Amish Mafia episode review: “False Prophets”

So I’m wondering, before I start this week’s snark-packed Amish Mafia episode review…  could the title of this episode be a mondegreen?

A “mondegreen” is another name for a misheard lyric.  You know, as in that Creedence Clearwater Revival song about a bathroom on the right.  Perhaps the title “False Prophets” was misheard as “False Profits,” in which the Discovery Channel is hoping to squeeze out every single penny of the Amish Mafia TV series before the show gets the Old Yeller retirement plan.

Because let’s face it.  The “profits” for the Discovery Channel are moving away from trashy, exploitative ratings-garnering programs like Amish Mafia and Moonshiners and The Devil’s Ride.  Discovery can count on the ratings bonanza of its two gold-mining shows Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold, and I know they’re going to push the horses and buggies and shoo-fly pies out the door in time for the season premiere of Deadliest Catch.  Come on, who do you really want to see, Lebanon Levi or the antics on the F/V Northwestern?  Would you rather hear Duivel Doug yell at his lieutenants, or Captain Keith Colburn yelling at his latest greenhorns?

Yeah, you know Amish Mafia‘s days are numbered.  And because of that… we have to get Lebanon Levi and Duivel Doug together for the big showdown.

And as always, the Amish Church denies the existence of the Amish Mafia.  The Amish Church also denies the existence of the alleged cheesecake photos of Croquet-Mallet Mary Troyer.  And by “cheesecake,” I don’t mean that her neck looks like she gulped down a cheesecake in one swallow.

We’ve got the election episode… and the cops are trying to shut down the filming … and Merlin’s arguing with someone about whether or not Merlin is Amish.  Mary says she won’t be silent any more.  And later she says, “Hell couldn’t be any worse than being Amish.”  Huh?

Anyways, it’s time for high-speed cloud footage, crazy violins, and a meeting between Caleb and Doug and Zach and Alan Beiler.  And Doug’s still cheezed off about the Ordnung changing so that the Amish can pay for electricity in their own name.  And we get a flashback about Doug’s car going boom.   Meanwhile, Alan knows of someone who is taking part in a purity sale.  A purity sale is when Amish kids sell all their English goods after rumspringa.  And maybe there’s a car in the purity sale that can replace Doug’s blown-up Buick.

Meanwhile, Doug and Zach are still hyper-sensitive about the Book of Menno being buried on that farm, and the auction for the farmland coming up soon.  I hope they’ve got their bidding numbers ready.

And now we get another flashback about Governor Tom Corbett and other elected officials trying to get Amish Mafia shut down.  And Levi’s going to try to get Governor Tom Corbett voted out of office.  Hmm… Isn’t this Amish Mafia: The Final Season?  So Corbett won.  Oh wait, he was voted out of office.  So he lost.  And won.  This is like a coin flip landing heads and tails at the same time.

Meanwhile, a woman comes up to Merlin and says that what Merlin is doing is disgusting.  And we now get some blowback from the respectamish.org movement.  And one of their members chastises Merlin and Mary, who were in the middle of filming a scene.  So they’re filming a scene about filming a scene?  The woman tells Merlin that he’s a sellout.  And Merlin is arguing his case.  He claims that the English don’t realize that the Amish are not all peace-loving and shoo-fly pies.  And we get more talk about how the English exploit the Amish image for tourism and tourism dollars.  A producer intervenes, the woman says that the show and the people are fake.  Merlin says that if she looks at it from both sides of the pendulum… both sides of the pendulum?  I guess if the coin swings back and forth…

The producer tries to calm Merlin down, but Merlin’s already downing a cup of cheap coffee and he’s still hyped up.  And later on, Merlin and Mary still go on this screed about how there’s still truth that must be told.  Like molestation, sexual harassment, and Mary tells about girls in the Amish community who were sexually abused.  And that if the girls told anyone they were sexual abused, they’re asked if it was their own fault, or to not talk about it.  Mary talks about the hell that some Amish girls go through because of this.  And Mary starts breaking down.  And Merlin starts crying, he’s upset that Mary has to go through all this.

See, here’s something that I’ve been screaming about that this show should be addressing – the emotional child abuse and rape and incest in the Amish community.  But the problem that this show can’t seem to grasp is that it swings from one extreme to the other – or as Merlin says, “both sides of the pendulum” – in that after all the other crazy things that go on in the show, they’re finally challenged on their beliefs of how Amish are perceived and what their lives are like.  And the part that really bothers me about this is that they’re using respectamish.org as a straw man on the show, as a big bad organization who doesn’t understand the Amish community.  You know, it’s not just respectamish.org – it’s many other organizations that want this show off the air.  And in a few more episodes, we’re going to get our wish, whether we like it or not.

