• Mon, Sep 10 2012

Breaking Amish Is Like A More Scripted Version Of Girls

In their neverending effort to exploit every segment of society, TLC aired their new show Breaking Amish last night. Naturally I sat down with high hopes, and a bonnet. I’m nothing if not respectful. And after years of watching classic Amish movies like For Richer or Poorer and the Lifetime classic, The Plain Truth, I felt ready to continue feeding my Amish fascination.

Unfortunately TLC scripted the pilot episode so much that I felt betrayed. Probably as betrayed as the Fearsome Foursome felt when they watched the fine editors at TLC insert ominous music and fast moving clouds into their pre-NYC lives. But that didn’t stop me from setting my DVR for a season recording. This is just the show I need to fulfill all my Girls needs before the show returns in January.

You see, there’s something so wonderful about watching girls on TV attempting to reach their dreams without the help of their parents. Just like Hannah and Marnie, the Amish crew’s determined to make it on their own in New York City. Actual logistics, a source of income, a career plan and everything else you need to actually survive in NYC be damned.

This is TV and anything can happen.

So it does.

We meet Rebecca, Kate, Sabrina and Abe as they prepare to leave their Amish lives behind. Abe’s a guy, so let’s not talk about him. At least not until he’s peeing on one of the girls in the show a la Girls. Just like Hannah Horvath and her predecessor Belle, they know they’re destined for more than than this provincial Amish life. They just want to find out who they are and where they’re going and why their parents don’t understand that their dreams are bigger than all the outhouses in Lancaster county.

Kate, the rebellious daughter of the Bishop, tells us she’s always dreamed of being a model. You know, after seeing all those models in the magazines she subscribes to. Yep, like I said Kate’s a rebel. Legally a rebel. After getting kicked out of her house, she moves down to Florida with some other Amish friends and gets arrested for a DUI. Yes, she goes from never leaving the Amish life to getting on a plane, going to Florida and getting arrested. She tells us all this with an incredibly nonchalant attitude.

“It was hard,” she says in such a calm and collected way that you wonder if she meant to say, “grass is green” or “my name is Kate.”

Rebecca also shows a complete lack of emotion when talking about getting out of the only home she’s ever known. “Just got kicked out of my house, my family hates me, guess I’ll move to New York City.” As if getting shunned after breakfast isn’t a big deal. Just another day on the farm.

Either they’re Amish robots (I mean if those exist, we all know that TLC would be the network to find them in whatever way they find everyone they build shows around), or these interviews got taped last week and inserted into the show months after these events happened.

Regardless, this looks like the kind of show that will be full of enjoyment, enthusiasm and entitlement. Just because Rebecca, Kate and Sabrina don’t aspire to be writers, doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t appreciate spending the day with Hannah Horvath, sharing stories about hopes, dreams and horrible boyfriends.

And if the upcoming previews are to be believed, we’re in for seeing a lot of dreams get fulfilled. Stripper, models, tattoos and tears. What more could a viewer ask for in a reality-but-not-reality-at-all-because-I-thought-Amish-people-hate-cameras-show.

(Photos: TLC)

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  • http://twitter.com/cameragrrl Wendy Whipple

    You left out Jeremiah – there’s five of them, and Sabrina is Mennonite. Part of their robotic-ness is due to their culture, where emotional outbursts are discouraged. I do agree though, it was terribly scripted, and TLC is becoming the go-to channel for Train Wreck TV.

    • Jenni

      So Jeremiah confused me because I think I kept getting him mixed up with Abe. But then I saw he existed this morning when I was writing this….so my apologies!

  • http://twitter.com/xAmishAtheist X Amish Atheist

    Jeremiah Raber from BreakingAmish has kids, is divorced, and hasn’t been Amish for many years. See the proof: http://xamishatheist.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/tlcs-breaking-amish-the-scandal-of-jeremiah-raber/

  • Ex-Mennonite

    I’m an ex-Mennonite who is shunned, and I wanted to leave a few thoughts on your comments about lack of emotion. I don’t think you can begin to understand how deeply we are ingrained not to show emotion, pleasant or unpleasant. It’s an almost impossible concept to explain because it is so wrapped up and nuanced in both our cultural and doctrinal backgrounds. The closest I can come to explaining it is that we are taught that some of the highest virtues are uniformity, conformity and not standing out because to do otherwise draws attention to the individual and away from God – a form of pride. To show “excess” emotion is to stand out. Without even being conscious of it, from little on up you learn to contain your emotions and deal with them privately, and in partitioning them off in public your expression can be almost numb. There were several scenes in the pilot where from my own experience I knew the heart rending emotions that were occuring behind the facade.

    • Weottababyistaboy

      except that she hasnt been mennonite for years and the entire show is a lie

    • Jenni

      Do you have proof of this? If so, would LOVE to talk!

