When we last left our “Amish Mafia” crew…

Just for the record, there are new episodes of Amish Mafia, the trashiest, most offensive faux-reality TV series ever filmed, beginning in January.  Yep, this show has now reached the level of “nothing can kill it.”  In a nuclear explosion, Amish Mafia would survive, along with Twinkies, Keith Richards and cockroaches.

And it’s kinda ironic… considering that two other reality-TV shows have been cancelled because of off-screen drama.  All you fans of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo will have to pout and moan, as Honey Boo Boo’s mother has been confirmed to be in a relationship with a registered sex offender.  Eww.  And if you were a fan of the show Sons of Guns, a program about a store that builds custom-requested weaponry… well, that show got pulled when one of its main actors was arrested for having sexual relations with his 12-year-old daughter.  Triple Eww.

And yet, Amish Mafia survives, even after all the off-screen drama about Esther Freeman Schmucker and her abusive boyfriend.  Even after all the protests in Lancaster County, Pa. that say that Amish Mafia is actually hurting tourism in the area.  Even after a promotional appearance by Lebanon Levi, Merlin Miller and Alan Beiler at Lancaster’s baseball stadium was cancelled after local protestors picketed the event.  At this point in time, Amish Mafia is about as popular in Lancaster County as store-bought shoo-fly pies.

Still, the return of the show does bring some changes in the cast.  The growing cast of Amish Mafia – which seemed to add new cast members with every episode – has been trimmed.  According to this news report, three of the main characters that have been with the show since Day 1 – John Schmucker (who can’t stay out of jail long enough to film a complete season), Jolin Zimmerman (the moody Mennonite moved to Texas after Season 3) and Esther Freeman Schmucker (guess that doppel leben has worked out well for her) are now longer part of the show.

There might be some issues with another character on the show, Constable Paul Castline.  According to Lancaster Online, Castline is being sued by a woman in York County on charges that Castline violated the woman’s due process rights.  An officer of the law – violating a private citizen’s due process rights?  Quel courage!

But I guess the overall theme for the upcoming fourth season of Amish Mafia is going to be the existence of Amish Mafia itself.  Supposedly the show will integrate the various protests and public statements as made by the respectamish.org organizers – those groups of private citizens who feel that the Amish Mafia show not only portrays the plain folk in a horrible light, but that it also damages Lancaster County’s biggest and most important source of income – tourism.

As for my thoughts and opinions on this issue…

I’m not going to lie.  This show generates a tremendous amount of blog traffic and clickthroughs, which earn the Times Union plenty of pretty pennies (and, being a community blogger, earn me NO pretty pennies).  The show generates plenty of conversation, and my posts not only shine a light on the good and the bad in Amish culture, it also shines a light on some of the worst acting jobs in contemporary television; it uncovers the worst scripts and plotlines ever generated; and it also shows that this program will exploit ANYTHING – even Esther Schmucker being physically abused – for ratings.

See, for me this is what Amish Mafia is about.  It’s not just a show about a group of plain folk vigilantes and enforcers.  It’s a show about MAKING a program involving these kinds of plotlines and stories.  It’s the angry violin music and timelapse photos of rickety windmills and horse-drawn plows.  It’s the narrative interviews that look about as scripted as a Saturday Night Live cue-card sketch.  It’s the attempts to create reality where none existed.

The fourth season of Amish Mafia is scheduled to debut in January on the Discovery Channel.

And once those episodes debut… so as well do my Amish Mafia episode reviews.

Let’s face it.  We all enjoy trash television in one form or another, whether the operative word is “Kardashian” or “Bachelorette” or “Kardashian” or anything else.

Your trash might not be my trash.

But it’s still trash nonetheless.  Right?