However, I’d love to see a Merlin and Mary spinoff show.  It could be half an hour of Merlin talking about how God gave him a plan, and how Mary can talk about the abuse in the Amish community and then turn around and claim to have seduced some weak-willed black-bumper Mennonites.

Lebanon Levi drives to Harrisburg in his attempts to talk to Governor Tom Corbett.  And after his efforts fail, Levi sets up an interview for the show.  And all of a sudden, a cop comes up and claims that the show is filming in an area without a permit.  And we get a recap of a 1984 memorandum that restricts the filming of Amish in Pennsylvania; and the cops are enforcing that memorandum and shutting down the filming in this location.  Hmm, can we use this Memorandum of Understanding to take out the entire South Central Pennsylvania filming community?

Meanwhile, Duivel Doug and Zach are at a purity sale, which sure as shootin’ looks like a garage sale.  And hey, Doug finds a truck for sale.  Or maybe it’s not for sale.  The purity sale owner won’t sell, but Doug’s still checking out the vehicle.  He offers a grand for the truck.  The owner continues saying it’s not for sale.  Doug ups the offer to $2,000.  And he finally gets the truck for $2,000.  Damn, who needs Carbuyer.com?

Meanwhile, Lebanon Levi offers to help an Amish woman about her son.  And apparently the son is dating an English woman.  You mean, outside of the hut parties and mud parties and volleyball games and all that?  There could be a mixing of religions!  Miscegination!  And Levi’s anti-English bias kicks in again.

Oh look, 23 minutes into the show, and we get Constable Paul Castline trailing Attorney Steven Breit.  Constable Paul Castline is sneaking around, trying to find out more info, yes folks he’s Lancaster County’s version of Inspector Clouseau… he pulls over Attorney Breit and passes the word.  Yada yada yada, move on.  At this point in time, Constable Paul Castline is one of the Keystone State’s top cops.  Yep, he’s a Keystone Kop all right.

It’s auction time!  And look, it’s Jarrod and Brandi!  Dave Hester is here!  And Ivy Calvin and Mary Padian – oh wait, wrong network.  Meanwhile, Doug and Zach are trying to search for the Book of Menno Simons – you know, the book that Bren”t” already found and dug up from the ground and already gave to Lebanon Levi.  Doug pushes Zach around the farm property, as they continue to look for the Book of Menno.  And if they have to buy the entire property to find that book, then so be it.   Too bad the Book of Menno wasn’t written with metal bindings, all you would need at that point would be to get one of those metal detectors that are usually owned by Civil War battlefield souvenir hunters.  By the way, are there any Amish in Gettysburg?

And look, it’s a big black Cadillac… driven by Lebanon Levi King Stoltzfus.  It’s a showdown.  It’s a standoff.  And it’s time for the big auction.  Who’s going to get the house?  Who’s going to get the farmland?  Who’s going to get the rights to the big reserve of oil underneath the property?  I could swear I saw J.R. Ewing scouting out some territory… Doug and Levi do a little bit of posing… Levi calls all the Mennonites cocky.  Pot, meet kettle.

And here’s the auctioneer, who starts the bidding at $350,000.  Damn, that’s some nice starting money for that kind of property.  Might want to consider moving to Lancaster County.  Levi and Doug start bidding.  It’s Mennonite Money versus Amish cash.  Bidding, bidding, bidding, damn it’s already up to a million and a half.  Hammer down… sold to Duivel Doug.  For a million and a half dollars, plus buyer’s premium.

Hey now, Merlin and Mary are flying to New York City for a meeting with members of the respectamish.org movement, who are having a meeting in New York.  Merlin and Mary are planning on crashing the meeting.  I’m trying to figure something out – Merlin is wiling to travel by buggy from Holmes County, Ohio to Lancaser County, Pennsylvania – but he has to fly a shorter distance to New York City?  Someone’s milking those frequent flyer miles.

Doug’s flipping out, he’s trying to find the Book of Menno on the property.  And so far… no success.  And they’re ripping the place to shreds.  And in the basement… they find… something that was buried and now it’s gone.  Could it be the treasure of Blackbeard the Pirate?  Was there a book-shaped “X” in the floor that marks the spot?

