On my way back to New York after a long-ish business trip Saturday, I caught a marathon of American Colony: Meet the Hutterites thanks to Jet Blue’s in-flight DirecTV. I can’t tell you why I was riveted; only that I so was.
The plot lines of each episodes are simple with dramas as old-fashioned as a Brady Bunch episode. Jealousy and resentment between two women who are cousins who married two brothers in a double wedding and one kept the china they were supposed to share! Simple family issues set within The Colony, a settlement in Montana where 59 Hutterites, most of whom are related, live and work. A jerky competition that at least half the colony enters and one member sabotages another’s jerky using air freshener.
There are no Kardashians found anywhere. No sex tapes. No Snooki types, although in one episode, the young single Hutterites do shots in a bar.
I came away with so many questions.
What keeps the Hutterites separate from mainstream culture when they engage in much of the same stuff that us “English” do?
They drink. They curse like sailors–including in front of their mothers and by the mothers. They have electricity and cell phones and George Foreman grills! When three wives ditch their workaholic husbands and go to the colony’s cabin in the woods, they bring booze, play Jenga and say words like ‘pissed.’
When the men go to the cabin, they say things like “what happens at the cabin stays at the cabin” which begs the question “are they aware of Vegas? If so, how?”
How did this marriage happen?
Toby looks like a rough Ryan Gosling. Sarah looks like an Amish sister wife (if that could happen) twenty years Toby’s senior and nags like a Real Housewife. They have just one kid, a four year old son, which makes me think this might not be a love match.
Will Claudia get the iPad she craves and where does she get the money for the makeup she wears?
No one wears makeup, only Claudia. Although – spoiler alert – one of their “English” friends comes by and gives them makeovers. When Claudia sees an iPad in a coffee shop (yep, they drink coffee), she’s immediately enthralled and starts asking to borrow money from members of the colony.
Why are Hutterite women forced to make soap from animal fat and lye when the colony uses commercially available products?
I think it’s to keep the women busy, honestly. Gender roles among the Hutterites are strict, yo. Fight the good fight, Claudia!
How bad is the Hutterite gene pool if 75% of the show’s participants need glasses and where do they buy those glasses?
If these were Amish folks, I’d assume they forged steel frames and found some old craftsman in the woods to make lenses, but the Hutterites have cars and stuff. My guess is they drive to Wal-Mart.
Do the women in the colony realize those kerchiefs give everyone an unflattering double chin?
I would love to tie the scarf under the women’s hair instead of the chin, but suspect that would be against the rules. Which leads me to my last question…
Why aren’t there more kids? Don’t they need to add to the colony?
The women wear kerchiefs and hideous sack dresses. This explains everything.
A new episode airs tonight at 10 pm ET