Each cast member this season is in a distinctly different situation in everything from relationships, connection with the community, and experience with living English but all five of the principals desire the same thing from going to New York City: to see if it will make their lives any better.
The third season premiere of “Breaking Amish” centers entirely around the pre-break part of the five principles’ journey and the struggles they are going through as they decide whether leaving the community is the right choice.
With Matthias and Bates, leaving the community is all about chasing their artistic dreams to see if they are able to make it in a competitive landscape of acting and country music. The brief glimpses we see of both practicing their passions give the impression that they are both at least moderately talented at what they hope to do professionally.
Vonda and Barbie are the least connected to the community when we first meet them. Vonda works an English job as a hotel maid (which is common and allowed) and goes to a tanning bed on the sly, but she also spent time away from the community previously after her boyfriend passed away from cancer. Even though Barbie’s dad is the community preacher, she has a hidden trove of English belongings and a boyfriend, with the potential to become a fiancé, who has already broken away from the Amish lifestyle.
Miriam is the most unique of the group having been shunned from the community for giving birth to a child out of wedlock with an English man. She is also the most progressive, as her main goal is to work on a construction team as an equal member regardless of her gender. Her desire to support her son brings out a fire in her that the camera crew captures on a visit to a construction site where she is spurned because she is a woman.
Even though each member of the group is in a situation separate from the others (they are all from different parts of the country) they each are looking to get similar things out of a trip to New York. The ability to see whether living without rules in a city that doesn’t really have them will be a true test for each of them to see if breaking from their families for good is the best option.
Although authenticity for the show has been questioned in the past as well as for this season, the truth behind the emotions each of them goes through cannot be questioned. Barbie specifically, who we see break the news to her parents and sister on a tear-filled phone call from down the street, seems the most broken-up about this trial separation.
Matt’s conflicted conversation with his newly pregnant wife may look heartless watching from the outside, but the concept of following your dream is a universal feeling and it is hard to blame someone leaving his family for a brief time if it means improving their own outlook on life and their prospects as a functioning adult.
The season will surely hold countless adventures for this quintet of Amish young adults, every one more out of the ordinary for them than the last. Chances are some will stay away from their upbringing while a few return to the life they know but whatever the outcome watching each of them discover a completely different way of life in the city will be entertaining and eye-opening.