What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Vanilla Ice Goes Amish is a construction-themed reality series, but offers some positive messages about finding common ground between different cultures and respecting differences. It's pretty mild, but on occasion the word "hell" is used and some Amish folks smoke tobacco pipes.
What's the story?
The reality series VANILLA ICE GOES AMISH stars handyman Robert Van Winkle, a.k.a. the rapper known as Vanilla Ice, as he immerses himself in an Amish community and works with the residents on a variety of construction projects. The singer settles himself in Holmes County, Ohio, which is home to the largest Amish settlement in the United States. While he lives, works, and socializes with his hosts, he learns about the various building techniques that go into the high-quality craftsmanship the Amish are known for. Meanwhile, the Amish builders take an interest in some of his design advice. When he's not building, Vanilla helps out doing other things, like sheep shearing and cow milking, and learns more about the communities' cultural practices and traditions. They come from different worlds, but as they work along side each other, both Vanilla and his new Amish counterparts discover that they actually do have a lot of things in common.
Is it any good?
Vanilla Ice Goes Amish combines building projects with a "fish out of water" story by featuring the colorful rapper learning from and interacting with a community that is known for its conservative values. But the focus is on what Vanilla Ice and his hosts have in common, including a love for building and a commitment to helping people. Brief details about how Amish builders are able to work with Mennonite and English (non-Amish) clients while adhering to their cultural practices are also interesting.
It's a little contrived, and the show's focus on construction won't appeal to everyone, but the rapper's silly antics (including redecorating his very own own Amish buggy) and his new Amish friends' willingness to joke around with him, adds a bit of fun. But it's Vanilla Ice's energy, and the respect he demonstrates towards this Ohio community, that makes the overall show surprisingly positive.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why Vanilla Ice is choosing to spend time in this Amish community as part of a reality show. Is the goal to really learn and teach? Or is it to get some attention? Are the interactions between the rapper and the members of the Amish community he is working with real?
What is the history of the Amish in the United States? Why do they choose to live without electricity and other modern conveniences? How does the media portray the Amish? What are some of the stereotypes that exist about them? Do you think this show challenges some of these generalizations?