Amish in the City Recap 9/21/04 – And So They Scatter
Well, this is it: the final episode of Amish in the City. I’ll save the reminiscing for the end, because the episode does a good enough job of it. This episode resumes where the last one ended (seems fitting). Jonas gets his tube mail and everyone crowds around him awaiting the results of his GED test. Jonas looks as excited as ever, which means he actually breaks a smile. After taking a hard look at the results, he announces that he passed it. Kevan (who’s helped Jonas study a lot) is proud to say that Jonas passes with flying colors, scoring in the high 90 percentile in all sections. Everyone is really happy for Jonas and Jonas tells us that if he doesn’t go back to the Amish, he will definitely go to college.
Next, we see Mose sawing and constructing wooden devices. He explains to Miriam that he is creating gifts for all the housemates so that they will have a souvenir about both their experience at the house and him specifically. I think it’s a great idea - it keeps Mose busy doing something he likes, and it actually will be a great way to make the city kids remember their experience in the house once the memories have started to fade (assuming, of course, they actually keep his gifts).
Take A Long Hard Look At The Cover Before Judging The Book
Ruth and Miriam are then shown having a conversation about which Amish they think are going back. Since they’re talking between themselves about the other Amish kids, I find this a more reliable source of information than the seemingly artificial statements all the Amish kids make to the camera. Sometimes, I wonder if they’re telling us what they think the producers/we want to hear, and not what they actually want to do. Ruth and Miriam think that Mose and Jonas will be going back because they don’t seem happy in the city. I agree with them. I think Mose is being a good sport about experiencing and fitting in with the city life, but that he would rather live his day to day life in a more quiet setting, where people around him have a little more respect. I think Jonas is a more likely to stay in the city, but I still regard his GED credentials as a possible option in case he chooses to leave the Amish. They think that Randy will be going back to the Amish and I sort of agree with them, but I’m not too sure, because Randy just doesn’t express himself all that much. I think his quiet, non-critical attitude would make him fit best with the Amish, though. Ruth centers her decision on her boyfriend. She basically says that whichever way they chose to live, she will be happy with it.
The next segment is about Meagan’s golden retriever puppy that she got from the Amish last episode. Ariel wakes up to the puppy pissing next to her bed. Meagan actually tells the puppy not to do that, which I didn’t expect her to do. I thought Meagan would just be surprised that the cute little fluffy puppy also does other things than stand around and look cute, but I wasn’t giving her enough credit. She gently points the dog’s head towards the spot and says “bad dog”. Somehow, I don’t think the dog learned his lesson.
Tube mail tells them that they’re all going to the beach. There, they find out they will be sailing from Laguna Beach to Malibu. This would be a standard Amish in the City outing except for the fact that the housemates are feeling the time pressure regarding their stay at the house, and start talking about what they will be doing after their time at the house. Reese asks Ruth what’s next for her, and she gives a generic answer which gives no insight into what she’s really thinking. Nick breaks from his routine by sharing that he’s very happy about his experience and the friends he’s made. Reese then makes a hilarious comment about not judging a book by his cover. He tells everyone that he should instead be ”filling people out, getting to know ‘em, learning ‘em and then judging them.” You see, Reese must judge you at some point, but at least he will judge you and your ways after getting to know you. After a lot of sharing about plans and lessons learned, Randy reminds us that the city kids too are going through a time in which they have to make tough choices about their future, something that I hadn’t really considered.
I Don’t Want Your Stinkin’ Advice
Back at the house, Mose approaches Nick and asks him to play guitar while he sings a song he has just composed. I am surprised by Mose’s singing ability. I didn’t really pick up any of it during his blues singing in the previous episode. He’s created some nice lyrics about the city life getting harder for him everyday, and shows some real singing talent. Meanwhile, Jonas and Kevan are discussing Jonas’ college options. They decide to go to Santa Monica College and let Jonas have a tour of the campus. After the little tour, they come back home to find tube mail telling them they’re going out to a club. Their club experience seems pretty standard with everyone having their fun. What follows though is a pretty bizarre sequence involving Nick and Mose talking to a talent booker for the club. They all enter a “rock star bus” which just appears to be a decorated trailer. Inside, the booker grills Nick with questions about what his plans are regarding playing guitar, apparently to give him advice about where to take his music career. She was apparently under the impression that Nick wanted to talk about that with her, and the more she asks him questions, the more uncaring he acts about the whole thing, eventually leading her to call him an ass (which he deserves).
That evening, Reese and Kevan sit down and have a talk about their previous negative experiences. They both apologize for their actions but Reese tells Kevan that his statement about homosexuality will hurt him for the rest of his life. Kevan says that his statements about strongly believing against homosexuality were too harsh and that he’s sorry. Anyhow, everybody’s sorry and Kevan offers a hug. Reese sneaks a kiss on the cheek in and it looks like they’ve made up.
