Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Amish: Out of Order
Follows Trials of Ex-Amish 

It’s a Whole New Ex-Amish World With Girls, Beer, Cage Fighting and Cars,
But Family Rejection, Car Crashes, No Credit and Little Education Dampen Dreams

Amish: Out of Order Premieres Tuesday, April 17, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

It takes a lot to leave the only life you’ve ever known—for one you’ve been told will lead you straight to hell. And with little possibility of normal contact with your family ever again, turning your back on the Amish order is an immense undertaking, a choice that’s not made without tremendous consideration.

In National Geographic Channel’s new 10-part series Amish: Out of Order, premiering Tuesday, April 17, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, from the producers of Amish in the City and The Devil’s Playground, follow the trials and tribulations of individuals who have made the decision to leave the Amish community behind. We’re led into their lives by Mose Gingerich, a modest celebrity “ex” and de facto mayor of the community who mentors his fellow “exes” of all ages and is committed to improving their future. He says he has “pursued my vision or dream of exploring the world to the fullest,” including appearing on Amish in the City, conducting TV and radio interviews, writing a book and having a family.

The Amish believe in a simple, plain life, with almost no modern conveniences. Most Amish will not appear on camera. It’s a lifestyle that has remained largely unchanged since the 18th century. While the people featured on Amish: Out of Order might be absolutely sure of what they left behind—and why—they most likely have no idea what awaits them in our unfamiliar “English” world. And for this unprecedented series, the individuals who are featured are risking being permanently shunned, but are determined to tell their stories.

Go to the homes of some of the largest ex-Amish communities in the U.S. Being surrounded by like-minded people from very similar backgrounds makes it easier for men and women of all ages to transition from their Amish lives to the outside world. They are met with acceptance and understanding even as they are often shunned and ostracized from the homes and communities in which they grew up.

Ex-Amish teen Jonas, like many Americans his age, is thrilled to get his driver’s license, but a terrible car wreck causes him, and those around him, to rethink their life choices. Esther is trying to become the first ex-Amish actress and is dating an “English” guy. Chris has started cage fighting and has his first amateur fight in front of an audience coming up. And in a rare dichotomy, we’ll meet Michaela, a non-Amish teenager whose heart is set on joining the Amish.

By discovering and sharing what it takes for the ex-Amish to survive and assimilate into our society on a day-to-day basis, and learning more about specific Amish rituals and traditions—from barn building to funerals—viewers gain a perspective on Amish life and identity that’s never been offered until now.

Premiere episodes include:

Amish: Out of Order: Amish 101
Tuesday, April 17, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
In the series opener we’re introduced to the Columbia, Mo., ex-Amish community. Chris Y. and his older brother Reuben—both ex-Amish—go to pick up their Amish friend Michael, who wants to leave the sect too, but he’s a no-show. The brothers learn that for some, leaving the Amish isn’t as easy as it was for them. A number of other ex-Amish with hopes, dreams, passions and inclinations that weren’t satisfied within the confines of their Amish upbringing and culture are introduced—including Chris L., a roofer and cage fighter; and Mose Gingerich, the de facto mayor of the ex-Amish community who’s helped other ex-Amish adapt to the “real world” for more than nine years.

Amish: Out of Order: Culture Clash
Tuesday, April 24, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
It becomes apparent that Amish culture depends on—and is defined by—the particular way they dress, groom and interact with their land. Mose Gingerich, who is usually the one to help ex-Amish transition to the “English” life, has a crisis of faith as Michaela, a non-Amish teenager whose heart is set on joining the Amish, challenges his views. Michaela has a troubled family history and so is drawn to Amish simplicity and strong devotion to family and community—but it might not be so easy. We also meet Cephas, a young ex-Amish man with a strong Amish work ethic—but a decidedly un-Amish love of progress and a desire to be successful. He dreams of owning land—the cornerstone of Amish culture—but without a high school education or even a credit record, it’s not as easy as he thought it would be when he left.

Amish: Out of Order: Can't Go Home Again
Tuesday, May 1, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Ex-Amish teen Jonas has attained the dream that he shares with millions of American teenagers—a driver’s license. But his newfound freedom is cut short when a terrible car crash lands him in the hospital, fighting for his life. The Amish see cars as a threat to their traditional way of life, promoting vanity, individuality and a fast-paced life—and driving one is seen as a complete disregard for the Amish way of life. Jonas’ accident devastates the ex-Amish community and in particular his adopted English parents, Peggy and Hoss. What makes things worse is the fact that Jonas’ Amish father tells him that if he had died while not part of the Amish community, he would have spent an eternity in hell.

Amish: Out of Order is produced by Stick Figure Productions for the National Geographic Channel (NGC).  For Stick Figure Productions, executive producers are Steven Cantor, Terry Clark and Daniel Laikind.  For NGC, executive producer is Richard Wells, executive vice president of programming is Michael Cascio.

For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com