Amish in the City Recap 8/4/04 –A Lot of Horsing Around
As this week’s episode begins, we are immediately reminded about the overhanging hostility we were left with at the end of the first episode. It’s obvious that members of both sides (Amish and non-Amish) are more comfortable staying with their own group, and that there are still issues that need to be worked out between them. We see a pretty odd example of lack of hygiene when Reese complains about something in the bathroom. Someone apparently left some toilet paper on the floor right under the roll and didn’t pick it up. I’m not exactly sure how someone could do that and why they’d be inclined to do it. Did someone underestimate the rotating speed of the roll, and when faced with having extra toilet paper to deal with, ripped off and let it fall where it may? I don’t know, but it looks pretty bad. Anyhow, Randy knows he’s suspect #1 and promptly gives everyone the “it wasn’t me but I’ll pick it up” routine, which basically means it was him and he’ll just go ahead and pick it up.
Next Stop: Manure
A new message arrives through the tube and Mose reads it to Nick in a monotone voice. What’s funny about this scene is that Nick shows us his “What’s going on? I don’t like what I’m hearing” face with his raised eyebrows and half-open mouth, but Mose just keeps reading and reading and Nick is forced to maintain that face for the entire drawn-out message. Everyone is informed that they have to take a city bus to go to an equestrian center and the Amish kids seem to gather that the city kids aren’t very thrilled about it. While on the bus, Randy informs us that he’s never seen the “ropes on the side of the bus” before, which is likely since he’s probably never been in a bus before.
Once at the center, the Amish kids are enthusiastic about the opportunity to show the city kids some of the things they deal with as Amish people. Nick overreacts yet again and spits, coughs and screams his way through his horse manure cleaning duty. Everyone is divided into groups and Ariel decides she will be her group’s observer as Jonas, Kevan, and Ruth mix food for the horses. Randy Reese and Mose are in charge of combing the horses. Jonas teaches some of the guys how to saddle up the horses but it look like the city kids aren’t taking very well to dealing with the horses, and the two sides don’t bond during this outing.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
On the way back from the center, Reese and Whitney get into a heated argument about cleaning up. The city kids think the Amish kids don’t clean up, and the Amish kids don’t think they’re all that bad at cleaning up. As Reese is obviously in the middle of an argument, her voice-over reminds us that she has seen arguments but has never been in one. Ruth and Miriam seem pretty pissed off about the situation and a heated confrontation between Ruth and Whitney results with both sides just screaming at each other. Now I don’t know about you, but I think that if this is as bad as it gets – arguing over cleaning up some underwear here and some toilet paper there – it can’t be all that bad. I think this is just a clash of two groups that was bound to come up and that cleaning up is just the catalyst to it all.
Mose approaches the situation rationally and asks Whitney if she believes that if the Amish actually cleaned up after themselves, that there wouldn’t be any more problems. Both Reese and Whitney respond with “I don’t know” which is a sign that the real problem probably isn’t cleaning up, but lack of compatibility between the two groups. Nick having fun laughing all the conflict and isn’t ashamed by it in the least. This currently conflict seems to have no resolution for now, and Ruth is left saying that the other kids don’t know what it’s like to be Amish. This may be true but I really don’t think she’s having problems because she’s Amish as much as because she’s in an easily identifiable “different” group and is sometimes treated as an outsider. I’m sure she and her Amish friends do the same to the city kids (though I imagine to a smaller degree) so I’m not exactly sure she’s a true victim.
A Wall of Silence
Another issue in the house seems to be Randy’s silence. He just doesn’t talk much. Maybe it’s because he feels insecure about his voice or teeth, or maybe he could careless about either one, I’m not sure – he hasn’t told me. In any case, Ariel has a problem with it and confronts Randy about it. She tells him “This is reality – right now, right here. Be real. This is your one opportunity...” which sounds either like some sort of generic motivational speech or Eminem lyrics. Randy replies with eloquent silence and that only frustrates Ariel more. I have trouble understanding Ariel’s feelings about this one. True, it would be interesting to hear more from Randy and what he thinks of his experience, but I would only view that as a plus. If the man feels he doesn’t want to talk, it’s too bad, but it’s his choice. I think any frustration rising from his silence would be misplaced.
Mose tells us he hasn’t had a problem communicating with Randy but I’m sure this is mostly due to his sincerity and likeability, something that is lacking in some of the city kids. Meagan and Ariel confront him in front of everyone else and ask him to open up, but Randy just doesn’t respond. Nick offers Randy a fallacious argument: he proposes Randy should open his mouth and defend himself but that would defeat the purpose of Randy’s silent treatment. Randy then shares with us that he felt about an inch tall when he was confronted, that he’s a quiet guy and didn’t know what to say. This pretty much makes the city kids look bad for demanding something that isn’t in Randy’s nature. He’s quiet – let him be.
Is That You, Reese?
The tension is apparently subsiding in the house. Reese tells us “Every time fights happen, there’s a positive outcome. And since then everything is cool.” That statement gives us some insight into Reese’s personality. I think the best adjective I can find or Reese is “catty.” Reese then proposes everyone at the house to come with him to volunteer at a center for the mentally handicapped. He tells us he’s done it since he was eight and that it’s his true passion. I’m having trouble reconciling his past behavior and what appears to be a new caring side, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Jonas says that he is kind of scared of going for an interesting reason. His father repeatedly called him “stupid” as he was growing up, and ever since, Jonas has wanted to prove to others that he was not stupid. However, this situation also resulted in Jonas having a phobia of an accident that would result in him being mentally handicapped. Nick decides he’s not going for one of the most honest and self-aware reasons I’ve ever heard anyone say. He knows how childishly he would react to mentally handicapped people, and as a result decides that it would be in everyone’s interest if he didn’t go. His childishness has so much control over him, he himself has trouble estimating its power and would rather not put himself in a situation where it would run amok. Kudos to him, I think.
