Amish Mafia Reminds Me of Dear Old ‘Mom and Dad’

Well, season three of Amish Mafia is well underway, and one thing is clear this time around, the producers, writers, and directors of the show, have just stopped giving a fuck. If the ratings are any indication, viewers might have stopped giving a fuck too, and that’s unfortunate. This beautiful piece of exploitive entertainment is getting better than the WWE.

Season 2 saw the show carry a viewership of around 2.5 million each week. The first season pulled in slightly more than 3 million viewers for each new episode.

So far this season, the numbers seem to be continuing their plummet, with only 2.2 million watching the season 3 premier, and only 1.75 million watching the second episode.

Yeah, 1.5 million is a decent number when compared to other shows. The CW calls Arrow a runaway hit, and it drew 2.5 million viewers last week.

Discovery Channel has been on a roll lately. The cable network reported its best month ever in January, thanks in part to an original mini-series called Klondike.

Ratings 18-49 year olds for cable shows all day, Feb. 26, 2014

Ratings 18-49 year olds for cable shows all day, Feb. 26, 2014, according to TV By the Numbers

In the first season, there was seemingly an effort to create a believable world where the Amish of Lancaster, Pa, were subservient to not only their lord and savior, Jesus Christ, but to a chubby guy name Lebanon Levi, whose buggy bears the brand of the Cadillac ranch.

The show even began with a disclaimer saying the Amish deny the existence of an Amish Mafia, and are very secretive about their culture, so recreations are used to supplement the story telling.

Right before the second season began, real news stories about the black amish guy, commonly called Schwarze Amish, facing criminal charges popped up, as did an increasing number of Internet resources pointing out the show is merely make believe. Season two dealt heavily with this issue, and Schwarze Amish’s dealings with rival Amish mafiosos from Ohio, Merlin and Wayne. Oddly enough, season 3 also kicked off with news about the real John Schmucker facing jail time after getting popped for driving without a license for the 10th time.

Sure, it was clearly off the rails in season two, but nothing like what’s gone on through just three episodes this season.

The crazy midget guy, Wayne, is now a guy with a lot of clout, and he’s got a non-Amish girlfriend, he has to stand on logs in order to kiss her on the lips, to prove it.

Levi is under close watch by the police department, and the brother of the trifling bitch who continually stirs the pot, Esther, is working with them to put Levi away for good.

This, of course, doesn’t stop Levi from sending his cockeyed giant, Big Steve, to the midwest to kidnap someone, sending his young punk foot soldier, Caleb, out to spray manure over Amish people who don’t pay what they owe, or allowing the Rambo of Mennonites, Jolin, to blow up a meth lab with propane gas and an assault rifle. Oh yeah, there is also an Amish guy who likes to wear dresses currently featured on the show as well.

Now there’s a fat Amish chick in Ohio who is the only person in the country who can lead Amish couples properly into the sanctity of marriage, by wrapping  them up in blankets, and then having Amish dudes, put their Amish pricks, inside Amish poonany, but forbids them do the old in-and-out motion, in a ritual allegedly called soaking.

Honestly, I’m still trying to soak all of this in myself.

MomandDadposter

Amish Mafia, and the like, are just doing what exploitation movies have done from their beginning. I always like to go back to Mom and Dad, a sex education film that became one of the highest grossing films of the 1940s.

Mom and Dad was a film about a troubled girl who gets pregnant and has a baby. This sounds boring, and ultimately, it kind of is, but the magic of marketing made it exciting enough for the film to earn an estimated $63, for every dollar spent on production, for profits in excess of $40 million.

The company behind Mom and Dad created its own controversy over the film before they even brought it to town for screenings. When it did come to town for screenings, it was often limited to men-only, or women-only, screenings, accompanied by live, in-person commentary by an expert in the field of young girls getting pregnant.

The marketing technique is basically stolen from carnival barkers trying to get passersby to pay a quarter to see the headless woman, or to watch some geek bite the head off of a chicken. The pitch was far more entertaining and exciting than the product could ever be.

In the case of Mom and Dad, they exploited sex to put butts in seats. Rather than piquing curiosity with sexual titillations, Amish Mafia exploits public curiosity about a secretive culture by claiming outrageous acts are reality.

