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TV Column
Posted at 09:12 AM ET, 08/03/2012

TLC to debut ‘Breaking Amish’

TLC is the latest network that’s looking to snag ratings with a show about young Amish and Mennonite people who leave their communities to explore life out of the fold.

“Breaking Amish” follows four Amish men and women and one Mennonite woman as they go give life a try — in the Big Apple! TLC has ordered nine one-hour episodes.

In one clip, the Amish and Mennonite youths are seen marveling at the skyscrapers, buying clothing made in underdeveloped countries, interacting with pedestrians and shacking up in an expensive hotel paid for by, well, probably not them.

TV critics — who had been through this with UPN’s “Amish in the City,” National Geographic Channel’s “Amish: Out of Order” and so on — were not impressed.

“We wanted to have a real authentic look,” exec producer Shannon Evangelista said as she and Eric Evangelista described how they hired two producers — one Amish and one Mennonite — to recruite their band of 20-somethings to take to New York for the show, which they purport to call a documentary.

“It’s 100 percent accurate,” Eric Evangelista said of the series, which is produced, appropriately, under the Hot Snakes Media banner.

“We have already seen at least one show like this,” said one TV critic. “How can you call it a documentary if you actually change the conditions? You’re taking people who would not go to New York normally and taking them out of their normal environment. . . . How is this different than putting them in a ‘Real World’ house, or ‘Jersey Shore?’ ”

“All five of them were going to do something,” Eric Evangelista insisted. “They were going to leave. We provided them with a much safer way to do that.”

“They really give you their all, they open up,” Shannon Evangelista added.

“So does Snooki,” the critic shot back, adding: “You are affecting the story — you have already interfered with the timeline.”

By  |  09:12 AM ET, 08/03/2012

 
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