Amish in the City Recap 9/01/04 – The Persian Connection
This week’s show opens in an interesting way. We see everyone having fun, but it’s obvious the fun is being had within two distinct groups. Kevan helps Jonas study for his GED, while the city kids are outside doing what they do best: making fun of others. The city kids are not with Kevan and it’s obvious Kevan is now part of the Amish group. The tension is mounting and, as always, a confrontation finally arises. That evening, Kevan tells everyone that “the respect factor has gone way down in this house.” He is obviously fishing for a discussion (or something worse), and is immediately confronted by Meagan and Reese. Kevan then gives them something to chew on: he tells them he always has to have the last word. Meagan explains to him that maybe it’s because he’s Persian. She says that Persian men are very controlling and try to down talk women at all times. Meagan shares with us that she thinks Kevan has nothing genuine about him and she knows he doesn’t even know who he is. Kevan then makes an argument that if she had said what she had said about black or Mexican men, it would have been considered racist, and that he therefore considers her statements racist. I don’t know about racist (since she made a statement about his culture rather than his race), but it’s very likely a prejudiced and over generalized statement.
I’m Half Pissed By Your Half Truths
That night Kevan and Nick have a conversation on the patio. Nick tells Kevan that the women think Kevan is “ragging on them” just because they’re women. Kevan explains to Nick that Meagan thinks it’s because he’s Persian and then does something interesting: he lies about the fact that he’s Persian. He tells Nick that his step dad is Persian and that her argument falls apart as a result. Another reason he lies, is to apparently test Nick’s honesty by wanting to see if he will spread that information around. Kevan assures us, the viewers, that he his natural dad was born in Tehran, Iran and that he is half Persian.
The next day, we see Nick with a silly grin on his face. As Kevan swims in the pool, he approaches him and, in front of others, asks him if he has a step-dad, and if he’s the Persian one. Nick obviously did this to show to others that he thinks Kevan is a liar (since at the beginning of the show, Kevan shared with everyone that he was half Persian). The way I view this situation is that Kevan shouldn’t have lied about his dad. I’m sure the first reason for his lying was to prove Meagan wrong about her “Persian men are controlling” theory. The secondary effect of his lie (to test Nick’s honesty) ended up working all too well. I’m not sure if Kevan asked Nick not to share the information he gathered on the patio, but even if he didn’t, there are some things that are implicitly confidential. When you’re out on the patio with someone else at night and you’re telling him personal things about your family life, it should be understood that he shouldn’t tell anyone else unless you make it obvious you don’t have a problem with it. Nick went the gossipy way out, and just did the standard “us vs. you” routine where Kevan is put against the rest of the city kids.
Tube mail arrives and everyone finds out they’re going to be exploring the many cultures that exist in their own backyard. Their first destination: the Middle East. It turns out Nick is half Lebanese, and is now under the impression he is the only one in the house with any Middle Eastern descent. It apparently pisses him off that Kevan is faking his Middle Eastern descent. They arrive at “Cairo Carnival” where all the house guests look at various items and outfits. The girls try out the Middle Eastern outfits while Mose and Jonas try to figure out how to smoke out of an incense holder. The Kevan/Nick conflict that has obviously been brewing for some time now finally comes to a head when their host at the carnival asks anybody of Middle Eastern descent to come forward. Kevan does, and everyone in the house is surprised, because their latest piece of information said that he wasn’t Persian. All the frowns turn upside down though, when Meagan tells the host that Nick is the real Middle Eastern in the house. The host immediately turns to him and asks him about his background. Nick says he’s half Lebanese and Kevan immediately slides in an “and I’m half Persian.” Nick gets pissed off and when Kevan confronts him, Nick explains his position: he doesn’t care if Kevan is or isn’t half Persian, he is just pissed that he lied about it. I don’t completely understand why Nick is pissed that Kevan lied about his background. If someone told me they were half anything, and then told me that it wasn’t true, I would probably say “oh, that’s cool” and go on my merry way. Well Nick isn’t like that, and he goes into “agitated Nick mode” where he strings along complaints about the situation while making wild gestures (looking like this). Kevan retorts with “Don’t disrespect my family life or you’re going to have a big problem.” “Is that a threat?” asks Nick. Kevan backs down and says no, but reiterates his request.
