I’m not sure if I’ve ever described a TV show that way, but that’s probably the most concise and accurate way to go in this case. So you probably “get” the entertaining part but you’re wondering about the depression angle. Well tonight’s the last night AND the after show so my pain is at an end.
Well, I’ll tell you; it’s the lying and hypocrisy. That’s just so sad to see. As you may or may not know The Learning Channel, AKA, TLC has been running a Sunday night hour long cinema verite “reality show” called Breaking Amish. The show follows 5 young people, 3 females and 2 males, who have decided to test the waters outside the Amish community for a period of time that appears to be about a month long. One of the females is from a similar-to-Amish religious community called Mennonites.
It is part of the Amish way, from the little I know, to allow young people to basically leave the community and go live among non-Amish. They call the rest of America “the English” and obviously this term dates back to when they first got here and so the big divide in those times was not just religion but part of that early American language division. A time when Dutch was just one of many languages that immigrants spoke when they arrived. These days most people who come here already speak English. And American English to boot.
So that’s my standard show description. But basically it’s MTV’s “the Real World; Amish Edition.” Because they’re taken to NYC and put up in a place they probably couldn’t afford for very long and then followed around with cameras recording the same junk that all young people do. Romance, wondering about the future, fighting and drinking.
Now, obviously the big deal here is that these guys are coming from a place of VERY low technology. And have to learn about not just computers and cell phones but elevators, coffee machines and electronic room keys. But there are other things they experiment in our modern culture like tattoos and piercings.
So what’s the problem?
Well, listen I’m not going to recap all 10 episodes but what CONSISTENTLY happens is the display by the 5 of lying and hypocrisy. And it so sad because they “free.” I mean, they got “out” for all intents and person and are able to make decisions for themselves. So to see them fall back on clearly what is standard behavior within the Amish while being OUTSIDE the Amish is just sad. Now let’s be real. They’re very young people. With 8th grade educations. So nobody is expected deep and philosophical paradigm sifts. But to repeat the very behavior they claim to be trying to get away from is just a lack of self-awareness that’s hard to watch.
IT all starts when the group is initially talking about this Kate person they’ve heard about but haven’t met. They’ve hears she’s attractive. And she is. I’d say she has more than a passing similarity to my own girlfriend-also very good looking. But they start also hearing how she’s all “stuck up.” So they’ve pre-judged her And of course they see that quality in her despite it not being there. She is not only humble, but possible the ONLY cast member that regularly defends the Amish ways!
And by the way this “judging” issue comes up a lot. Both Rebecca and Sabrina are constantly screaming Don’t Judge Me! And yet they never, never stop doing it. Comical. Well, tinged with sadness. Because both of those young ladies have terrible situations WITHIN the Amish and Mennonite community. Rebecca has an absent and adulterous father and Sabrina is adopted. So they’re both tainted if you will by their standards. Plus Rebecca has no fucking teeth. I mean she actually had her damn teeth taken from her. Crazy.
But staying with the Rebecca issue; she gets involved with Abe-to the point that they decided to get married. But turns out she was ALREADY married and divorced. And she saw nothing wrong with hiding this fact, i.e. a lie of omission.
Sabrina pulls a similar lie near the end of the series by revealing she was involved with some other guy. And if the hinting is accurate-she and Jeremiah get sexually involved. And no big deal I guess, since they’re over 18 and they too were both in marriages that ended.
Let’s stick with these 2 for a second. Jeremiah turns out to be a true sleazball. He is not just a little on the sexual side (which I’m actually cool with but he’s just clumsy and loud about it) but he is very, and I mean very, manipulative. And he engineers all kinds of devious and nasty business.
Similarly, Sabrina fabricates a pretty odd “witch” accusation against Kate. I’m talking Cotton Mathers old school accusation.
Kate of course has the best chance at a post Amish life. She’s pretty enough to actually get into a modeling agency and starts going out on calls. But you know the world, even if she doesn’t make it as a model, being attractive is a pretty good lock on better opportunities. But here’s the catch; she’s also model crazy. There is some footage of here not just drinking until she’s totally out of it, but these very odd private moments of recording herself. Way weird. Oh and by the way, turns out she was hiding a drinking and driving arrest record. I still don’t know where that mysterious arrest report came from. That’s like, the only real puzzler I saw on that entire show.
Finally Abe goes home, they kick him out. More specifically, his bother does. The reason is that he’s doing non-Amish stuff. So guess who shows up at the party and gets a lap dance? Mr. pious-ass brother.
So virtually every single one of them on the show lies and proves to be a solid hypocrite-even when given a chance to make a clean break from their insular culture. I guess, I was just hoping they lived a little better than all of us who live SUPER non-religious lives. NOPE. People are people.