This weekend is a big one to celebrate the Amish culture, at least if you dig rapper-turned-renovator Vanilla Ice. He has a new series premiering on Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern called “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” on DIY Canada, or if you are in the United States reading this, the show premieres Saturday at the same time.
The premise for Vanilla Ice, otherwise known as Rob Van Winkle, is to see how work is done in a part of the world where technology is scarce, and you need to get permission from a local bishop in order to even operate electricity. The Amish community is tight-knit, and Rob spends two months in Ohio learning to take part in their activities, see how to renovate under these circumstance, and check out their daily lives. It’s certainly not an easy transition, especially when you start to miss little things like reading lamps or things to wake up in the morning that are not roosters.
While there are a few interesting tidbits about construction that you can pull out of this if you are a DIY junkie, we find the series most compelling from a cultural “how the other half lives” perspective. So long as you haven’t seen many other Amish-themed series as of late, there’s a lot to pull out here about the quality of the furniture that they build, how they operate some appliances using natural gas rather than electricity, and how important the phrase “early to bed, early to rise” really is within their world. It’s a fun, breezy half-hour that you learn something watching, and Rob (who mostly operates without referring to himself by his famous moniker) is game for anything that the Amish people throw at him.
While you see the difficulties that Rob goes through in becoming a part of the Amish world, there was one question that we were curious about after watching the premiere: How did he become re-acclimated to normal life once it was over? We caught the premiere at a party thrown in his honor in downtown Toronto earlier this week, and we asked him that very question:
“It was crazy to get back into life. [I had] all of my emails and social media to catch back up on, but it’s amazing that I forgot about it for a while living out there. One of the things that I did notice [is that] we make life so much faster. They take life so much slower. They sit on the porch and tell great stories and jokes. I didn’t miss my TV, my phone, or anything.”
“Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” is definitely worth a look if you’re interested in some fun weekend TV that makes an effort to entertain and enlighten. You may actually learn something, and maybe for a split-second in watching you can feel the same way that Rob did when sitting on that porch: You can enjoy life for the simple things.