Whitney Makes Her Rounds
That evening, Jonas is stuck studying for his GED test, while everyone else goes out to a bar where they do a little dancing and play a little billiards. When they get back to the house, Kevan high fives Jonas, and is very enthusiastic about seeing him. The city squad, apparently annoyed at the fact that the Amish haven’t disowned Kevan like they have, send out Ariel as their spokesperson to tell Kevan that he think he’s so smooth but he’s really not etc… The pack of hyenas then sends out Whitney as support, followed by Meagan to go for the kill. She asks Kevan why he thinks every week someone new hates his guts, citing Nick as this week’s example. The question can be easily explained as peer pressure. You hang with a group that hates one guy, you’ll come to a point where you are tested. Are you with us and hate him too, or are you against us and don’t mind him?
We then get Mose of all people joining the ring. He makes a declaration: “If anybody goes up against Kevan, he goes up against me.” That’s what I like to hear, Mose! Even though Kevan has been less than truthful during this entire ordeal, it’s pretty obvious that he has been the less vicious of the two sides. Kevan has been very nice to the Amish and Mose recognized that. Kudos to Mose for taking a stand on that! The pack of hyenas are chased out, but immediately counterattack with Whitney telling Mose he hasn’t had the opportunity to read people and that as a result he is ineligible to take sides. That argument doesn’t work very well so she decides she’ll scream a little louder and will confront Kevan again to change the vibe.
The next morning, it’s time for Jonas to finally take his GED test. His GED scenes bring a calm contrast to the hectic squabbling of the city kids from the night before. He gets to the classroom and is apparently alone to take the test. He seems to have some problems along the way but eventually finishes it and looks pretty confident that he will pass. That evening, Reese tells us about his boyfriend, Eduardo. He shows his photo to Miriam and she thinks he is hot and fine. That montage pretty much comes out and says that Eduardo will be paying them a visit later in the episode.
So Many Cultures, So Little Time
The next day, tube mail tells the guests that the girls will go shopping for Mexican items. They will be holding an international fiesta later on this week, and will need to buy things from a place in Los Angeles called Olvera Street, which seemed a little too touristy to me the last time I went there. There, the girls make a piñata for the party. Meanwhile, the guys learn they will go shopping in Chinatown. They visit an herb store where the clerk explains why they use herbs for natural healing. Jonas draws a parallel between both cultures, as they both try to make the best with that natural tools they have in terms of healing. The guys are also there to buy supplies for the party and Mose finds a golden horse statue that enthralls him. Mose shares with us that while growing up, his mom thought Mose paid a little too much attention to one of his inventions, and thought that he worshipped it like a false idol. She hid it, and Mose thought that when he returned, she would do the same thing with the horse. He nevertheless decides to buy the horse and declares he decides he is finally spending money on unnecessary things.
As Nick steps aside for a smoke in Chinatown, Kevan approaches him and wants to settle some issues with him. He tells him that the last time they spoke Nick was too angry to even talk, and he was hoping he’s had time to cool off. Nick doesn’t accept Kevan’s proposal to make things better, and holds his ground, saying that Kevan was lying and that he wasn’t making fun of his family. Meanwhile, Reese sits in the back watching the argument with a grin on his face. That guy just can’t pass up an opportunity to participate or observe in squabbling.
Back at the house, the housemates are told that they’re going to head out yet again. This time, they’ll visit Bollywood which is India’s Hollywood – Bombay. This basically means that they’ll be going to an Indian shop or two. There, the housemates look around for trinkets to buy. Nick finds what looks like a reversed swastika there, and the Indian clerk has to explain that that swastika symbolized peace and harmony, while Hitler’s swastika symbolizes hatred. Next, they all go to an Indian beauty center. We are shown an interesting method of thinning eyebrows – threading. It consists of twisting a string on the surface of the skin around the eyebrows to remove hairs. After that, the housemates go to an Indian boutique, where they try on some clothing. Ruth is surprised when she is told that Hindus believe in 24 Gods, but she doesn’t really say why (I suppose merely because it is different). The Amish guys try on wedding suits while the girls try on dresses and everyone has a lot of fun, particularly Mose, who says he enjoyed looking at the dresses and the girls in them.
