Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Is it just me?

It's still generally considered to be bad taste to exploit a minority group for the purposes of entertainment, right?  Apparently UPN doesn't think so.  The latest coil in "reality" tv's downward spiral is a little offering called "Amish in the City".  Now, the way the show's producers are presenting it, it seems reasonable enough.  The Amish believe in a coming-of-age experience called "Rumspringa" in which their young people, when they turn 16, are encouraged to get out an see the world.  This way they can know what they are giving up if they make the commitment to live out the Amish way of life.  An honorable tradition, if ever there is one.  The official website for the show states "The show will follow the stories of five Amish young adults (three men, two women) and their six roommates from diverse backgrounds (three men, three women) as they come to Los Angeles and learn to live with each other in an ultra-modern Hollywood Hills home."  Sounds harmless right? 
 
First problem:  The idea of Rumspringa is for these young adults to experience what life would be like if they weren't Amish.  I think we have proven time and time again that "reality television" has no connection whatsoever to actual reality.  This show is influencing the biggest decision these young people may ever have to make by presenting them with a totally false world view.
 
Second problem:  Meet the cast!  We have your typical Amish young people -- Jonas, Miriam, Mose, Randy and Ruth, and then we have their "city-dweller" roommates -- Ariel, Kevan, Meagan, Nick, Reese and Whitney.  (has anyone else noticed that the Amish are outnumbered?)  I don't think I would call these roommates in any way typical or normal.  Check out the little bios for these folks.  I hope the Amish half of the cast doesn't mistake this group as a representation of average American society. 

Then there's the fact that at least one member of the cast has already been baptized.  In the Amish tradition, once you're baptized, if you decide to leave you are completely cut off.  Your family and friends aren't allowed any contact with you whatsoever.  Can you imagine the heartache the guy's poor mother is going through? 

I guess I should no longer be surprized by anything the networks have to offer, but come on -- this is awful, even for them!


5 comments:

The Moose said...

This is why I do not watch UPN, or any so called "reality TV".

Daibebtates said...

I totally agree. I think that Reality TV needs a reality check..they need to check out other cultures before they go exploiting them.
There is a large Amish population near where I live and I know that once they leave their parents totally cut them off..so I think that if I were to have to leave my family like that I had better be sure that I had someone to be with before I went leaving the only thing I have ever known. Maybe I'm just one of those people that needs to have the knowledge that someone is caring for me and has my back.
I also agree that the impression that these other roommates are the representing the general population of the US...they need to be a bit more normal...I think if I were Amish I would have been sacred already.

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