Amish On TV: For Better Or Worse.
The following are a few of the questions I receive from people who have watched my TV shows…
• “Mose. What TV shows have you all been on? Where can I watch them?
Answer: I have been on about a dozen late night and early morning shows, including Regis & Kelly, and Jimmy Kimmel, and I will include photos…
Kelly Ripa & Bryant Gumbel
A really fuzzy photo of Jimmy Kimmel
• “I feel that God wants me to help these Ex-Amish kids. Can you hook me up with some new Amish kids who are leaving, I want to help?”
Answer: No. I can’t help you make this happen. In the last fifteen years, there have been many Ex-Amish who left the communities. When a new one leaves, he or she will continue to move in with an already established Ex-Amish. This is really what they want, and although I realize that your heart goes out to these kids, and you desperately want to wrap your arms around them, they aren’t looking for that, and would be thoroughly uncomfortable with it. Really, they only want to hang out with their own, and attempting to live with someone who has never been Amish would simply be too much for them. Also, contrary to what you see on TV, rarely does one leave, and not already have a place and a job to go to before leaving. In short, there are millions of kids in this world who are in much more need of help then a new Amish kid leaving the community.
• “Did Michaela ever go Amish, and if so, how is she doing?”
Answer: No. The transition of joining the Amish was too great. Michaela has found her own version of peace in the outside world. She has found a young man and they seem to be very happy together.
• “Mose. Where do you stand in your salvation?”
Answer: I had found a morsel of what Jesus meant to me while still Amish. But I found Jesus Christ in a much larger way during the television show Amish: out of Order, when I met pastor Joe Keim in Ohio. Since then, I have grown in massive leaps and bounds in my faith, and now, looking back, I really have no idea how I lived life without him. Bottom line, I have found him, and I have no intentions of letting him go.
• “Will there be another season of Amish out of Order, and if so, when will it air?” Or, “Where did your show go, I haven't seen it for a while, and wonder if they pulled it because of ratings?”
Answer: There was only one season of Amish: out of Order. There won’t be another season. In fact, I don't know if I will ever be on TV again. But if anything changes, I will post a blog with an update. Why won’t there be another season, and why won’t I be on TV? There are a lot of behind-the-scenes scenarios that would have to align, and I don’t want to bore you with petty details that are out of your control. A few reasons are… filming the type of show I was on consumed my life. My family life suffered, and my job suffered. Filming the show was taxing and stressful, and I lost a lot of friends because of the controversy surrounding filming an Amish television show. But mainly, it was about the money—if the money was good enough to quit my job and focus entirely on a television career, I would consider it, but the money isn’t even a fraction of what I make in car sales.
• “Are you a part of the new show, Breaking Amish? What do you think of it,” and “Have you been watching it?”
Answer: No, No, and No. A little too blunt? Allow me to explain. I was approached about the show Breaking Amish during the production of Amish: out of Order, not so much as a main character in front of the camera, but as someone with Amish experience who can be behind the scenes, advising the cast. When TLC approached me, probably six months before NatGeo did, I asked some very basic questions about what their show was about. I received very limited information from them, except that it would be sort of reality show. I lost interest. Not necessarily because I disagreed or disapproved of it, but because I have been there and done that. I receive about a dozen requests from networks per year, and I have learned a valuable lesson—if they can’t be very clear and forthright on what they are trying to do—the message they are trying to convey to the world, I’m out. That rule has not betrayed me yet. In 2004, shortly after leaving the Amish, I starred on a show that was very similar to Breaking Amish. The show was called Amish in the City, and it aired on UPN. It featured me and four other Amish kids, plus six city kids, all living in a mansion in the middle of Hollywood. It followed us as we gallivanted around Hollywood and Studio City and tried all the activities Hollywood has to offer. In short, I’ve been there and done that. Any future shows I’m on will have more meat and bones.
15 thoughts on “Amish On TV: For Better Or Worse.”
I personally gave up on the series after several episodes for several good reasons. http://www.geoffgentry.org/2012/09/10/breakingamish/ People have a hunger to learn more about the Amish Community and Ex-Amish Community. The issue is I feel most folks will try to cater to what they think people want to see rather than let the truth speak (which is what I think Nat Geo and you, Mose, have done). http://www.geoffgentry.org/2012/06/13/amish-out-of-order/
i hear ya about the tv show.so much if it was made up as well as lied about.i live here in lancaster ciunty pa amoung the amish and am a taxi driver for them.so i do know more than the regular english person out there.a shame that they did what they did for tv.and a shame for nat geo for not doing what was right and truthful about the people that were on the show.
Having watched both Out of Order and Breaking Amish, just be glad that you stayed out of having anything to do with Breaking Amish. I think those kids (can you call people ranging from 20-36 kids?) have given the producers a huge headache. It’s just getting stupid now. Amish Mafia? Really? Keep your head down, and just let all this ridiculousness fly over your head.
I also watched both shows & agree. In watching Amish: Out of Order, there was always a feeling that everything was genuine. When watching Breaking Amish, it felt as fake as most reality shows. Where did they get money? Why did they have to “dress up” in Amish clothes to record their thoughts? Why did most shows have a “bombshell”? And now Discovery is advertising Amish Mafia? I don’t think my wife & I will be watching that one. Take care.
Greetings from Lancaster County, PA
looks like one of the stupidest shows yet on tv.i am also from lancaster county.i know exactly what you are saying.i will also not be watching such a stupid and ridiculus show
First of all, I loved your show. I found Out of Order to be educational, straightforward and realistic. As a result, I was naturally interested in Breaking Amish. After a few episodes, I couldn’t bare to watch it anymore.
