I grow increasingly distressed that there is a genre of television called reality that is anything but reality, and that there is far more reality to be seen in scripted television than current reality television shows. Case in point — Breaking Amish, a program that shows a group of men and women in their late teens and early twenties that have left their respective Amish communities in order to visit New York City. The reason they are visiting the city is to explore it and to see what life is like outside of being Amish as they have been Amish since birth.
I have heard about the idea of rumspringa — where the Amish boys and sometimes girls leave their home at the age of sixteen and are encouraged to explore and live how they want to live to see if they want to genuinely be Amish or if they want to continue living outside of the Amish world. I think the idea is that they should not be Amish if they are not doing it with a sincere heart.
The disappointment was immense when I found out that there was nearly nothing real about Breaking Amish. As it turns out, the only thing real is that they all were at one point Amish with one of them being Mennonite. Every single one of them stopped having any connection with the Amish or Mennonite connection years before the show started. Therefore, all the scenes depicting them talking about how they feel uncertainty about leaving the community, or where their parents try to talk them out of leaving — complete and utter fabrication.
One cast member, Jeremiah, stopped being Amish entirely over a decade ago and had no problem driving cars (unlike what he said on the show) and was not at all shunned by his family but rather pampered with gifts when he left the community. He also had multiple children.
It is rather a letdown when it is so incredibly easy to dissect and find inconsistencies between what is said on the show and the real reality that bubbles beneath the completely fake reality. Seeing shows like this fall apart make me want to give up on the possibility of there being reality television anymore.
I really hope we’re at the end of these “unreality TV” shows that junk up our airtime. It’s all so predictable now. There’s little reality left in the lives of these shows.
Looking at the new Entertainment Weekly it seems there is more to come – yuck!
Well said. This is why I watch DVD’s of my favorite series television shows, and PBS. PBS makes no excuses about not believing in creation, but the rounded out variety of shows is anything but fake.
I was thinking about PBS and how they had what is considered the first reality television show — An American Family.
Good on you for sticking with PBS!