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?
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I didn’t get to see the show, but I did tape, when I get a chance probably later today I will look at it. I liked the characters when they did Breaking Amish, thats why I decided to tape this new series. I don’t think they really betray the true Amish communinities.
Hmmm, Breaking Amish season two...
Based on the whole 3 or 4 minutes I saw of one of the early episodes of the first season, I am actually surprised there is a season two. What I saw was an alarmingly bad show.
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised then to learn that it is actually so popular. Seems like the more farfetched, ridiculous and moronic a show is the better it does with the general population. Kinda makes me not want to be part of the general population! Hmmm, maybe I am more like the Amish than I previously thought.
Based on the review, above, I think I’ll stick with my season one assessment …thanks, but no thanks!
Sorry, I didn’t take into consideration that some readers of this site might actually enjoy BA. Hope my previous thoughts were not too offensive to those that do enjoy it.
I still feel the same way about the show, but I guess I shouldn’t be so vocal about it.
I agree with you OldKat
I’ve lived near Amish & Mennonites South of Miami (70’s) and visit the Amish Community in Ethridge, TN. I asked a couple how they felt about “Breaking Amish”. One had never heard of it and the other person said it wasn’t real, mostly scripted. I watched a couple of the episodes and when I heard how upset the Amish were about the series I refused to watch another show. One of the farmers that we buy produce from said that what he knew was the response in the Budget. Like you, if I knew what I know now about the Amish, I probably would have become Amish. I’m not saying any of this to stand in judgement, I just choose not to watch. I truly admire all of the Amish for the living of their faith each day, also the love for the church and community and their sense of humor is precious. I agree, the ones in this show should do what their church requires in confessing their sins & asking forgiveness. I can’t imagine being estranged from my family like that. I wish them all the best & pray that they can find their way home and back to God.
I watched it and I felt incredibly sad. They are indeed lost in the world they are in now.
I have friends that left the Amish (I was raised Mennonite in Lancaster County) and they always have a hole in their heart. This seems to take them down a slippery slope. I also have lived in Sarasota and been able to see the alcohol abuse and for some drug abuse. I also have seen many get their lives together and have families but that hole is there….they miss their families.
I respect the Amish Community but I feel they need a revival and come face to face with a God that does not forsake His children and is a loving Heavenly Father. I have made mistakes and yes sinned but I always have had my earthy parents and extended family and their love brought me through. I also had a loving Heavenly Father that was always there for me….I confess my sins and He sure is “Faithful and Just to forgive my sins” and remember them no more. This is my hope for the cast of Breaking Amish”.
Now, I know this is a “reality” series, but if I were writing this show I could see a story arc that takes them through the struggles and existential crises in a second season leading to an eventual reunification and return (at least for some) to their home communities in a third.
Of course reality shows are never pre-scripted, are they?
Perhaps the characters are too far gone for that…but from what I have seen from various clips online I have a similar impression to you Donna.
where did they find these Amish?
I was wondering where they foound these 5 youg people..im assuming the producers didnt write an ad for the Budget or walk into communties asking people if they wanted to leave..so how did they find them and get them together? And now Abe’s mom and sister are leaving to find Abe and they are driving a camper..I thought Amish didnt drive?I really am confused and would like to know..please answer
I did not watch the first BA (only several minutes) and will not watch the second. In every culture and every denomination there are those who break away and choose another life style.
We know and have met many Amish people and as a whole, they are not at all like what is indicated in these programs. They are working within their own religious and spiritual lives much as the rest of us are. It seems that those who produce the show are trying to put a bad light on the Amish culture as a whole and that is not at all correct. Many people poke fun at the Amish because they dress differently, live differently, etc. but they live unto themselves and do not bother others about their way of life. It sickens me to see how these people are being exploited and used to “make a buck”.
As far as this Amish community in Sarasota, it seems as though they have fed into the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” theory. The ways of the world seem very bright until you are actually there.
Breaking Amish is not about the Amish as some seem to think.. Its about people who leave the Amish world for The Big City and the emotional crossroads they face when they leave everything & everyone they love behind.
