Take it from Leroy Beachy, an Amish minister from Millersburg, Ohio: UPN’s new reality series, Amish in the City, won’t play in Amish country.
The series, debuting July 28, aims to depict rumspringa, a time when Amish youth enjoy relative freedom before deciding to stay in the community. On the show, five Amish youth live in a Hollywood Hills, Calif., home with five urban kids—including a party girl, a club promoter and a “handsome swim teacher.”
As far as Beachy knows, no Amish from his ’hood are in the series, and UPN is mum on casting. Beachy did hear that producers got themselves invited to a traditional “singing,” where Amish kids sing hymns.
“I wish they’d show the world that kind of thing,” says Beachy, “but I’m sure they won’t.” Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), who represents 18,000 Amish in his district, asked to screen episodes before they air, since he worries the series will exploit their religion and violate Amish prohibitions on graven images.
Though UPN insists it doesn’t mock Amish kids, Beachy’s just resigned: “There’s a certain amount of godlessness in the world. If [the producers] can show some of our weak points, I’m sure they’ll be happy. I don’t appreciate it, but, if they did what I’d appreciate, I’m sure they’d be much poorer.” What’s next? Hasidic Baywatch?