The pretenses the show is based in any kind of reality in Season 3, however, are gone, and it’s a better show because of it. We’ve got the bullshit behind us now. and we all know it’s fake, so now the creators are free to bust loose with the plot lines and characters.

it’s the kind of thing that would make Vince McMahon proud.

Mom And Dad warning

I used to complain about shows like Amish Mafia cheapening television standards, and lament over Discovery ditching its educational programming for crap like Amish Mafia and Moonshiners. Then I realized I was wrong –– at least when it comes to cheapening TV standards.

Cable television channels are just trying to find the cheapest ways to produce shows and get viewers. If those cheap shows are as good as Amish Mafia, then I’m ready go wild over the next clearance sale, as long as it’s clearly labeled as a real clearance sale, and not advertisements for regular-priced goods. I hate being lied to.

In other words, it’s time to stop trying to shill these shows as being based in any kind of reality, and just admit you’re making shit up for my enjoyment.

Links of interest:

Discovery’s Amish Mafia Page

Mom and Dad Wiki

Amish Mafia Wiki

Snopes Community Calls Bullshit on Amish Mafia

Follow Amish Mafia on Twitter

And from the Internet’s candy store, Buzzfeed, 8 Hilarious Reasons Why “Amish Mafia” Is Fake

Esther Schmucker discusses a recent domestic violence attack, and Lebanon Levi, who just asked her to marry him in the third episode of season 3, had nothing to do with it (Sad story, really)

(And yes, we are aware the validity of any given Wiki post is questionable, but they are a good place to start researching a topic, provided the entry has sufficient source material to explore, and you are aware it all needs fact checked.)

I May Have Conquered My Everest – Accepting ‘Reality’ Shows

The new medication the doc put me on is working small miracles already and it’s only been two weeks since I started taking it. It’s hard to tell where this psychological experiment will end, but for now, i believe it to be the reason I’ve finally gotten the reality television show bug out of my ass.

It happened when I was watching Moonshiners on Discovery last night. The realization of what I was actually seeing hit me and shattered my trance-like daze brought on by the sweet sounds of the southern accent when mangled around the lilt of a thick, neck-of-the-woods-specific dialect. I’m just drawn to the sound.

Moth.

Flame.

Yada yada yada.

19-moonshiners-2-622x468

The moment of clarity snapped so hard inside my mind, my body shivered and my head wobbled on my neck for a split second. Then everything just made sense. The scowl on my face when I fell into the trance was gone, and suddenly the show was outrageously funny to me.

I know what you’re thinking.

“That sounds like a drug story to me.”

It isn’t. This was purely a case of accidental clarity of the mind.

I finally accepted the fact most of the ‘stars’ of these shows are just non-union actors who will stoop to any gimmick necessary to make a few bucks doing what he loves to do.  In this particular case they love  standing in front of the camera, playing pretend with friends, and talking about themselves for hours on end until they find the story that’s just right for this episode.

The plots of the ‘Reality’ shows on Discovery have gotten particularly bold the past few years.

The channel has served us multiple helpings of liquor-making hillbillies and Amish gangsters the past two years, and with each passing season the violence gets taken up a notch on each front.

Weapons are making more frequent appearances on Moonshiners and Amish Mafia, as have segments featuring characters committing acts of property damage by multiple other crimes. One example of this would be ta recent episode of Moonshiners where one group of hillbillies blew up a car belonging to another group of hillbillies who were getting too close to their turf.

If I’m in a mood to be particularly cooperative and social, I might consider overlooking the illegal moonshine making shown each week without it initiating a single legitimate investigative effort by at least one law enforcement agency, but when bullets start flying and cars get blown up, and no police investigate, I just have to call bullshit on it all.

Mafia

When I called bullshit last night, I realized my bullshit declaration was issued far too hastily. I also realized if I’m even buying into this enough to call bullshit at all is an indication I’m giving the show at least some mental analysis, which is more than I wanted to give to it. Yet I’ve somehow subliminally broken the elements of the show down bit by bit, and inside one of those bits I’ve found something that didn’t fit right, so walla, we get the, “I call bullshit.”

