Amish in the City Recap 7/28/04 - Sock To The Face, Cows Come From Space
Hello, and welcome to the premiere of Amish in the City! Here’s the concept: five Amish young adults and six city dwelling young adults are thrown together in a house and will live with each other in Los Angeles. The Amish are a religious group who have chosen to stay relatively secluded from main society and will not use conveniences such as automobiles and telephones. The show’s voice-over is telling me that they don’t use electricity either, but I think they made a mistake. How else would they be able to watch TV?
Anyhow, this group offers an interesting rite of passage to its late teens. They’re allowed to explore modern society and are given quite a bit of leeway in this exploration. This ritual is called Rumspringa and the Amish teens will eventually pick whether they want to stay in the Amish community or live the wild life with the rest of us. That’s one self confident religious group.
The Five Amish Young Adults:
Ruth: She is 20 years old and lives in Ohio. She is the oldest girl of 13 children, grew up on an 80 acre farm and has a boyfriend named Marvin.
Jonas: He is 18 years old, and grew up on a farm in Iowa. He seems to have an open mind as he tells us that he doesn’t know whether Rumspringa will make him stay with the Amish or not, but that he’ll learn something either way.
Miriam: She is 21 years old and grew up in Ohio. She’s looking forward to the experience. She seems sensible and is looking forward to Rumspringa.
Randy: He is 24 years old and grew up in Montgomery, Indiana on an 80 acre farm. He’s single and looking. This guy is well built but once he opens his mouth, you can notice two things: what appears to be a missing tooth and a really nasal voice. Anyhow, he also seems like a reasonable guy with an open mind.
Mose: He is 24 years old and he too grew up on a farm! Mose is an inventor, which probably means he’s just checking out the stuff we’ve already invented and showing them to the Amish for recognition. He actually decided to take his own Rumspringa as he wasn’t given that opportunity when he was younger. His monotone voice almost puts me to sleep but I am awakened at the prospect of meeting…
The Sinful City Dwellers:
Whitney: She is an 18 year old from South Central, Los Angeles. She’s proud of being the first member of her family to go to college and seems to have a close relationship with her mom. She immediately tells us that if you don’t like her, she won’t like you back. I suppose that’s fair.
Kevan: He is 22 years old and from Las Vegas. He immediately dispels the apparently popular notion that all Las Vegas moms are strippers. He’s a swimming instructor for kids and is looking forward to the experience.
Meagan: She is 22 and from Los Angeles. She’s a freelance fashion stylist and is the ultimate party girl. She has no commitments and is ready to party.
Reese: He is from Harrisburg Mississippi and moved to Hollywood 2 years ago. He’s gay and tells us he can’t tolerate people who can’t accept somebody for who they are.
Ariel: She is 19 years old and from Topanga, California. She is vegan, which means she also comes from Vegas. No, it actually means she eats no meat products whatsoever (including eggs and milk).
Nick: He is 21 years old and comes from Boston. Uh oh, I’m getting a bad feeling about this guy. He’s the kind of guy that chuckles at just how cool he is, which means he’s not very cool. He’s a busboy and plays the guitar.
As the city kids arrive to the house one by one, they greet each other and seem to like both the house and each other. They have no idea that they’ll be living with anyone Amish even though the ultra modern house they’re in is extensively decorated with Amish artwork. They seem to be getting along great, but the viewers are reminded by the painting of an Amish farm scene on the wall behind them, that their worlds will be soon be turned upside down…or that they’ll at least be totally freaked out.
Soon, the Amish kids arrive, ring the doorbell and patiently wait in front of the door. The city kids decide they shouldn’t open the door until everyone gets to jump around and take a peak at the Amish kids who smile in that “Hahaha, very funny now open the door you impolite little twerps” way. They’re eventually let in, as Ariel shares with us that she honestly thought those were her neighbors who were “Mormon or something.” Eventually, everyone meets up, but the Amish kids are still confronted with questions such as “You guys seriously dress like this? It’s not like - a joke?” and “Did you bring other clothes? That’s the main concern.”
The host for this show is reduced to its most efficient form: a pipe that drops written messages for the roommates. It tells the roommate that it’s time to pick what beds they’ll sleep in. The beds are very tightly packed into two bedrooms. Nick continues to freak out. First he was freaking out at the show in general, then at the Amish, and now at the bed-picking. He finds out he gets the smaller bedroom with three Amish people and as he overreacts yet again, Miriam says “We’re freaking aliens, yeah!” So far, it seems the city kids are completely oblivious to their own reactions to the Amish. It’s like they feel they get a free pass at being jerks merely because the others are different. Either they’re not self-aware or they just plain don’t care. I suspect the latter.
Nick thinks he can fix it all up by telling Jonas “When we make fun of Amish people, we’re not making fun of you personally.” Yeah Nick, make sure you tell them to their face that they shouldn’t take offense to you making fun of their society and way of life.
