Getting a peek into the infamously secluded Amish community is rare enough, but starting this week, the Discovery Channel is offering an even more exclusive look at the enforcers who the religious sect enlists to uphold the law of the land with the new series “Amish Mafia.”
The show, which will have a sneak preview Tuesday night, promises to expose one of the already secretive Amish community’s most tightly kept secrets as Lebanon Levi leads a powerful team of Mennonite “mafia.” The gang is part “Law and Order,” part “The Sopranos,” and have been charged with resolving disputes in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
They spend their days dishing out justice and enforcing the laws of Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Amish community, which is perhaps best known for its quaint lifestyle, handmade goods and rejection of modern luxuries such as cars and electricity.
There’s already an appetite for spoiled housewives, drunken party kids and self-proclaimed rednecks, so networks are banking on the Amish to be the next big thing for reality TV.
“Reality television and the Amish are really a match made in TV heaven,” media critic Michael Levine said.
National Geographic’s “Amish: Out Of Order” and Discovery sister-network TLC’s “Breaking Amish” have also focused on the wilder side of Amish life.
“It is a controversial concept and reality feeds on controversy,” Levine said. “It’s outrageous, it’s mysterious and it’s unexpected.”
The network’s website acknowledges that much of the show will be re-enactments, but all the stories are the honest truth, Levine said.