Move over Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty, there’s a new train wreck in town and its name is Amish Mafia. Billed by Discovery Channel as the “first-ever look at the men who protect and maintain peace and order within the Amish community in Lancaster,” it is a series masquerading as reality. (Nowhere on the Discovery show website will you actually find the words “real,” “reality,” or, well, “actual.” But you will find a Cow Patty Bingo game.) But this hot mess of painful improv is actually getting high ratings: the Wednesday, December 26th showing of the first three episodes was number one among adults aged 18-49 for cable programs.
The show purports to follow the “real” Lebanon Levi, an Amish man who was never actually baptized as Amish, and his gang of merry gentlemen — Mennonite Jolin (pronounced Jo-lynn), Not-Malachai-from-Children-of-the-Corn Alvin, and Apprentice John—as they maintain peace, provide protection, and collect payments from local businesses. Oh, and there’s John’s younger sister Esther, who uses her womanly-wiles to advance her brother in the “organization.” In the first three episodes the men investigate a buggy accident, blackmail an “important man in the community” who was caught going to a prostitute, host a party, burn pot, and host a barn fight. They drive Mercedes, have tattoos, own guns, and do pretty much everything else you would never expect Amish to do.
And though there are countless quotes to mention, these are the most memorable (many requiring little or no commentary).
1. “In prison, the blacks had their own group. The Asians had their own group. But I didn’t have a group for me. So I had to get really smart or be the bitch.”
2. “Amish culture…” “Amish community…” “Amish goods…” “Amish man…” “Amish like…” And the drinking word is…
3. “I don’t feel it’s right when somebody comes into our community and dresses Amish or pretends he’s Amish just so he can make money.” Uhhh…
4. The first episode begins with the following: “The Lancaster County Police have refused to comment on Lebanon Levi.” And that’s probably due to the fact that there’s no such thing as the Lancaster County Police. It’s actually the Lancaster City Police Department.
5.“I didn’t know there were China Amish people.”
6. “I’ll tell you right now. If he lays one finger on you I will take his dick and shove it down his throat.” When spoken in fake Pennsylvania Dutch it almost sounds like praying.
7. “In the Amish culture, having yourself photographed is like idolizing yourself. And the only idols you should have would be God and Jesus.” But apparently, being on film? Totally fine.
8. Also beginning each episode: “To ensure the safety of innocent Amish, select re-enactments of events must be used.” Which therefore permits the show’s creators to use Knight Rider music and Unsolved Mysteries visual effects in every scene.
9. “Our Amish taxi driver brought something to my attention… He said that, uhm, that this important guy… [has] been asking him for the past two years now to drive him to this hooker’s place.”
10. “Green corn.” Apparent Amish slang for pot.
11. “The Amish primarily drive horse and buggies. Buggy accidents with cars happen quite a bit. And it’s bad for the buggy.”
12. “Those Amish kids… they know how to party.” Cut to images of blurred-faced, bonneted women doing body shots and keg stands.
13. “Are you kidding me? Why are you always, like, coming to me, like, don’t you think there’s time when you should man up and you should go talk to Levi? I can’t always solve your problems for you. I can’t, like, fight all your battles for you.” Which I swear was the exact speech Kelly McGillis gave to her character’s son in Witness.
14. And the pièce de résistance: “Hey. Have you seen the black Amish?”