Television
“Breaking Amish” My New Obsession
By LaDale Anderson
Oct 3, 2012 - 7:47:48 PM

HOLLYWOOD—TLC has a new reality series that has instantly hooked me with its premise. “Breaking Amish” is both riveting and controversial, as it tackles the lives of five Amish people that choose to leave home to journey to New York City. The series follows Abe, Jeremiah, Kate, Rebecca, and Sabrina as they navigate their newfound independence in a culture and environment that is foreign to them.

 

What immediately captured my attention about the show was the insight it provides into the Amish lifestyle: how they interact with people, what their society is like, and it addresses many of the rumors that the public has about the Amish community. It’s important to note that Abe, Jeremiah, Kate, and Rebecca are all Amish, whereas Sabrina is a Mennonite. She is part of the Amish community, but it’s a different sub-culture. It’s quite interesting to see her interaction amongst the group with the people in New York; in a strange sense, she’s a bit more open.

 

Based on what has been depicted in the show up so far, I would argue that Abe and Rebecca appear as Amish exploring a foreign environment, while Jeremiah, Sabrina, and Rebecca at some point have ventured from their staple grounds. The audience is well aware that Kate has spent time in Florida and was arrested for a DUI. The fact that her parents have no idea about that I find hard to believe. She also comes across as a bit kooky on the series, as if she has alternate personalities. Jeremiah takes in his newfound freedom without any hesitation: getting tattoos, visiting strip clubs, and using bad language. 

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Kate sobs as Sabrina consoles her.


The audience is well aware of the obvious sparks between Abe and Rebecca from the first episode of the series. It's like these two are destined to be together, but it was troubling to watch the recent episode where Rebecca revealed a dark secret about her past and the fact that she has no teeth. To see her smile with so much confidence was a remarkable moment on the TV screen. 

 

What attracts audiences is the fact that there is nothing like this on television right now. People have always had their thoughts about the Amish community, particularly about issues like lack of electricity and the children being able to stop going to school after 8th grade. There lies an intrigue in the show that makes the viewer want to know more. To be honest, just to see cameras navigate around an Amish community would draw in viewers, but to see people taken from that environment and placed somewhere else is just as interesting.

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Sabrina, Rebecca and Abe from "Breaking Amish."

 

I find it difficult to grasp that the cameras are able to invade the Amish community without being seen. Some of the images presented to the camera acknowledge the idea that the Amish community is not happy with what is being depicted. You also have the fact that some of the cast members come across as very good actors, and some appear to have had multiple encounters with the “outside world” from their communities.  This is not to say the Amish do not travel, because they do indeed.

 

Recently, reports have surfaced that indicate the show is a fake. They claim that Jeremiah has children, Abe and Rebecca are already married with a child, and many others. TLC has acknowledged that these will be addressed in future episodes. I believe that all the controversy just makes the viewer want to watch more to see how things will unfold. When something appears on TV that is not commonly seen, it’s so alluring. It's like MTV’s “ Jersey Shore.” It came out of nowhere in 2009 and became a phenomenon over night; the same thing is happening with “Breaking Amish.”

 

For those who have not checked out the series “Breaking Amish” airs Sundays at 10pm on TLC.



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