though they get on the nerves of viewers, these stars are making money out of viewers who love to hate them.

It’s the weird psychology behind our love for reality TV: people love watching other people doing crazy stuff or things you may feel guilty about. And whether you prefer to admit it or not, you may also love watching Big Ed because you’re entertained by his crazy antics.

Big Ed is still making waves so we speak. Love him or hate him, he’s a reality TV superhero. With “The Single Life” still airing on TLC and people bent on their chairs, waiting for Liz to break up with him, he will no doubt continue to turn heads and gain attention due to our love for crazy reality TV.


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