January 5, 2013

America's Amish Obsession

Lisa Miller, Washington Post

The week before Christmas, 3 million people watched the Discovery Channel’s new reality show, “Amish Mafia,” making it the second-most-viewed cable show that night, after the trashy hit “Moonshiners.” This is surprising for two reasons: First, it reveals Americans’ enduring fetish with all things Amish; there are 250,000 Amish in North America, putting the number of people watching “Amish Mafia” at more than 10 times the number of actual Amish people. And second, the show is really so awful, it doesn’t deserve to be on TV.

The fourth episode, which aired this week, reached new lows of ludicrousness. The Amish mafia don Lebanon Levi absconds to Florida with Esther, the girl he loves, who at the beach discards her...

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