The “are you going back to the Amish” question pops up again when the housemates get back home. Ariel asks Mose if he will go back, and Mose explains that the only reason he’d ever go back would be for his family. He knows that he can’t have any relationship with his family any other way, and that’s why he has a problem making his decision. Whitney seems to put Mose on mute however, as she asks why he’d go back since he’d have no electricity etc… All the while she says that, Mose says “family, family” but she just keeps going, completely ignoring him. What a gracious person she is. Mose shares with us that he has tried twice to talk to his family twice since he’s left the Amish community but was denied both times. He explains that he will simply not get a chance to talk to them unless he decides to go back for good. Reese actually makes a good point when he says that he thinks that the way a family suddenly accepts a person after that person has decided to stick with the Amish seems shallow and weird. I agree that the apparent shunning going on, regarding family members that leave the Amish community doesn’t seem like a very positive aspect of the Amish community.
The next day, tube mail falls and everyone learns that the women are going to need to cover their heads for the next culture they’re going to visit. They end up going to a Muslim mosque. We see Muslim prayers but the women are kept separated from the men during the prayer. Afterwards, all the housemates sit down for a discussion with the leader of the mosque. Kevan asks him what the house rules are in a Muslim household. He is told that the men is the leader and is in charge of bringing resources to the house while the woman is in charge of taking care of it. He then says that the women can go work if they want to, but that is only a charity. Meagan apparently really likes that fact, and somehow infers that the women are the powerful ones in Islamic society and that she was glad to hear that. Mose and the Imam (the leader of the mosque) then discuss a common figure their religions share – Abraham. After that, Kevan asks a question that I knew was coming: the misconception of the association between terrorism and Islam. He is of course told that terrorism works against Islam.
Kevan Gets Shot Down
Back at the house, Reese finds out that his boyfriend Eduardo is waiting for him. Reese is extremely happy and hugs him for a very long time. After all the housemates greet him, Eduardo and Reese hang around near the pool while all the girls repeat to themselves that Eduardo is hot. Mose wants to show that he is acceptant of the gay relationship and shows he is adjusting to it quickly. Immediately, everyone gets to work preparing the meal and the piñata. Meanwhile, Nick and Whitney have a shallow conversation about how the recent cultural outing made Whitney realize that you have to look past the outer shell and she is thus more acceptant of the Amish way of life. If Whitney needed little trips around L.A. to realize that, that shows her true character. She says she has grown a lot through her experience etc…
It’s finally time to eat and Reese asks Mose to say grace. Mose includes a “thank you” for Eduardo’s arrival in his prayer. Reese pats himself on the back when sharing with us that he wanted to let Mose say grace because everyone is has been so acceptant of Eduardo. Reese then tells everyone at the table that they’re his family, and that he’s grown close to everyone during his stay in the house. Kevan then makes a statement that is extremely awkward. He announces that he wants to formerly apologize to anyone that he has hurt, and that he would like to know if anyone else would look to join him in this show of friendship. No one says a word. Everyone looks down and keeps on eating. Mose says that what Kevan made was a stupid move, that it was the wrong place and the wrong time. I agree with that assessment but still – and this includes Mose too – why did no one at least say “Kevan, I understand where you’re coming from and I too want everyone here to leave as friends.” No one even said they accepted his apology. When someone goes out on a limb to apologize like that, the least anyone at the table could do (even those that didn’t have any problem with Kevan) is to help him out a little, and prevent him from looking completely stupid. I wasn’t surprised that the city kids left him out in the cold, but I was surprised at the Amish for not helping him out, even if Kevan’s statement was not directed at them.
Eduardo then becomes the 53rd person to be told what the Amish are and what they do. Everyone likes the food and it becomes time to hit the piñata. A lot of fun is had , but Eduardo eventually has to leave and Reese has a hard time saying goodbye. Ruth then has a conversation with Miriam about how she wants to do something and be somebody. Miriam is a little more pessimistic and says that any aspirations are mutually exclusive from the Amish way of life. They are both still unsure of which direction they will take in the future.
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