Reality Bites: Breaking Amish
"Nah, come on man; some straight like you, giant stick up his ass, all of a sudden at age - what - 60? He's just going to break bad?" - Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad
The title of this show is a bit misleading. One doesn't just "break Amish," though I suppose one can join the ranks of the Anabaptists voluntarily. Breaking Amish in this case refers to the decision by five young Amish/Mennonites to leave the farm and live in New York City. Past episodes have probably explained how a bunch of agrarian-raised youths have the money to goof around in Manhattan day in and day out, or maybe they haven't. Whatever, this thing isn't going to write itself.
It's apparent early on that Kate is more or less the central figure. The 21-year-old looks quite a bit like Mad Men's Peggy Olson, and in addition to pursuing a modeling career (after coming from a background that forbids makeup and hair styling, to say nothing of photographs), she's a lousy drunk. That always makes for good TV.
Jeremiah describes himself as an "Amish rebel," which is probably the easiest thing in the world to qualify for ("I'm using a rotary phone! Fuck you, Dad!"). He's 32, which honeslty makes him kind of pathetic. Think about those guys ten years out of school who still hang out in college bars. Bingo.
Twenty-year-old Rebecca and 22-year-old Abe are the show's sole couple, which has a certain symmetry. You can see the two together, in that they're basically a younger version of Grant Wood's American Gothic, only somehow less humorous.
Honestly, the most interesting person on the show is Sabrina. Now 25, she was adopted by a Mennonite couple after being abandoned by her birth parents. Central to the episode I watched was her hiring a private detective to find the drug addicts who left her in a trash can after she was born. I know, who *wouldn't* want to reconnect with awesome people like that? The PI gives her the good news/bad news: Mom died in 2005, but dad is still around and "excited" to meet her. My advice? Check his house for oversized Dumpsters.
You'll be happy to know that the Amish are just as prone to drama queening as the rest of us, which is kind of comforting. Again, these kids (and Jeremiah) have "jobs" in the sense that the cast of The Real World did, post-season 3 or so. Jeremiah wants to be a cab driver, Kate had her modeling, and...I never got the sense of what the other three are doing, aside from binge drinking and watching TV. They'd make great college freshmen.