'Amish Mafia' review: An offer to refuse

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John, Alvin, Levi, Jolin in Discovery Channel 's

John, Alvin, Levi, Jolin in Discovery Channel 's "Amish Mafia," which airs on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT before moving to its regular day and time starting Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Photo Credit: Discovery Channel

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THE SHOW "Amish Mafia"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 10:30 on Discovery Channel

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Who knew? The gentle Amish of Lancaster County, Pa., have their own set of enforcers who go around to settle matters large and small. They operate outside of the law, pack heat and kick "uiteinde" (the Dutch word for posterior) when a little uiteinde-kicking is deemed necessary. Tuesday night, it's deemed necessary: a church elder is involved with ladies of the night; a punk has a hit-and-run with a lady's buggy; some dude is extorting sexual favors from an Amish gentlewoman. Who ya gonna call? Meet Lebanon Levi and his henchmen, John, Alvin and Jolin. They're the knuckle-dragging knuckle crackers who take care of business, if you know what I mean.

MY SAY What have the Amish done to deserve "Amish Mafia" and "Breaking Amish" -- TLC's series about a group of young Amish who go to the big city to shed their inhibitions, or at least explore lifestyle alternatives? To put this another way, why is God punishing them? There's nothing particularly offensive about "Amish Mafia" -- unless, of course, you happen to be Amish, or discriminating. OK, let's accept the fact that there's a guy named Lebanon who goes around Amish country and breaks kneecaps, so to speak (though here he mostly just takes pictures for purposes of moral suasion, if you will, to force a straying member of the flock back into the fold). As with "Breaking Amish," some of this is bogus -- or perhaps much of it is bogus. Also, as with "Breaking," the trick is in determining how much. Faces are frequently obscured, all the better to suggest that there are identities to protect, even though the show does say that "select re-enactments of events must be used" to guard the innocent. "Mafia's" clever little sleight of hand is to obscure those faces even during re-enactments -- all the better to disguise the fact that this is a re-enactment.

BOTTOM LINE Dim, dumb, dull, daffy and dippy, Discovery should know better.


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