The next morning, this episode’s happiness theme continues. Nick is much more laid back and having fun. We see Nick and Whitney laugh (at the expense of Mose of course: when you’re city kid you can laugh but it’s got to be at someone) and it looks like everyone’s bonding a lot more. Poolside, Miriam and Ariel are having a discussion about Mose. They both think that Mose wants to go back to the Amish, and they recognize that Mose might have some faith issues that would weigh in his decision. Mose explains to us that he’s still split, and tells us that he decided to visit a professor of theology with Ariel to discuss his faith. There, the professor tells Mose that the reason why the Amish are so inflexible about their rules is that they have a strong sense of community and they want to protect that community as best they can. He is hinting at the fact that Mose’s biggest problem - which concerns his family’s attitude towards its members that chose to stay out – is due more to a protective mechanism than a theological one. Mose nevertheless asks a straight up question “Would you encourage me to stay out in the world or would you encourage me to go back to the Amish?” The professor says he cannot answer that and Mose leaves the discussion with some doubts. Afterwards, he and Ariel have a chat over coffee and talk about what he learned. Ariel’s advice is that he needs to find a place of love compatible with being close to God (which sounds like pretty generic advice to me) but Mose likes it and asks her where she was before when he had those questions.
The episode then focuses on Whitney. She, Nick and Meagan are out on the patio and Nick comments on the salad she’s made which he says looks “so good.” I think it looks like regular salad, but Whitney takes him up on the compliment and tells him that everyone tells her she should go to culinary school. The reason why she doesn’t, she explains, is that “she just doesn’t want to.” Fair enough. She tells us that she is unhappy with her current four year college and would prefer being a registered nurse.
What follows is Amish in the City behind the scenes footage shown exclusively to myself:
Producer #1: “John, you won’t believe it! Whitney just expressed interest in being a registered Nurse!”
Producer #2: “This is fantastic! We just found an excuse for another outing. Bob, we just filled in another 5 minutes in our finale episode!”
As you can guess, Whitney ends up taking a ride down to a nursing school. Miriam and Ruth also come with her and once there, are given a lot of information about working in the healthcare field. All the girls are interested, they all shake hands, and off they go back to the house to wait around for another segment.
Now That We Won’t See Each Other, Let’s Be Friends
Back at the house, we see Mose leave what seem to be clues around the house. He then apparently gains access to the tube mail facilities because the next tube mail is handwritten by Mose telling all his housemates to go on a scavenger hunt for their respective souvenirs. I actually love scavenger hunts so the next few scenes are pretty interesting. Mose’s clues send everyone around the house to find other clues until they finally reach a handmade wooden object of some kind. Mose made some pretty ingenious things such as a beano stick, a puzzle mini wooden guitar thingy, and a ship in a bottle.
That evening, everyone heads off to the patio for the 4th of July fireworks. Everyone enjoys it, and they then all go to the living room couch to sit and talk. They all share their feelings and get pretty emotional. Any past grievances that housemates may have had are excused. The most emotional moment is Reese’s speech. He cries and thanks everyone for accepting him for who he is, especially Nick. The good vibes then make the situation escalate to “group hug level.”
Looking back on this moment, Mose tells us that he wishes all this sharing and listening had occurred earlier, because it would have made living in the house together much easier. I think this brings up an interesting point about the city kids. They seem to only be nice and accepting when it really matters, such as right before everyone parts ways. What really shows your true character though, is how you act when it doesn’t matter. That’s why all the tearful moments in this episode feel less than genuine to me. It’s nevertheless quite obvious that all these housemates care for each other and really do wish to part on good terms.
The next day is the last day, and there is more reminiscing. We learn what each housemate is planning for the future. Whitney wants to go to nursing school. Mose still doesn’t tell us his decision (or if he’s even made one) and just says he’s learned to be himself. Nick still shows a lot of interest in playing music. Randy wants to go to a smaller city (I’m not sure which). Ruth tells us that she feels she has grown from a little girl to a strong woman and I agree with her. I really have seen some changes between the first episode and the last. She is much more assertive and I’m glad she’s happy about her change. Ariel just tells us she admires the Amish for their sense of community. Meagan still wants to pursue fashion as a career. Kevan expresses interest in law school. Miriam still doesn’t know if she will go back or not, and neither does Jonas. Reese says he’s interested in art, and that he will continue pursuing his vision (pursuing your vision – must add that to my “talk to the camera” repertoire)
The next sequence is sort of awkward, but then aren’t all goodbyes that way? Each member leaves one at a time. I wonder where they’re going because they just seem to be heading down the driveway. Do they each have a taxi waiting for them? Probably. They all hug and see each other depart until Mose is the last one left. He is quite sad as he looks around the empty house. Eventually, he too heads down the driveway of fate.
By the end, not one Amish member told us if they picked whether they’re going back to the Amish or not. I don’t blame them, because it’s a very hard decision, and there’s no reason why a TV show should make it any easier. I think that even though he has show interest in knowing more about the world around him, Mose is most likely to go back to the Amish. I think Ruth is also likely to go back to the Amish and marry her boyfriend. Jonas would be next on my list, but if he does not go back to the Amish, it’s pretty obvious he will go to college. Randy will likely be living close to his Amish community, and if he does not live with them, work and live in the small towns around them. Miriam I think is the least likely to go to the Amish, but even her I’m not sure about.
The show was interesting, even though it did dwell a little too much on the generic sound bytes regarding making tough decisions etc…. It also had a little too many “Let’s go out, wow this is so cool, let’s go back to the house” sequences. All in all though, I feel I have gotten to know these people very well and am interested in knowing what they will do with their lives. I wish them all the best of luck.
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