Vanilla Ice Goes Amish Saturdays, 10 p.m., DIY Network.
Vanilla Ice is a likeable guy, which makes him easy to watch on TV but also make his new reality show Vanilla Ice Goes Amish a little dull. Although living in an Ohio Amish community means that Ice has to go without electricity and get up at the crack of dawn to help with chores on the farm where he’s staying, he approaches all of it with good humor and a can-do attitude. Instead of culture clashes and passive-aggressive griping, Goes Amish is full of friendly understanding and mutual respect.
Sending a has-been pop star to live with the Amish is only half of what the show’s about, though; like The Vanilla Ice Project, Ice’s previous series on the DIY Network, Goes Amish is also a home-renovation show, following Ice as he learns from Amish master builders and helps give members of the community fancy home makeovers. Anyone who watched The Vanilla Ice Project knows that Ice is genuinely knowledgeable about home improvement, and the renovation parts of Goes Amish follow the familiar beats of the genre. Ice and his crew start with a run-down house or room, break it down and then build it back up, with the owner looking suitably awed at the reveal.
With the weird ubiquity of the Amish in current reality TV (Breaking Amish and its spinoffs, Amish Mafia), plus the continued popularity of reality shows featuring C-list celebrities (Ice himself appeared on the 2004 season of The Surreal Life), Goes Amish could come off as a lame bid for attention from an obscure cable channel. Ice’s sincere openness and eager demeanor elevate the show from bottom-feeding trash, but they also leave it a little lacking in excitement.