Levi is having a meeting with Attorney Steven Breit, who says that Constable Paul Castline might have enough information to put Levi in jail.  Breit also says that there’s some pressure from the Governor to shut down the show.  Levi says to not worry, he’ll take care of the constable.  A blonde-haired woman comes up to Levi in the middle of filming and says that the show disrespects Amish.  I don’t know who the woman is, her face is blurred out – maybe she’s of that blurred-face Amish sect.

So let me get this straight.  Now the show is filming a show about a show that exploits the Amish, while it’s also a show about the problems with filming a show that tells the truth about the Amish?  Jeez, all we need now is for Lebanon Levi and Merlin to have a sit-down three-course meal at the Plain ‘n Fancy with Julia Hatmaker from the Lancaster newspapers – and with me.  The four of us could enjoy a nice luncheon, and then we can talk about many things – you know, like where have the Schmuckers been of late, has anybody seen Jolin or Alvin, and how come we haven’t had a single peek-a-boo from Holmes County, Ohio?  What’s been going on with Wayne and Karrie?  And Ruck Davey?  And Preacher Andrew?  And Vernon who runs all the Madel Glucka shows?  And Crazy Dave the drunk?  And cross-eyed Barb?  And Susanna the tattooed Charity Church girl?  And… and…

Sorry, gotta catch my breath.  This show’s got more cast members than the 15th season of The Simpsons.

The farmer who had his truck “bought” by the Mennonites goes to Levi.  Levi assesses that the Mennonites stole the truck, and after chastising the farmer for even selling anything to a Mennonite, Levi says he will get the truck back.  And he turns to Bren”t” to get it back.

Doug and Zach return to the Mennonite compound, where they find Alan Beiler.  And here we go, Alan brings up how Doug was supposed to clear Alan’s father’s name.  Again?  AGAIN?  Doug rips Alan a new one.  Alan calls Doug a poor man’s Levi.  Doug tells Alan to go help Zach out of the truck.  And it’s getting a bit demeaning.

Meanwhile, that evening, Bren”t” goes to the Mennonite compound… and invoking his magic “T” for Thief power, he sneaks in, hitches two drafthorses to the vehicle, and drives it away.

Constable Paul Castline gets a call about a woman who is threatening to sue him.  Hmm… this sounds familiar… during the off-season, Constable Paul Castline was sued by a woman in York County for violating her civil rights.  And it’s alleged that Levi might be behind all this.

Wait, Constable Paul Castline is being sued?  You mean it’s THIS story?  Damn… I didn’t think they were going to bring THIS story into the mix.

And now we get tonight’s Amish factoid.  Mary makes money by providing an Amish chatline.  And she makes money in the process.  Money that’s generated by a 1960’s wall phone that’s attached to what looks like a plywood phone booth.  That’s right, call 1-900-TIRE-NECK and speak to Mary Troyer, only $2.99 a minute, get your parents’ permission before calling, VISA and MasterCard accepted.

Mary and Merlin have arrived in New York City.  I can’t wait until Merlin goes to Columbus Circle and offers his ordnung to the passers-by.  Did I hear that there was a Gun Metal Grey concert in Greenwich Village?  Maybe Mary scored some free tickets to see Jersey Boys and wants Merlin to accompany her to the show.  And through all this, they find the meeting place of the respectamish.org  movement.  And filming stops because the respectamish.org don’t want to be filmed.  All that trip to New York City for nothing?

Levi approaches the young man who has an English girlfriend.  The young man walks away without talking to Levi.  Levi gets out of his car and attempts ot follow.  But as soon as Levi gets a few feet away from the car… guess what…

Can you feel it?

BOOM!!!!

Levi runs back and –

NOT THE CADILLAC!!!!  Oh sweet Jesus the Cadillac went BOOM!!!  Lord in heaven, I hope the camera guy wasn’t inside the car!!  Which now begs the question.. was the request by Levi to intercede for that young man – was it a ruse to get Levi out of his car before someone blew it to smithereens?

Oh, who am I kidding?  Of COURSE it was a plot!

Next week on Amish Mafia – the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election hangs in the balance.  If Tom Corbett wins, then the Mennonites win and the show goes off the air.  If Tom Corbett loses, then Levi wins and the show stays on the air.

Um… we ARE aware that there are only a couple of episodes left in the series… RIGHT?

No matter… it’s Amish Mafia.  You can never say goodbye to it.

You just say, “Tune in next week for another thrilling episode.”

And I’ll see you next week.