If you were among the 5.4 million viewers who made the premiere of Amish in the City a smashing success, supporters of the widely misunderstood Christian group want you to know that the show does not constitute educational programming.
“This is entertainment and not a PBS documentary,” said Amish scholar David Weaver-Zercher. Amish in the City, UPN’s latest reality TV entry, first aired July 28 and was the evening’s second-highest-rated show nationally and the top show in major markets such as New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
The show follows five people in their late teens or early 20s who grew up in Amish homes but have been set up in a Hollywood house with six non-Amish young people. The Amish are in rumspringa, a traditional time for contemplating whether to join the church. During that time, the young people, because they are not yet bound by church teaching, often drive cars, dress in “worldly” fashions and party.