Amish Mafia and Duck Dynasty; the good, bad, and ugly of reality shows

Amish Mafia on Discovery Channel continues its preposterous tale tonight

Photo: DSC/Amish Mafia

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2013 —There are reality shows like “Duck Dynasty” that are structured but reality based, and there are shows like “Amish Mafia” that are so laughably contrived their creators should be treated like annoying paparazzi. Any opportunity to grab and smash their production cameras should be acted on and applauded as a public service.

True Amish value rural life, manual labor and humility. They are known for simple living, plain dressing and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The Amish also seek to maintain a degree of separation from the non-Amish (English) world. Amish church members practice nonresistance and will not perform any type of military service.

Doesn’t sound much like Jersey and the Sopranos, does it? If Tony Soprano had a pacifist in his crew, he was a well hidden one. One business owner who lives near where “Amish Mafia” is filmed is so sure the show has no basis in reality that he’s offering a tour service to prove it. 

The new tour will probably do well riding on the heels of the newfound notoriety of the Amish, but it isn’t necessary to take the tour to debunk the ridiculous representation of Amish portrayed on Discovery Channel. Just watch one show, and it quickly becomes obvious “Lebanon Levi,” (The “Don Corleone” of the goof squad) is about as scary as an angry Pekinese.

The whole premise that there’s a secret organization that can be called on to do the dirty work of the clean-handed Amish community is a low point, even for reality shows. What’s next, Boca Raton Bob and his crew of angry senior citizens red tagging unsafe golf carts and monitoring expiration dates of tapioca?

If networks insist on following ordinary people around with cameras all day, at least make sure the people they follow are interesting. “Duck Dynasty” is the perfect example. Sure it is structured, but the people are likable as well as entertaining. They rarely take themselves seriously, and most important of all, they know how to have fun.

SEE RELATED: Duck Dynasty cast on Jimmy Kimmel to promote premiere of season 3

As for “Lebanon Levi,” he should stop mocking his faith and practice it more by helping his community in real ways. Help build a barn or plow a field or something. It would certainly be more entertaining than watching him and his little friends play mafia in a dairy barn.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EST:

8 p.m.

ABC: The Middle: (Repeat) Frankie worries Mike is tiring of her as their 20th anniversary draws close; Sue tries to get Axl and Brick’s help planning a party for their parents; Axl spoils the end of a book for Brick.

CBS: Survivor: Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorities: (New) A medical emergency threatens to end one castaway’s ability to continue in the game.

FOX: American Idol: (New) Las Vegas round two. Ten singers perform.

NBC: Whitney: (New) Whitney’s half-sister visits Chicago, and RJ deals with a difficult break-up. Natasha Leggero guest stars.

CW: Arrow: (Repeat) Oliver suspects Diggle’s mentor of robbing armored trucks, but Diggle thinks Oliver’s way off base. Elsewhere, Thea believes that Moira and Malcolm are having an affair; and Tommy, Laurel and Malcolm share an uncomfortable dinner together.

8:30 p.m.

ABC: The Neighbors: (New) Marty offers to teach the Bird-Kersees how to drive; Amber regrets opting for lessons from a driver’s Ed teacher when Ms. Porsche (Sandra Bernhard) turns out to be very unconventional.

NBC: Whitney: (No description available) A romantic-comedy series that charts the humorous highs and lows of an unmarried couple.

9 p.m.

ABC: Modern Family: (Repeat) Jay and the family plan to celebrate New Year’s together at a hotel in Palm Springs, but the hotel doesn’t meet their expectations; Alex and Haley are faced with challenges as they try to watch the kids back at home.

CBS: Criminal Minds: (Repeat) The eighth season begins with a search for an escaped serial killer in Texas who sews the mouths of his victims shut. Meanwhile, the BAU members welcome a new linguistics expert.

NBC: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: (Repeat) A successful S-and-M romance author is sexually assaulted by a TV-show host, and detectives try to persuade the author to press charges. However, an investigation into her background yields an explosive secret, which may ruin her career and the case.

CW: Supernatural: (Repeat) Mrs. Tran and Kevin create a demon bomb to use against Crowley. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean are shocked when Castiel appears and tells them that he escaped from purgatory.

9:30 p.m.

ABC: Suburgatory: (New) Dalia tries to help Mr. Wolfe recover from his breakup with chef Alan; George and Dallas are caught in the crossfire when Noah becomes convinced that Carmen is the love of his life.

10 p.m.

ABC: Nashville: (Repeat) As Rayna settles into the tour, she learns that Deacon has joined Juliette’s band; Juliette wants to make a change but her team disagrees; Scarlett receives an offer from Gunnar.

CBS: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: (Repeat) The 13th season begins with Russell searching for his kidnapped granddaughter.

NBC: Chicago Fire: (Repeat) Peter begins to have doubts about his future as a firefighter after he comes across a young victim’s body at the site of a train accident. Elsewhere, Dawson and Shay deal with an abusive mother; Severide saves a heart-attack victim, aggravating his own injury in the process; and Shay sends Clarice back to her husband.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Amish Mafia: The Devil’s Cut at 8 p.m. on DSC

Haunted Collector at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Hoarding: Buried Alive at 9 p.m. on TLC

Feed the Beast at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on Travel Channel

Full Throttle Saloon at 9 p.m. on truTV

Duck Dynasty at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on A&E

Weed Country at 10 p.m. on DSC

The Americans at 10 p.m. on FX

Stranded at 10 p.m. on Syfy

My Strange Addiction at 10 p.m. on TLC

Southland at 10 p.m. on TNT

Cheese Paradise at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel

Psych at 10 p.m. on USA

House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV

Lords of War at 10:30 p.m. on NGC

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

The Shining on BBC

Absolute Power on ENC

Hellraiser: Inferno on FLIX

Blow on FMC

Signs on IFC

Once on SUND

Family Band: The Cowsills Story on SHO

9 p.m.

Coach Carter on BET

Hall Pass on CINEMAX

The Descendants on HBO

Collateral on HBO

Underworld: Awakening on STARZ

Later tonight:

War Horse at 9:30 p.m. on SHO

The Hills Have Eyes at 10:15 p.m. on IFC

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at 10:31 on AMC

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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