Breaking Amish: 'Brave New World' a little dark and depressing - Macleans.ca

Breaking Amish: ‘Brave New World’ a little dark and depressing

Manisha Krishnan on the season premiere

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People are often resentful of how quickly reality TV stars acquire wealth and fame without really having to do anything.

In the case of Breaking Amish, it almost feels like someone should set up a donation fund for the cast.

If Sunday’s premiere of Brave New World is any indicator, life has not been kind to the five young protagonists who left their Amish and Mennonite communities behind. Their “new world,” is in fact a dark and depressing one.

The series kicks off in Lancaster, PA, with Sabrina, now a bottle blonde (with some serious roots), reading aloud a letter from her aunt, who is unhappy about her niece’s decision to leave the Mennonites.

“How would you live your life today, if you knew you had no tomorrow?” It reads. “This decision is truly the decision between life and death. What is your choice? Life or death?”

Things get bleaker from there.

It turns out Sabrina’s boyfriend Harry, with whom she moved into an old church basement, is in prison for assault. The 26-year-old now places a shotgun beside her front door out of fear.

“I’m paranoid now because I’ve been harassed so much,” she says. “I’m tired of people constantly knowing who I am.”

Abe and Rebecca, who have now been married nine months, are shacked up in a one-bedroom apartment in Punxsutawney, PA, with Rebecca’s daughter. Their families are nearby and have accepted their “English” (non-religious) lifestyle but almost no one else has. Abe is unable to find construction work because it’s mostly Amish people in charge of local projects.

“It’s hard not really being Amish anymore but also not really being English,” says Rebecca.

“I just think we’re a little bit lost.”

Meanwhile, Jeremiah, who looks and acts like he stepped off the set of Jerry Springer, is relaxing in Sarasota, Fla., — an Amish vacation spot — with his new girlfriend Kim. The two of them had previously been crashing with Sabrina, but things “got out of hand,” when Kim learned about Sabrina and Jeremiah’s romantic past.

“Kim’s a hot girl, but sometimes she can get very jealous,” remarks Jeremiah.

Kate appears to be doing better than any of her other cast mates, at least financially speaking. She’s pursuing a modelling career in New York City with some success. But she laments over the pressure to be perfect.

“I have to keep my skin clear, I can’t be too fat. If I break out it’s a problem,” she says.

After a good 45 minutes of doom and gloom updates, we get to the crux of the new season with Jeremiah convincing the rest of the gang to join him in Sarasota. Because they’re all depressed, and this is a reality TV show, they agree.

Oddly, Jeremiah decides to meet the others in Pennsylvania and road trip back down with them. He “surprises” Sabrina (she doesn’t seem too happy about it) and asks to crash on her couch for a few days. She obliges, and the show alludes to them hooking up again.

While packing for the trip, Abe and Rebecca get into a huge fight when Abe says his teenage sister Katie Ann wants to tag along.

Rebecca says she’s too young and worries that the couple’s reputation will be further smeared by leading someone else away from the Amish lifestyle. Abe, infuriated, tells his wife, “Go f–k yourself.”

Hopefully, Sarasota will breathe some new life into these five young ex-Amish. It doesn’t look like things can get a lot worse.

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