The Amish are known for their simple, puritanical lifestyle, not for being mobsters, however this is exacly how a new Discovery Channel show has represented them.
In a new series called 'Amish Mafia' the Amish community is purportedly exposed to be a society run by a few fat cats who "help maintain order in this insular religious community by doing the dirty work that the church elders can't be associated with" as the New York Times describes. Apparently, while the opening credits include the warning that there are "select re-enactments" it seems to fail to mention that the entire thing is "enacted".
The Amish have already come under attack from other reality TV shows that portray them to be painfully oppressive for their teenagers, which may be so but it's a lifestyle that still seems to be thriving. In fact, their home-made charm is one that seems to be sweeping nations both sides of the Atlantic. Nevertheless, it is truly the role of this kind of genre of television to be both exploitative and damning. All reality TV shows are used to embarrass and criticise various members of the public, or of a certain demographic and group. Even shows such as the X Factor of America/Britain's Got Talent manages to focus a vast amount of its airtime to the poor saps who make complete fools of themselves during the audition process.
Anyway, given the largely negative reviews that the 'Amish Mafia' has garnered already it looks like not only is it unlikely to be granted a second series, it may not even make it through the first.
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