Once at the center, Reese shows everyone some trust exercises. He falls backwards, trusting the person behind him to catch him. Others do the same and it looks like everyone is having fun – both the mentally handicapped and the roommates. Mose points out the discrepancy in Reese’s behavior and I am not totally understanding why Reese couldn’t be nicer in the house, when it’s obvious he knows how to.
Dinner and Tough Choices
After 3 weeks in L.A., the Amish kids decide to go to church and Ariel comes along. Mose seems to not be really feeling it, while Ruth likes it a lot. Mose might be exaggerating a bit when he explains to us that he was disappointed that the L.A. church was all about the money. He definitely dislikes it though, and tells us that he is misses the Amish more now than he has since he’s been here. While the Amish kids are listening to sermons however, it looks like things are heating up back at the house. Kevan and Meagan are heavily flirting with each other and are hinting at some possible sparks in the future.
Down the pipe falls another message and the roommates find out that they get a chance to know another roommate intimately by going out to dinner in groups of twos (and one group of three). Nick, Meagan, and Miriam are enjoying Mexican food while Jonas and Ariel talk about coffee. Mose asks Reese what pasta is and Reese decides to explain by telling him about the different types of pasta rather than what pasta actually is. Listing “Blah blah blah pasta” as a possible type of pasta, Reese does a terrible job. Elsewhere, Whitney and Randy are having a rather…you guessed it, “quiet” dinner. Ruth discovers “fajitos” with Kevan and is enjoying the food.
Jonas and Ariel get into a discussion about Amish education. Jonas reminds Ariel about a misconception he’s noticed in the non-Amish – that many of them think the Amish aren’t intelligent. He points out that education stops at the 8th grade for the Amish and that he knows many Amish that could have become scientists, lawyers and doctors had they had the right education. He shares with Ariel that he wishes he had gone to high school and played on a baseball or football team. I really feel bad about hearing someone so young already have regrets about not being able to do things he wanted to do. Though it’s obvious Jonas wants an education and the chance at competing in sports, his family and possibly his faith (I’m still unsure about his feelings regarding the church) are not compatible with it. I suppose this is his time to reflect on this choice, but I feel bad that he even has to make it. Back at the house, Jonas continues his discussion about his hopes for more education with Whitney. She recommends he get a GED and there is some confusion with Jonas about just what a GED is. Whitney tells him it’s a high school diploma and recommends he take that route in case he doesn’t return to the Amish.
Miriam's inner turmoil concerns lifestyle and what being a “good Christian” means to her. While growing up, she was always told that one must be Amish to be a truly good Christian but she disagreed with that assessment. However, she tells us that she believes her life is in God’s hands, and that a decision regarding continuing being Amish will be made for her through God.
The Secret To Racing On A Bouncy Ball
Reese point out no one has “hooked up” in the house yet, but that Meagan and Kevan are the most likely prospects for changing that. At night, we are treated with high technology night-vision footage of Meagan joining Kevan in bed. There’s some holding, but nothing really seems to happen. The next morning, we find out through Meagan and Kevan that nothing happened last night, and that they “seriously” didn’t do anything. Maybe the Amish are rubbing off on them.
Another message tells everyone to head to Hollywood Park to see the horse races. They get a tour through the stables, and meet Mike Smith, a hall-of-fame jockey. Miriam is surprised that the horses she’s only used for transportation all her life can also be used for betting. Mike Smith then brings the roommates to some sort of training device that simulates horse riding and as Kevan tries it out, and wildly pushes and pulls on it, Reese seems to enjoy the sight and doesn’t turn down the chance to tell us about it. Everyone goes to the betting booth, and Kevan, Mose, Jonas and Miriam bets on Mike. We’re then treated to an entertaining horse race with an exciting comeback by Mike Smith from third to first. Everyone takes a picture with Mike and spend the rest of the day having fun at Hollywood Park. That evening, all the roommates are led off to the actual track, given blue bouncy balls, and told to race each other. Everyone has fun and Randy wins the race by a nose. Randy gives us an in-depth analysis of his strategy: “I think one of the reasons why I won, was because I figured out just how to hop on my ball and how to keep it right under my ass. So I think that was to my advantage.”
A Good Ending
Everyone then heads to a hip hop concert featuring Arrested Development. Again, all the roommates are having fun and it looks like the Amish and city kids are somewhat bonding again. Even though Mose admits he doesn’t know how to dance, he says that it’s the most fun he’s had since being in L.A. Apparently, it then becomes time to grill Mose on his knowledge of non-Amish music, and everyone has a fun time laughing at how he doesn’t know Bob Marley and how he refers to Reggae as a “dude”. I suppose the laughing is all in fun, but I don’t like seeing people laughing at someone else’s expense, even if that person doesn’t care that much. So far, all the Amish kids are glad they are having this experience, and the episode ends on a good note.
Seeing moments like the last 15 minutes of the episode gives me doubts about just how bad it really gets in the house with all the arguments and misunderstanding. All in all, everyone is having a good time, and little quips such as Randy’s silence or Ruth’s underwear left lying around look relatively minor compared to the fun times everyone can have together. I foresee some more conflicts arising between Whitney and Ruth and maybe even Randy and Nick. Reese has stopped his advances towards Kevan and is content just letting him go. Out of all the Amish kids, Mose appears to be the one most prone to returning to the Amish community, while Miriam the least. Finally, I would be interested to see some inner-Amish issues or conflicts develop in the next few episodes, especially about what behavior would be considered over the line, even for Rumspringa.
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