Amish in the City Recap 9/15/04 – Green Acres Is The Place To Be
Welcome to this week’s recap of Amish in the City. There are two episodes left to this series and I must say that although I enjoyed the angle the producers used to approach this reality series (i.e. how they paid attention to the Amish kids’ dilemmas concerning their big decision), they really stretched its running time with a lot of unnecessary trips and outings where everyone either said “I had fun” or “I didn’t know that’s how they do it in the city.” In any case, today’s episode is going to have a slightly different format as we learn that everyone is going to see how the other half lives and go to the land of the Amish.
It’s All…Backwards…I Can’t Take It!
Tube Mail! I still don’t know why this show is giving its instructions through a tube, since I don’t see a connection between the Amish theme and a futuristic looking tube dispenser. Maybe there isn’t supposed to be one. Anyhow, the message says they’re going to Amish country. The first response? “I’m not going.” Meagan explains that she doesn’t see the point in playing with Amish people, while Nick just plain declares he isn’t going and that it’s the wrong time. Well, if there’s a right time to go, it’s certainly while he’s on a show with a whole bunch of Amish people. Of course, the crowd mentality spreads through the other city kids (except, of course, for Kevan) and Whitney and Reese join in the “I’m not going” chorus. Jonas is of course a little disappointed that after all these weeks living with the city kids, he hasn’t seen them show one ounce of interest in at least visiting Amish country for a few of days. Reese’s main concern is that he needs running water and electricity and that “he is not not showering for fours days.” Double negative – that perfectly describes Reese’s personality. Upon seeing all this resistance, Mose reminds the city kids that if they are going, they need to be respectable, and that if they can’t even do that, they shouldn’t go. So now the city kids not only realize they have to go to Amish country but they have to be respectable too. For some reason, this added inconvenience actually turns the tide and all the city kids realize they’re going after all. Weird. Whitney’s reason is that since all the Amish kids went to her family barbeque, she might as well “give back” to them. If I was going, I would have interpreted her absence as “giving” – peace and quiet that is...although I must admit Whitney has calmed down a bit in the past few episodes.
Meanwhile, Randy and Ariel get into a discussion about the milking process at the Amish farm. Ariel says that she prefers the manual way, because the milk one would normally buy comes from cows that are milked by machines “for the greater majority of the day…until they bleed.” Jonas immediately takes exception to that and with a tinge of annoyance, reminds her that not all dairy farms are this way. As the debate drags on, it eventually gets to the inevitable “what are your sources” point. Ariel says she got her info from lectures (and by that, I assume she means vegan-related lectures). Jonas refers to her lecturers as “fanatics.” The argument is actually pretty civil even though both sides are pretty damn sure of themselves. It ends with Jonas saying “…which I am proud to be not a fanatic.” Well, we get his point.
Ruth is looking forward to see Marvin, her boyfriend. Miriam winds her up by guaranteeing her she’ll see Marvin. Given this show’s track record in regards to foreshadowing, I think there’s a good chance we’ll all see Marvin by the end of the hour. Kevan then reaches into his “I’m excited…” repertoire and tells us: “I’m excited to go to Amish country, because I love new experiences” and off they go to the airport.
From Farm To Farm
The housemates go from LA to Cleveland, and they then proceed to Holmes County, Ohio where Miriam grew up. We are immediately shown clips depicting the serene landscape in Amish country. As they’re driving to their destination, they see a standard horse buggy, and Meagan sees her former boyfriend’s house. She realizes that if she had stayed with him, she would have been the wife living on that property. The show reminds us that these Amish kids still have to make a decision regarding their future. And so we get a 20 second pre-commercial tension filled package of Ruth, Mose and Jonas telling us that they’re still at a crossroads on the matter. Stay tuned!
After the break, we see the housemates finally arrive at their destination. There, they split up into three groups. Nick, Ruth, Randy and Kevan go out to fix some fencing. Nick immediately starts being weird about his duty. He communicates to us his distaste for manual labor (if you can call it that) by making various noises and gestures as he cuts weeds around the wires. Jonas, Ariel, and Whitney go visit an Amish lady that makes candles. The lady doesn’t want to get her picture taken because as Jonas explains “the Amish don’t believing in having their picture taken.” Reese, Mose, and Meagan go visit an Amish family, and do various works around the house such as bricklaying and working on their garden. It turns out Reese is a willing worker and it seems to be because he really likes the family he is working for. That impresses Mose and he explains to Miriam that he wishes the city kids had visited Amish country much earlier in the show so that they would have seen where the Amish come from. Mose misses the fact that on top of being childish and catty, these city kids will also have a short term memory when it comes to empathy and long term memory when it comes to grudges. By the time they’re back in the city, they’ll have forgotten all about it. Anyhow, next on the list is moving bails of hay around and it’s the fence-fixing team that’s assigned to it. That means we get to hear Nick delivers such classic complaints as “I gag easy” and “I smell like a farm.”