Mose Gets A Shave
It’s time for the Amish kids to put their regular clothes on and we get a great sound byte from Ariel: “I think I was more willing to accept them as people when they got out of their Amish clothes.” She’s superficial and loving it! Later on that night, Randy learns what an avocado is as Mose asks Nick if he likes playing puzzles (which he does not). Mose nevertheless shows everyone his beano stick. This works by rubbing it with…Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter! A beano stick is a wooden stick with ridges and a propeller at the end. If you rub it with another stick, the propeller starts spinning and if you say “beano” as you rub the stick, it will start spinning in the other direction. The city kids respond to this by shaving Mose’s hairy chest, which he good-naturedly agrees to doing.
The Sock Incident
The next morning, everyone makes breakfast and Ariel is having trouble watching others mix eggs and milk (which she calls cow puss) in the blender. Reese doesn’t really seem to actually care about Ariel’s concern and he asks her questions about her diet as he grinds these eggs and cow puss together in the blender. Jonas has no idea how the dishwasher works and asks an Amish roommate, Miriam, to push the right buttons which she apparently does. Is there something she’s not telling us about just how Amish she is?
Randy decides to take a swim in the pool as Meagan gawks at his body. Meanwhile, Kevan is training Reese who seems to be enjoying it quite a lot. The feeling does not appear to be reciprocated, and it seems Reese will be hitting a wall soon with Kevan. How will Reese react? Well it’s coming up soon.
The tubular host sends down another message: You’re hitting the town tonight! They ride a stretched limo down the LA freeways to the top of a building. There, they check out the LA skyline and the city kids appear to enjoy it as much as the Amish kids. Ariel tells us she would be saddened if she were Amish and was seeing the skyline because of the concrete and steel replacement of green pastures, while her Amish roommates seem to be liking it just fine. Everyone then heads down to a Japanese restaurant where Mose leads everyone in prayer. Ruth tries to eat sushi with the “wooden things” and everyone is having a good time but Reese is a little stressed and has his sights on Kevan. He tells Ariel that he doesn’t think Kevan is gay, just “curious.” There’s a difference between thinking he’s curious and hoping he’s curious, Reese.
Back at the house, frustration seems to set in as Reese keeps making advances on Kevan which are all promptly denied. The situation culminates in violence when Kevan, tired of Reese’s attitude, tells him something negative about his feet. Reese, in a show of indignation, throws a sock at Kevan. I was ready to yell “SOCK FIGHT!” but Kevan broke the rules and just pushed Reese and tried to drag him into the pool. Kevan eventually backs off and everyone decides to just go to sleep.
Lincoln Wasn’t Assassinated
The next morning, Kevan and Reese resume training together when – Wait what? They’re friends again? I was hoping for some sort of longer lasting conflict in the house. Heck, even awkwardness would do, but Reese tells us that fight “just made them stronger.” Hmm, ok. Ariel finds out she is going shopping today and asks everyone to tell her what they’d like and that hopefully she’d remember it. You see Ariel, we have something called a “shopping list” where you write down a list of what people want so you won’t have to remember it. From her attitude though, it looks like she doesn’t even want to remember such items as “boneless chicken breasts” even though I don’t think anyone will force her to eat them.
Eventually, Mose, Miriam and Ariel go shopping! This show is intense! Miriam and Mose see new fruits and vegetables and eventually get to the dairy section where Ariel reluctantly agrees to grab some cheese. She takes a stand at the eggs though, and Mose tells her he bets Abraham Lincoln had some eggs. Random comment, but probably true. She replies with “Yeah and I’ll bet he died at like 35” If Ariel was a historian, I think she would be more of a revisionist.
Back in the house, Reese and Whitney enter the sauna but Ruth isn’t quite ready to join them yet. As the shopping group comes back, the roommates realize that Ariel’s shopping restrictions would have to result in them just making spaghetti. Ruth shares with us an interesting insight about the mood swings the city kids have where one second they’re happy and the next they’re not, and how she isn’t used to that. I must admit I’ve noticed the same thing about both groups.
The Roommates So Far:
Ruth is still a little bit apprehensive about both dealing with the city kids and the amenities of the city life. Jonas is the most wary of the Amish roommates and has already shown dislike (oftentimes, rightfully so) at the attitudes of the city kids. Miriam has adapted unbelievably fast, and both dresses and acts like a non-Amish girl. Randy isn’t very talkative and sits on the sideline most of the show. I like Mose best out of all the Amish roommates. He has an interesting combination of innocence and wittiness that I had never previously seen in anyone.
Whitney seems very pessimistic and appears to be bracing for an upcoming conflict between the roommates. Kevan seems like a nice guy, but nevertheless shares this close-mindedness regarding the Amish with his other city roommates. I had initial reservations about Meagan but she seems to be open and good-natured. Reese has a real attitude problem - half the time he’s bashing someone in particular, the other half he’s just mean-spirited to everyone. Ariel imposes her vegan habits on others a little too much and also has shown problems accepting the Amish kids, but she is fairly outgoing. Nick is an ass. He apparently enjoys laughing at others.
