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.