Next on the list is a non-Amish farm. There, they see a conveyor belt device used to transport hay to a top level of the barn. Reese thinks it would be a great idea if he got on the belt and freaked out, asking “what do I do here?” Before Reese reaches the top, he is rescued by Mose. Thrilling! After that, they visit the milking section of the farm. As the head farmer explains to the housemates the mechanics of the milking machines, Ariel says she wishes Jonas was here. When asked by Randy and Kevan why, she says that she got into a big argument with Jonas the other day, and that she’d love to show him what she means. The editors unashamedly show us her previous “majority of the day…until they bleed” comment as she says she never said anything like that.
As the cows come out, Whitney asks how you can tell which ones are girls and which ones are boys. This immediately reminds of the scene in Kingping when Woody Harrelson tells an Amish farmer he milked his cow: “Yeah, it took a little while to get her warmed up, she sure is a stubborn one, whew.” Amish farmer: “We don’t have a cow…we have a bull.” After the housemates are given a demonstration, Ariel says “this is so cool” and she apparently really likes this particular facility since they aren’t milking the cows all day until they bleed. What she isn’t going to like, however, is the meal that has been prepared for the housemates. A whole roasted pig is to be eaten by the housemates and Ariel has a problem with it. In fact she actually gets sick and heads off to some porta-potty for a little puking. I would have chosen a whole range of other locations to puke in, especially at a farm, but hey, whatever floats your boat. She eventually makes it to the SUV to get away from the smell of the pig and seems fine after that.
KISS Anecdote Proves A Point
The complaining begins. The city kids start talking about how they need a shower or their shoes are wet. Of course, when one starts, the others join in. Miriam and Ruth both discuss the lack of respect they are receiving from the city kids, when they themselves have been trying their hardest to fit in at the city. The next morning, everyone visits the same Amish family from the day before. The guys are told to clean manure out from a pen, while the girls are set to the garden and the kitchen. Immediately, Nick and Reese have a problem with it. Nick expresses his disapproval in a more manly way than Reese by saying that it really stinks and it burns his eyes (but he says it in a forceful “I’m not going to take this” way). In any case, Nick is still a sissy for refusing to just clean a little crap out of a pen. The head of the family, Mr. Smucker is a little forceful concerning Nick’s attitude. He tells Nick that if “you don’t work, you don’t eat.” Nick obviously has a problem with that, but oddly enough we then see Mr. Smucker and Nick have a conversation, and even more oddly, about rock music. Nick says that his interests lie in rock music and Mr. Smucker says that rock music comes from Satan, and one evidence of that is that “KISS” stands for Kids In Satan’s Service. Ok…I can understand how one could have a problem with KISS then. But all rock music? Anyhow, Nick realizes that there’s no reason trying to convert him and doesn’t try.
Mose and Jonas are then shown having a discussion in a barn about how much they like Amish country and the Amish life, but how they still aren’t completely sure if they want to spend their entire life there. Eventually, everyone earns a lunch from Mr. Smucker, and guess who’s walking down the road towards the table? No, it’s not Mose’s girlfriend. No, it’s not Miriam’s boyfriend, guess again. Hmm, no it’s not Jonas’ girlfriend, you’re really bad at this. No, it’s not Randy’s girlfriend - that was like a 50/50 guess! Well? You missed one person. Oh, I’ll just tell you, it’s Ruth’s boyfriend! Anyways, they hug a lot and are really happy to see each other.
Hugs And Puppies
The Marvin/Ruth sequence goes on and on, and they keep hammering the fact that they’re really happy to see each other. They eventually go to a private place to talk, and keep hugging until finally, Miriam and Ariel decide to go for a car ride. It seems they’re heading to Miriam’s parents’ house. There, Miriam says that she can’t go in to see her parents out of respect. I’m still not totally grasping the whole Amish family shunning-your-daughter thing so I assume it’s some sort of hard set rule. I’m shown to be wrong when Miriam decides she’ll go say “hi” to her mom anyway. She was quite conflicted prior to her decision though. Next, we see Meagan playing with a puppy and we find out she wants to take him back with her. Puppies are really cute but they eventually grow up, and I hope she knows what she’s getting into.
It’s finally time to leave the Smuckers and after a lot of hugging and goodbyes, we…are shown Ruth and Marvin hugging some more and saying goodbye. That eventually ends though, and we are finally shown an Indiana Jones flight map from Ohio to LA. On the way back from the LA airport, the Amish get into another discussion about who knows for sure if they want to go back to the Amish, and of course no one is set. When they arrive at the house, I hear a hall of fame over-the-top statement from Meagan: “We have grown into a family that will be unstoppable…forever.” Wow. Tube mail falls and we find out that Jonas got his results from the GED test. As he opens the envelope, we find out that his score is: “Executive Producer John Kroll” Wait no, those are the credits. We’re left hanging again and have to watch the next (final) episode for his results.
Well, there’s one more episode to wrap this series up. Even though the show has certainly been slow at times (many, many times), I do feel I know these kids a lot more than I would watching other reality shows. This is mostly due to the fact that these kids wouldn’t actually be in the other reality shows. Another factor is that these aren’t wild and out of control, but more down to earth people. As a result, we see a lot more intimate moments that show off their true character (this applies to the city kids, too). I know that when this show ends, I will be curious to find out what happened to everyone on that show.
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