Review Of TLC's Little People, Big World
Little People Big World is as entertaining as it is educational. Airing on The Learning Channel (TLC), the show portrays the family life of the Roloffs, a family of six living on a self made farm near Portland Oregon. In many ways, the Roloffs are like other American families - their kids argue with each other, go to school and soccer practice, the parents bicker about money and bills - but their love and devotion to each other are always obvious. However, many of the shows focus on what is unusual about the parents (Matt and Amy Roloff) and one of their sons, Zach - all of whom have a certain form of dwarfism.
Little People, Big World debuted on March 4, 2006 and has been renewed for a second season. The ratings have been high due to the likeability of this family; they are easy to relate to and hence attract the key ratings audience of viewers ages 18-49. The show follows the daily happenings of the Roloff family, including parents Matt and Amy, and their four children, Zach, Jeremy, Molly and Jacob. Matt, Amy and Zach are "little people" while Jeremy, Molly and Jacob are average height. Interestingly enough, teenagers Zach and Jeremy are twins, despite the fact that Jeremy is of average height and Zach is a dwarf.
The family lives on the 34-acre self-built Roloff Farms, located near Portland, Oregon. Viewers marvel at father Matt Roloff, who, due to his type of dwarfism, must use crutches or a golf cart to get around his property. Matt has overseen and assisted in the building of various public attractions on the farm such as a three-story treehouse, a pirate ship, and a castle. Matt also oversees the money crops of peaches and pumpkins. Matt has designed the farm to be a huge fantasy playground for his children and also as a site for corporate functions, which contributes to the family's earnings. Due to his enormous physical challenges, Matt spent most of his childhood in hospitals and vowed to give his children a different life.
Little People, Big World is like any other reality show is so many ways. It's a fly on the wall view of a "typical American family" and avoids being sensationalistic about the family's dwarfism. The viewers end up learning a lot about the world of little people, accompanying the family to little people social and informational conferences (where Matt and Amy met as young people and incidentally Matt was a former president of Little People of America), holding their breath to see if Zach will ever pass his license test, and watching in delight as Matt finally adapts the family's kitchen to accommodate his 4'0 tall wife.
The show was shot over a six month period and is the most in-depth television documentation of the lives of little people. Life for little people, though typical in so many ways, is more of a challenge than average people can imagine. The ease of driving a car, going grocery shopping and staying at a hotel are activities average height people take for granted. No more, however, after seeing this extraordinary, ordinary family.