    • Weottababyistaboy

      There is a page on Facebook called Breaking Amish the Truth, There is Pictures of the cast Abe and Rebecca with their daughter, Sabrina and her boyfriend, Jeremiahs divorce records and pictures of him in recent years , and he wasn’t Amish. There Facebook pages and myspace pages have since been deleted but the pictures are on the site. They were all raised Amish or Mennonite, and left. For the show they had to dress up and it’s very scripted. Ex-Amish community is not very happy about the portrayal of Amish in this show and have posted the like, discrediting the show. There was an Official FB page for Breaking Amish that has been removed, there was A Lot of people commenting on there about the lies and falsehood of the show!
      http://www.facebook.com/BreakingAmishTheTruth

    • Doubter

      I was beginning to wonder about the truth of this show – I wouldn’t think that for girls raised away from ‘English’ society, and with no TV, etc., that their language would be peppered with so much slang – we get so used to hearing the youth use ‘like’ on a constant basis, but that was the first thing I noticed about Rebecca when she was talking.

    • Rocki

      Again, lack of understanding speaking and by that I mean ignorance. The Indiana Amish and Mennonite community interacts with the rest of us heathens CONSTANTLY. Even they have to make money and so called normal people are the primary buyers, and no, the tourists dont sensor their actions or words while interacting. I’ve heard Mennonites swear enough to embarrass the Devil, “son of a bitch”, “ass” and other swear words are fairly common, especially among the younger people dealing w/moronic tourists who think they can rob the vendors blind, just cause they are viewed as being less worldly.
      There are huge festivals in Osceola and Shipshewana through out the year and GASP there’s interaction w/ non Amish/Mennonites. There’s literally a lady that used to ride her bike to the store and stop at McDonalds for breakfast at least once a week. And at 16-17, they all undergo Rumspringa and experience the ‘outside’ world, complete with swearing, fighting booze and drugs. Just because you have a preconceived idea of a culture as being “sheltered on the farm” doesn’t mean that your notions are reality.
      While there are the old school diehards, there are outliers in EVERY culture; do you act exactly like every member of your culture and does everyone in that culture act just like you? Doubt it, there’s this thing called personality and in the Amish/Mennonite culture they are taught not to express emotions too much, doesn’t mean they all conform perfectly.
      There are Muslims that drink, even tho it’s viewed as banned by the bulk of the community, there are Christians having set before marriage, even tho is taboo. Common folks, people do things outside their community’s rules and regs every bloody day.

    • Ricki

      And I can make a FB page saying everything weottababyisaboy is not only a lie but a plea for the Devil to destroy the earth. Just cause someone post something as ‘fast’ in a God damned FACEBOOK PAGE doesn’t mean it’s gospel. Matter of fact I’m fairly confident that there’s a FB page or website claiming that Elvis is still alive, JFK was killed (personally) by Castro and Obama is the antichrist.
      Just cause someone puts it in the cyberspace doesn’t mean it’s a bloody fact!

    • Weottababyistaboy

      SMH if you have been watching the show we are talking about… You would know everything I posted has been verified by the cast. Apparently the ignorance you speak of is aimed at yourself. Thanks for the not so informative info about Northern Indiana Amish Kids though, I grew up there and Partied with them. 32 sure is a far cry from “Rumspringa”. quit trying to make yourself feel big when you know absolutely nothing about the Amish or this show.

  • Nan

    Kate seems to be a very mean person period. You would think that she would try to be a little nicer to people. It certainly does not look like she was raised Amish. Watching her was like watching the movie “Mean Girls”.

    • mandarin334

      She’s a vacant vassal. What a sad person. Sold herself for money.

  • LOL

    I’m friends with Kate. She’s from Lebanon, Pa. We partied together. She had left her Amish family and lived a normal life for YEARS. They made her dress up and pretend to be new to this sort of world. Lol. no. She had a cell phone, worked as a server at Ruby Tuesday, wore bikinis, and did normal stuff. It’s all for entertainment, suckers.

    • Rockiome

      Of course it’s for entertainment, it’s a bloody TV show. And the fact remains Kate DID leave the Amish or Mennonite community, I don’t think the amount if time she’s been gone is relevant, it still is a story abt ppl who’ve left everything they knew behind. I never got the impression that they ACTUALLY up and left at the same time and hightailed it to NYC JUST as the production company rolled up. Anyone who did is kidding themselves. They don their native garb for the cameras, because it represents who and what they were. The spirit of the premise remains the same “I was Amish/Mennonite and now I’m not” i don’t care if they left 2 days ago or 5 years ago, they had to go through the adjustment either way so why not let the cameras document what they’re doing post Amish:Mennonite- oh, wait, that’s what they are doing!

    • Weottababyistaboy

      The premise? The Producers claimed they left for the first time, that is the premise. so Oh, wait Your just a it all who doesn’t know a lot about anything!

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