As someone who is highly cynical of the media and entertainment industry anyway, I think Breaking Amish was intentionally created for drama and conflict. It reminds me of many of the ‘reality’ shows on MTV – full of partying, drinking, and sex. I don’t know what the ratings were for Breaking Amish, but I know how popular the MTV “Jersey Shore” shows and spin-offs are, as well as “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” shows. I think TLC was trying to use the public’s natural curiosity about the Amish to put a spin on those sorts of shows and attract more of the MTV demographic. Sadly, it appears that our society loves nothing more to watch a good ‘trainwreck’ on television.
Information about the cast of Breaking Amish, including previous arrests, are abound on the internet, and I have a hard time believing that the producers of Breaking Amish didn’t know anything about these people prior to casting them. That said, I feel sorry for the cast, who have made themselves look completely and utterly ridiculous before the entire country. This sympathy isn’t because they were Amish – they’re no different than any other young adult who has done similar things on ‘reality’ TV – and their actions will likely negatively impact them the rest of their lives.
TLC is a business and their goal is to earn a profit and increase ratings – NOT to educate us about the Amish. Your show was rare in that it managed to do both. The subsequent Amish shows (Breaking Amish and Amish Mafia) I firmly believe are for entertainment purposes only and that makes me sad, because while I am not an Amish expert – I’m pretty sure from what I learned on Out of Order that neither of these new shows portrays an accurate image of Amish lifestyle and instead merely exploits the name.
Thanks for all you do to help former Amish and educate the rest of us in the English world. I love reading your blog.
I agree with Lisa. I watched a few episodes of this show and am wondering why they even bothered. I am so thankful for the documentary that you did because I think it did and will help those Amish who have been completely cut off from their families and (they believe) their God. I’m even more certain that the work you are doing is needed vitally. The Ex-Amish need to know that as Christians we believe that God forgives us, so that we can forgive others. They are still loved, and they can live out here among the English or travel wherever they may, Jesus comes with them.
I sure wouldn’t bother watching that show, but I did say some prayers for those kids. If anybody needed a Mose Gingerich, it was them.
God bless you and yours, and give you strength. lovingly, old mawmaw
I also watched both and agree completely with Violet. I was very disappointed with these “Adults” not kids behavior and deceptiveness. I look forward to seeing more of your works for the young Amish community that truly need help and guidance. I wish you all the best in these endeavors and would also be open to donating for any foundations set up to help Amish teens who are seeking help.
I watched all but 1 of the showings.The comparison between Amish Out Of Order and this one,do not compare.The producers obviously interviewed these 5 young people,not realizing the wool was being pulled over their eyes. What a mess.
Hope you and yours are doing well. I watched the the “kids” reunion show this morning I use the term kids because I find them to be very immature I was surprised to hear how old a couple of them are. As a whole they all acted like english teenagers from the drama to the drinking and swearing. That said I pray they don’t loose their faith in God, and they all go and attend GED classes.
I saw two episodes of that show and my spirit was grieved within me. Sadly, they are being exploited and I’m sure that some, maybe all of their childish, rude, obnoxious behavior was well planned out by the producers. They will be damaged by this expoitation; especially if it continues.
Mose, they need you! Maybe you can try to reach them and get them out of New York and on a road trip to Missouri. We must all pray for them. They are doing a great injustice to you and yours, as well as the Amish that still are bound by the law and not in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Blessings this Thanksgiving to you, yours and all those you have helped. Blessings and prayers to those that are still under the law.
The Lord Bless you;Keep you and
make his light to shine upon you!
As someone raised Amish Mennonite who also watched the Breaking Amish series–and cringed through most of it–I think the show tells us far more about TLC’s mainstream American audiences than it does about the Amish. These audiences want to see the Amish culture as flat and homogeneous and its young people as naive, crude, and backward. These audiences also want to see themselves in the characters–they want the cast members to fulfill their own fantasies about their own choices if they had been born Amish. Most of all, they want to feel superior, sophisticated in comparison to the Amish young people.
Of course TLC/the producers know this better than anyone which is why THEY should be held to account for the deplorable way the Amish culture was presented. They exploited vulnerable people who probably did not fully understand the implications of their involvement. Yes, the cast members have been “out” for years, but that does not necessarily make them savvy about media manipulation.
So, yes, the cast members’ behavior was rude, disturbing, confusing, and sometimes even bizarre, but we are seeing what the producers chose to show us. By asking the “tough questions” on the reunion show, TLC essentially threw the cast members under the bus, without acknowledging their own contribution to and massive profit from this very problematic show.
Hey Mose, you asked for an opinion and I have to agree with Violet. I did not watch both shows because, after watching Out of Order, I simply couldn’t sit through Breaking Amish. If I’m honest I have to say that TLC has a history of copying other shows that have gotten good ratings, but the quality of their shows is nowhere near the original. Your show was genuine and educational. I felt like Breaking Amish was a ploy for ratings and it was obvious.
I am a great fan of your work and have been lurking around for quite some time. A couple blogs ago, you indicated that you was still looking for a title for your book. Here is my humble submission:
“Driving Through The Fire: The Open Exploration of an Ex-Amish”
I love Amish: Out of Order. Didn’t like Breaking Amish at all. I hope NATGEO keeps Amish out of order on tv.