A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Return to Amish, a spin-off of the Breaking Amish reality franchise, contains lots of the expected drama and mature themes. Arguing and yelling among cast members is frequent and are often sparked by accusations of inappropriate sexual relationships. Pregnancy and single motherhood are major themes, and some of the cast members have been in and out of jail.
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What's the story?
RETURN TO AMISH features the original cast of Breaking Amish as they continue negotiating the secular world. After returning from Florida, Mary Schmucker decides to throw a holiday celebration for her Amish and English friends. Along with her husband Chester, they bring together sons Andrew and Abe, as well as Abe's wife Rebecca and Jeremiah, Sabrina, and Kate, who has remained in New York City to pursue her modeling career. Also joining them is Abe and Andrew's sister Katie Ann, who has returned to the Amish life, and Chapel, Andrew's English girlfriend. Lots of things have changed among the cast, but somehow old wounds are opened, and lots of drama is created, all of which leads to new conflicts and adventures. But throughout it all, they somehow remind each other that they are still, in their own unique way, family.
Is it any good?
Return to Amish contains all the drama one has come to expect from the franchise, from bitter arguments about previous relationships to coping with life changes such as motherhood. Some of the tensions among family members who are still a part of the Amish community, and among the ex-Amish and ex-Mennonite cast, also are featured.
As with its sister show, Return to Amish contains lots of scenes designed to humorously highlight the divide between the Amish world and the English world. But most of these seem staged, and overall it's hard to take the show seriously. Fans of the franchise will enjoy it, but it doesn't particularly contain a lot of positive messages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes subcultures such as the Amish and Mennonites interesting subjects for reality television. Is it the members' decision to live apart from the secular world that makes them interesting or significant to others?
What is the history of the Amish, the Mennonites, and other faith-based subcultures in the United States? Is the way the media portrays them an accurate reflection of who they are and what their history in America is? Do they rely on and reinforce stereotypes? Or are they creating them?
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