I’ve never watched cartoons and thought to myself, “That’s bullshit. He’d fall.”

That would be ridiculous. So why am I giving these reality shows more credibility and hold them to a higher standard than I would a good cartoon?

I know better. Or so that’s what i thought.

The fact the word ‘reality’ was ever allowed to describe these shows to an unsuspecting viewing audience, is a little rage inducing. I hate seeing concrete terms like reality, as described in the countless philosophy books written about it, twisted and manipulated into a marketing tool.

The reality of these shows is it’s much cheaper to put reality stars in dramatic situations and lead them to the appropriate conclusion by using the right bait, than it is to pay a real actor to pretend doing it and still have to deal with the union on top of it all.

460582753_640

Unions play a major role in the world of entertainment and some claim reality shows are just ways for producers to work around unions on technicalities, much the way some employers do by hiring ‘contractors’ to do work rather than incur the expense of hiring an employee to do the work. Expenses can be avoided when the need arises.

It’s been an issue for a while now, and still might one day be presented to the US Supreme Court for a ruling.

What we’re seeing billed as reality television right now is the equivalent of the b-movies tha fueled the business of independent theaters and drive ins in the 60s and 70s. This is the revival of exploitation filmmaking and it’s just taken me a decade to realize it.

I’m slow like that sometimes.

Once this clicked, things like knowing a film crew with mics, lights, and cameras, are following a guy who is trying to hide in the woods, and camera crews someone manage to ride with cops and bad guys, without ever being bullied into telling what they know by the cops, no longer bother me as badly as they once did.

Some of these shows are just the Dukes of Hazzard without guys like James Best, Ben Jones, John Schneider, and Tom Wopat, walking off the set because they believe they should make more money.

Reality show stars aren’t pretending to be believable actors and the producers and directors aren’t going out of their way to make it seem realistic, so why am I being such a dick about it? I’ve got the easiest job in this scenario. I just have to watch the cheaply produced, poorly written, b-grade entertainment, and laugh at it when something funny happens.

I’m over it now.

I now have one less hateful monkey digging its claws into my back and screaming in my ear when it gets agitated.

This is a major accomplishment. I might even journal about it later tonight when I’m sipping my nightly mug of hot cocoa while listening to Chopin on the hi-fi. it’ll be a welcome break from all the flower pressings I’ve been doing lately. If I see another Crysanthemum I’ll scream. I swear.

Episode 74b Take Two: Batfleck and the Amish Mafia Take Over the Podcave

Episode 74b Take Two: Batfleck and the Amish Mafia Take Over the Podcave

The best part of Episode 74b Take Two is knowing that every time Jeremy hears himself call Zack Snyder Scott Snyder, he cringes and wants to punch himself in the nuts. Lee talks bunches about Amish Mafia while Jeremy has enough Bat Chat to last him an episode. Jeremy explains why the internet is wrong about Ben Affleck, and how Grant Morrison got some heat for his thoughts on the Alan Moore classic ‘The Killing Joke’.

Episode 74b Take Two: Batfleck and the Amish Mafia Take Over the Podcave

ALTERNATE COVER FOR Episode 74b Take Two: Batfleck and the Amish Mafia Take Over the Podcave

Episode 74b Take Two: Batfleck and the Amish Mafia Take Over the Podcave (ALTERNATE)

Episode 46: Twitter Reject and the Pot Smoking Pop Star

AcidPopCult46

In this episode Roxy confronts Lee, Jeremy confronts Roxy, and Lee confronts himself, as some in-house dirty laundry gets aired out for everyone to hear. The terrible trio also spends time discussing the latest outbreak of Bieber fever, and when that smoke settles, the discussion turns to Amish gangsters, Tales from the Crypt, and neat-o online resources for obscure films. Roxy then professes her love for Udo Kier yet again as she pulls Lars Von Trier’s The Kingdom from her rack. There’s even an open letter to the pricks in Hollywood and much more in this episode, which might be one destined for the podcasting Hall of Fame.

Episode 46: Twitter Reject and the Pot Smoking Pop Star