I think its a pretty fair representation from what I’ve read in books on & by Amish who have left their communities.. They live in a limbo.. Not Amish but not English either. As someone mentioned, they always have that hole in their heart & in their life.
It is sad.. I completely agree, but I have hope they will find peace in their lives. I havent watched it yet but recorded it. I like the show because its a lesson in sociology, which I love.. and because the cast were raised Amish, which I love.. I dont fool myself that all Amish raised people who leave their communities are just like this.. but many who do, are.
I watched season one but will not be watching season two. These young people have fallen into the worst part of our world just as many of our young people do. Season one was sad and depressing. As it is with news and other programing they depict the tragedy because that is what viewers are drawn to, not the happy, positive events in life. Nascar is a case in point. Ticket sales dropped because of the absence of wrecks so they allowed more speed and lessened some of the safety restrictions in order to provide more “entertainment”. Our world is focused on others misfortune. How sad.
Just a few words, all the shows, including The Confession by Beverly Lewis, are so sad and mostly a nightmare to an Amish mother. I haven’t seen them, might give me too much heartache. Kids will do anything for money when they are rebelling. And I sooooo agree to the hole in their heart. The Amish are far from perfect, but such shows are such a bad light on us to the world. I have heard the Amish Mafia is totally disgusting, but maybe I am too verbal, we do confess our sins and believe in a loving Heavenly Father. These movies make us look cold and hard. When all is said and done, we are human and Amish and English have bad apples, right? I hope these movies stop.
Mary Yoder, I agree with you regarding Amish Mafia.. It was incredibly stupid and I only watched less than 5 minutes of it. It was enough.
I think most people realize that these shows are reality shows & are a “put on.” True, there may be some who dont know any difference, but I think most people do.
I totally agree 100% with Mary Yoder. Nothing more needs to be said.
Breaking Amish Season 2
I’m another who won’t be watching BA Season 2, because I watched 5 mins of the first one, and turned to another channel. I don’t care for reality (?) shows anyway — I’m sure Amish have the same downfalls as Englishers do, but why do we as a society have to make it “entertainment”?
Just call me Old Fashioned, but there are better programs on TV other than “reality” shows. Seems networks have lost their “creativity” these days.
I think the first season of this show benefited from the “shock value” of juxtaposing the peaceful and religious Amish with big-city problems and bad behavior. Hopefully, this format will grow tired in its second season: there simply is not as much to shock anyone now.
I like Linda Lewis’s comment – every culture and denomination has those who choose to “break away”. Nothing shocking about this. Just sad that a TV program focuses on a small number who after breaking away choose to over-indulge in one vice or another.
Ed you can probably see this reflected in the imagery from the second season–with the characters not in Amish clothing but in English garb.
Erick I would like for you to email me if you can because I need to ask you some questions if you don’t mind. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
George if they are general questions which could be of benefit to others go ahead and ask them here. If not my email is .
I agree with things that have been said above. The real sad truth to this matter is that we, the people, have reached a place that we strive on viewing the downfall of others. Amish or English alike, the behavior of these young people is so trashy! As a society, we need to change our ways, and put smut back in its place, and thats not in front of our faces on tv! I often worry for my amish friends, because I know main stream society does not want truth, only smut garbage like this thats on tv. As I always say, God please have mercy on America.
I wish I knew if this all was scripted. It well may be. That to me is wrong.
My heart is with any teen or young person that has lost their way and has rebellion in their heart. This is not just a ex-Amish thing but it touches all of us. We all have people in our lives that have lost their way. Our job is to love them without enabling them.
Shunning is a real issue and one that has always troubled me. Maybe I can share it this way….I am adopted and so for many years as a teen I felt lost and in a way shunned by my natural mother. It hurt and so I cut lose. But I had a dad and grandma I could always go home to and they prayed me through these tough times and loved me and I found my way back to God. It was their love that got me through it all. I just want that for these young kids.