Oh ya? Well where do you think cows come from?
Jonas recognizes that he and Mose have no fashion sense and everyone goes out to shop for clothes. Reese furiously picks out clothes for Jonas as Meagan and Miriam go shopping with Mose. Meanwhile, Ruth checks out an art galley with the rest of the roommates and shares with us how she enjoys art and would have liked to have seen more of it in the past. Back in the house, Mose gives everyone a fashion show and everyone is having a great time. We are then shown a segment about Randy’s failure to clean up after himself in the kitchen. This segment reminds us that Randy is still actually living in the house so I suppose that there’s some value to it.
Ruth then gets a swimming lesson from Kevan and it’s really nice to see Ruth finally learn to swim but I must admit that I am starting to nod off. What better way to wake me up than showing me some gossip about the Amish girls’ boyfriends! Ruth’s boyfriend is nicknamed Snoopy and she really misses him, and we find out Miriam dated Randy previously. The reason they broke up, Miriam tells us, is that Randy went into some room and made out with an ugly ass Amish girl. I wonder if the fact that she was ugly put her over the top. By the way, is it normal for an Amish girl such as Miriam to say things like “ugly ass.” Maybe it is, or maybe she picked it up from the sinful city kids. Randy’s side of the story is that he realized he couldn’t marry her and that there was no point in going on. This results in an awkward relationship between the two within the house.
Mose decides to try the hot tub and as he realizes the bubbles are being trapped in his swimming trunks, he just takes them off. Not to worry, he was wearing underwear beneath and the montage ends with Ariel noting that Mose swims the same way he walks which is actually quite true.
Later on, Ariel shares with Miriam and Nick that she believes cows come from outer space. Nick completely flips out as if his very life is in danger and furiously argues that cows are not from outer space, they’re just not! He then proceeds to hammer the point home by rolling on the floor, laughing at how ridiculous her statement is.
Baywatch: Amish Patrol
Another message gets sent down through the host and the roommates discover that they’re going to get a visit from the Red Cross to learn CPR and water safety! Now I think this is the part where I actually dozed off. I had this bizarre dream where Randy Quaid from Kingpin paid the house a visit and picked up 7-10 splits while Harrison Ford from Witness hid among the roommates donning Amish attire. I woke up to the Red Cross telling everyone they’re going to the beach tomorrow.
The girls go shopping for bathing suits and we find out Ruth has always looked forward to going to the beach and is really excited about it. They arrive at Huntington Beach, and Mose and Ruth really love the experience. They both get emotional about it and while Ruth is happy just walking around, Mose decides to venture out into the deeper water. He and Ariel swim out and it becomes immediately apparent that Mose is having trouble staying up. We see a lifeguard head out to Mose but it looks like Ariel handles it well and swims back to shore with him. Once on the beach, Mose emotionally tells everyone he was that close to drowning while Whitney compassionately tells him to chill out and sit his ass down.
Mose cries a little on the beach and ponders how close he came to dying when a lifeguard volunteers to bring him back out to the water safely so that he might immediately conquer his newfound fear of the ocean. Mose is still emotional about his experience on the ride back and the city roommates decide to comfort him by laughing at him as Kevan gives them a mocking Mose impression. I hope the Amish roommates don’t think all the “city folks” are asses like that, because I and those around me would certainly not laugh at someone like that, especially in front of that person. At night, Mose reads the bible (in German) and reflects on his current experience and what that means to him religiously.
Trouble In Amish Paradise
The next day, the city roommates receive a package containing Amish clothes and a note telling them to put the clothes on. Ariel actually looks great in her Amish clothes and everyone is having fun putting on the clothes, but they're told they'll have to walk around in public with them on. They eventually head down to a go-cart race track and receive a lot of curious looks from the people there. Everyone has fun on the track but on the way back, Miriam shows she’s still a little bitter about her previous relationship with Randy and has a rather one sided argument with him.
Randy’s cleaning up problem comes up again and Nick and Randy have a little flare up over it. Meanwhile, Ruth is watching the city kids complain about cleaning up the kitchen (though I’m not sure if their disapproval concerning cleaning up was directed at all the Amish kids or only Randy) and cleaning up in the bathroom. The first Amish roommates vs. City roommates conflict seems to be building up as she shares her feelings with Jonas (while she smokes a cigarette – I suppose she can do whatever she likes during Rumspringa) and Jonas confronts the city roommates about it. Whitney, who’s been getting ready for such a situation since the beginning of the show jumps at the chance to tell Jonas that if he’s got a problem, to come out and say it.
Here Whitney makes a very odd point about how it is necessary that people talk behind other people’s backs regardless of whether they care about each other or not. That’s what happens when you live in the city, she says. That’s news to me. I suppose it is inevitable that there be grievances between the roommates during their stay, but there’s no need to hide it from them. The show finally ends on a sour note and we wonder how this first conflict between the two groups will be resolved. See you next week for next episode’s recap!
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