Breaking Amish

 
(i)

 

The reality of ex-Amish in NYC means drinking, sexy stuff.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights some of the struggles members of the Amish and Mennonite face when leaving their communities for a secular lifestyle.

Positive role models

Some cast members have a difficult time adjusting to their new lifestyle and some make poor choices due to lack of experience and guidance. Some of their parents throw their children out or shun them after hearing of their decision to leave; one parent travels to NYC to "rescue" her son from his decision.

Violence

Disagreements break out between the characters, but nothing violent.

Sex

Women are shown in bikinis and/or dancing provocatively. Some cast members struggle with the pressure to be sexual and some engage in sexual behavior. Words like "slut" and "balls" are frequent.

Language

Words like "crap," and "piss" are audible; curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking (beer, mixed drinks) and drunken behavior visible. One cast member has a DUI on her record.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Breaking Amish features some strong language ("crap," "piss," and bleeped "f--k"), as well as some sexual references, women in bikinis, and kissing. A few adults engage in some drunken behavior. Some viewers may be troubled by the decision of Amish/Mennonite parents to ask their kids to leave home and/or shun them because of their choice to leave their community. Also, there have been several claims that the "reality" depicted on this show is particularly false and crafted for entertainment rather than a true look into the lives of ex-Amish.

Kids say

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What's the story?

BREAKING AMISH is a reality series that follows five adult members of Amish and Mennonite communities who have chosen to leave their homes and experience a secular life in New York City. It stars 32-year old Jeremiah, who was adopted by an Amish family and dreams of driving for a living; 21-year-old Kate, the daughter of a bishop who wants to be a fashion model; 22-year-old Abe, who feels limited by his lack of education; and 20-year-old-Rebecca, who wants to explore the big city, but knows that her actions are breaking her aging grandfather's heart. Also joining them is Sabrina, a 25-year-old woman who was adopted by a Mennonite family, and who wants to learn about her Italian-Puerto Rican heritage and her biological parents. As the inexperienced group faces the multiple challenges and temptations that come with living among the non-Amish/Mennonite or "English" in the Big Apple, they must also come to grips with what it means to be permanently shunned from their families and friends.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Breaking Amish features the expected fish-out-of-water experiences that Amish and Mennonites often have when navigating the secular world, ranging from trying to find a job with a limited education to facing the temptation to drink and engage in sexual activity. Because their departure is not part of a rumspringa (a church-approved time when youth are free to leave their homes before fully committing to their faith), much of the focus is also on how they cope with the fact that they are no longer able to go home to the life and people they left behind.  

Breaking Amish succeeds in underscoring how these folks struggle with the sense of guilt and confusion they feel for wanting to break away from the subculture they grew up in, but the show's dramatic reality style makes the cast's disapproving family and friends appear simply unreasonable or narrow-minded, without fully putting their reactions into a cultural and religious context. Some of the cast's desire to fully enjoy the freedoms of their new lifestyle lead them to make some questionable choices, too. The series is interesting, but it might leave you feeling conflicted about the various events that are featured here.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history of the Amish and the Mennonites in the United States. What is the significance behind the choice they make to live apart from the secular world? Why are the punishments so strong when members of their communities choose to leave?

  •  

  • How does the media portray members of faith-based subcultures, like the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites? Do you think the media portrays these communities accurately? What are some of the stereotypes that exist about their communities and cultural/religious practices?

TV details

Network:TLC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Breaking Amish was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 October 15, 2012
 

breaking amish

Families can talk about the history of the Amish and the Mennonites in the United States. What is the significance behind the choice they make to live apart from the secular world? Why are the punishments so strong when members of their communities choose to leave? How does the media portray members of faith-based subcultures, like the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites? Do you think the media portrays these communities accurately? What are some of the stereotypes that exist about their communities and cultural/religious practices?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 5, 6, 7, and 11 year old Written byAnEpicGuy December 4, 2012
 

Dissapointing

Most shows that I find out about come from my crazy sister. As usual, banned from my house.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bywonderwoman9515 February 16, 2013
 

breaking amish is breaking bad!

while as an adult show it has alot of value and entertainment it sends a very negative message. these kids have ran away from there problems instead of facing them, they get fully entrapped in the American capitalist culture and enjoy blowing their money irresponsibily, drinking,fighting, having secret sex, eating junk food, getting tattoos in spur of the moment decesions. its extremley sexest and features negative representation of alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and rash marital decesions veiw at your own descrestion and dont let your kids watch this show
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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