Nisha Gopalan
August 13, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

If it weren’t for ”Amish Paradise,” (Weird Al’s homage to that Coolio song) and the 1985 Harrison Ford movie ”Witness,” most of us wouldn’t know a thing about being Amish. Busting that world wider open: UPN’s ”Amish in the City.” On this ”Real World”-meets-rumspringa (see review on page 76), Amish youths (including hunky farm boy Randy, top) move in with ”English” (that would be non-Amish) kids for the period when they contemplate committing to Amish culture and getting baptized into the church as adults — which opens up a whole new set of questions.

Can too much rumspringa get folks booted from the church?

”The Amish church, to its credit, will accept anybody who confesses their sins and commits to following Amish practices,” says Donald Kraybill, a scholar of all things Amish at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. ”In general, the boundary line would be if someone committed murder or adultery. But normally those kinds of people don’t want to come back.”

One of the young Amish women (Miriam, center) referred to her posterior as her ”booty” after trying on bikinis. How do the Amish know slang?

Despite eschewing many modern conveniences, the Amish ”do read public newspapers,” says Kraybill. ”And some of them may go over to an English neighbor’s home and watch television, or they may listen to the radio in a truck taking them to work.”

Some of those loudmouthed non-Amish — that means you, Nick (bottom) — are just asking for an ass whupping. Will the Amish bite?

”They don’t believe in the use of force to resolve problems. Even litigation is unacceptable,” says Kraybill. ”A wrestling match would be fine.”

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