The second coming of Breaking Amish–“Breaking Amish: Brave New World” arrived last night. This season (or “spin-off” as the TLC network has been calling it) has taken the cast and placed them in the Pinecraft neighborhood of Sarasota, Florida.  I wasn’t surprised when I heard of the choice, for a couple of reasons:

  • Filming in Pinecraft they can remain in an urban environment, in line with the original concept of the show.  It’s not New York City, but Sarasota has a population of over 50,000.  It’s the only city in America with an Amish presence.
  • Pinecraft already has a reputation as a place where Amish, both youth and adult, let their figurative hair down.  It’s a destination for both vacationing Amish and youth betwixt and between English and Amish worlds.

Controversy over “authenticity” in the first edition of Breaking Amish created a backlash which only had to be good for the program’s ratings.

The public responded by rewarding TLC with high viewership.  And the series has had legs beyond America. It’s known as “Zbuntowani Amisze” in its Polish TV incarnation, and with TLC broadcasting in over 150 worldwide markets, there must be more international editions beyond that one.

I did not see this inaugural episode of season 2, but read one review, from which the following jumped out:

But throughout the premiere episode, which has a suffocatingly negative air to it, it’s clear that some of the cast, particularly Abe and Rebecca, miss their families and a sense of community, and are stuck between the two worlds.

The show’s sadness may or may not lift once the group reunites and heads south, but so far it’s simply depressing. Sabrina, now with bleach-blonde hair, lives alone with a gun next to her door, waiting for her boyfriend Harry to be released from prison for assault. Rebecca and Abe live with Rebecca’s daughter (father unknown to viewers) in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, with Abe unable to find a job.  Bishop‘s daughter Kate seems successful in New York City with her modeling career, but her drinking problem is alluded to, as is her dissatisfaction with the unfortunate reality that she lacks any emotional support from her family, and the rest of the group don’t care to have her around.

The reviewer finishes by concluding “Breaking from the Amish has left Abe, Rebecca, Kate, Sabrina and Jeremiah, and possibly the series, simply broken.”

Could this be a harbinger of not only the second season’s chances of success, but of the future paths of the show’s cast?