Do I think I will watch the rest….I doubt it but I have added these people to my prayer list and will pray. That is all I know to do. I wonder what would happen if we all really pray for them…
What a great post Donna.. Isnt it wonderful to have a loving family who we know we can always go home to.
Im going to join you in praying for them.. I think its a wonderful idea.. I often pray for humanity at large, but focusing on them is even better! Lots of blessings to you & yours!
Don’t know if this kind of programs do any community good?
Have not seen season one, and don’t think i will see season 2.
Sometimes these kind of programs can lead other young people down roads of tv fame and so called fortune?
We have other simlar reallty show here in the uk, can’t say i would watch them evether, but they bring bad press and the younge folk that go on them just end up with so call fame and lost of money and lost of trouble. Shame that young folk today feel they need this kind of glory for themselfs. Will keep praying for the young of this day, even the young Amish are been pulled in.
Breaking Amish did not lead them astray...
I thought this was an interesting take, from one reader via the AA Facebook page comments:
It is sad but they can go back. The church will accept them. They will be on proving and have to confess. Most of them left the church way before the show. The show did not corrupt good kids what it really did is exploit adults that were already on a bad road.
I haven’t watched Breaking Amish because I’ve heard it is basically fake.
The main characters left the Amish years ago.
Here is a review by an ex-Amish person:
Last night I was talking with one of my church’s ministers (we are conservative Mennonite) and he mentioned something he had once heard from a community man: that it seems like when people break away from a conservative Christian setting, they tend to go even further out into the world than many people who have never been raised that way. In our experience that is sadly true, and we were discussing why. We decided that when you are raised in the “world” you do not really know any better than the life you are in, but when you have been raised on Amish or Mennonite values from little up, every choice you make in a worldly direction becomes a deliberate rejection of everything you have been taught is true and right. These people feel they have something to prove, they can make their own ways in life, while haunted by the continual nagging of their conscience that they KNOW better. But once you have gone down that road, it is very hard ever to go back. These young people (and all walking this path) need our prayers badly.
J.G., I think what you wrote was very insightful. At the risk of offending some former Amish, I must agree that, in my experience, a good number of those who choose to leave have a touch more of an independent nature usually, and sometimes simply an overall rebel mentality. I have asked some Am/Menn friends about those who have left in the past few years and they say that, almost without exception, you could see it coming. Many seemed to have issues all along with the “rules” and were often involved in the “bumps” that create problems in the church. Of course this surely is not always the case.
how where these kids found to be on the show?
Im pretty sure there was no ad run in the Budget or TV producers tramping through Amish communties..so where did they find them? how did it all come about?
Well, I’ve heard most of them had left the Amish before, so maybe they were specifically targeting former rather than current Amish.
I hadnt thought of that
The name of Alan Beiler has come up as a possible go-between, talent manager, or mastermind behind the Breaking Amish show.
It would be nice if they would change the category from reality to something like comedy or fiction or variety.
It’s good to pray for all involved. Maybe the cast could visit churches instead of bars.
breaking Amish 2
I agree they should stay out of the bars,none of them can control their drinking or behavior
This article is a few months old but it seems to give a good behind the scenes look at Alan Beiler’s involvement and the nature of production of the show:
‘Someone involved in the show, who had prior experience in reality series production, mentioned that the first season shooting of the production was unusual due to its hit-and-run nature. More than one source close to the original production referred to it as rushed – as if the producers did not know they had a hit in the making. Scenes were shot on the fly with little pre-planning. At one point a member of the production declared the show was over budget and announced to a group of extras that they would not be paid for any work going forward, a source, who had signed a nondisclosure agreement, revealed.
Included in the cast were several professional actors, the source said.
There did not appear to be a solid script involved in the production. The premise of each scene was explained to the actors, who were encouraged to improvise their own dialogue, the source said.
Everything was hush-hush during the production – with several of the actors not even being aware of the show’s title or premise at the time of filming.
“All they told us was that it was a documentary series for Discovery and it was based around the Amish community,” the source said.’