Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TLC's Little People, Big World to return Jan 4th, in the meantime, more and more LPs on TLC

For any confused viewers, Little People, Big World featuring the Roloff family will return next Monday, January 4th, 2010. As has been the norm lately, there will be only one new episode: "Zach's ear"

"After months of increasing problems with his hearing, Zach learns he needs ear surgery. But what begins as a short and simple procedure, becomes a lengthy reconstruction of Zach's eardrum."

The 8:30 episode Jan 4th will be a repeat, "Downhill Dwarf" -- when Matt and Jeremy go skiing/snowboarding.

Little People, Big World was not on last night, Dec 28th. It was a marathon of Cake Boss, with a bit of a new TLC show "Little Chocolatiers".

Tonight, Tuesday on TLC is a marathon of "The Little Couple".

About a month ago, TLC had another show, featuring an LP couple having a baby.

We've received several emails and comments about TLC's love of Little People, so we thought we would open it for discussion.

What do LPBW fans think of TLC introducing so many shows featuring people with dwarfism? Is it exploitation? Is it a case of the more exposure the better? Do you like seeing new TLC shows featuring people with dwarfism other than the Roloffs or do you roll your eyes and think TLC is over-doing it with the LP themed shows?

37 comments:

Danica Keeley said...

For me its a little too much! I originally started watching LPBW when it first started because they were a good Christian family...but all the other little people shows are okay but I'm not very interested. I wonder how actual little people feel about it though?

Joanne said...

Well, we are the ones who decide what to watch so it dosent really matter to me what TLC airs. I love the Roloffs, and I also like the little couple, Jen and Bill. But those are the only 2 I choose to watch.

Poor Zach.. More surgery.

Rap541 said...

Personally.... I don't know. They also seem to be pushing "huge family" shows.

And ironically I think "The Little Chocolatiers" is a perfect combo of "lp show" and "adults doing some job thats sorta crafty show" like Cake Boss.

I know for my own viewing, I've enjoyed some of the "dwarf" shows (The Littlest People In the World) and been bored beyond belief with others (Little Couple). I've also been a little horrified at the tackyness of some of the "people with stuff wrong" shows. Like Treeman, Mermaid Girl...The Final Days of Mermaid Girl....

The freakshow mentality is tacky.

Tashapork said...

it is hard because I really like the Roloffs and I really like Jen and Arnold. I have gotten kind of to a point where I don't really think of them as dwarves. I do get the impression that TLC is trying to cover it's bases with some backup programming in case of a Jon Gosselin experience where a show is suddenly cancelled. My particular issue with tlc is that it is doing too many food shows, I already have the Food network.

M said...

I understand making shows on LPs and making it the norm. Good for them.
BUT it seems now that TLC is trying out possible replacements for LPBW.
They no longer have cash cow J&K+8. So they must be trying hard to get another. But seriously TLC needs some new ideas... The whole channel is about big familys and little people. Even cake boss is about a large italian family.

Kit said...

While it seems to be just a variant of "dwarf tossing" to me, I'm willing to concede that perhaps it's just the typical behavior of TV execs. You know, if one premise works, then more of the same must be better. TLC = The Lazy Channel? So first we get the Duggars, and then the Table for Twelve family, and the Maschles, and all the other folks with multiple kids. First we get LPBW, so now we have a doctor and a "business" guy, chocolatiers (the name, while linguistically accurate, is certainly very Disney-ish, isn't it?), the new parents, etc.

Or maybe TLC is auditioning replacements in case Amy and Matt's marriage disintegrates or they decide to stop filming (Matt stop filming? Hahahahaha...).

What I sincerely *hope* is NOT happening is that TLC is using these families because of the perceived "cute" factor, but the sudden plethora of these shows lends some uneasy credence to that opinion.

Maybe the little people involved don't care what TLC's motive is, because *they* see the shows as the chance to change that perception and get average people to see them as the real people they are. So TLC and the little people are using each other.

Frankly, though, as a viewer, I'm bored. Maybe there is an audience that wants nothing but dwarfs and kids, all day, all the time, but I'm not part of it.

Anonymous said...

It is a good way to get the public more familiar with little people, but they're just overdoing it now. Too many little people themed shows.

Anonymous said...

The showing of new LP shows may indicate TLC might be looking to cancel LPBW and replace it with another dwarf show. My bet is on LP couple having a baby. LPBW has gone stale. The kids have all grown up and there isn't anymore storyline to show.

Anonymous said...

Animal Planet will have a show starring a little person soon. It's called Pit Boss. It looks good.

I don't look at the little person aspect anymore. They are just people some with more entertaining shows than others.

I also find Kit's first sentence very offensive.

Sandy said...

Discovery Health ran the best example of a dwarf family "Meet the Fooses". They show how a family with dwarfism live and functioning just like the average family does(not a nut like matt making his own disneyland). It was done in taste and facts. Not pushing the Amy's quote "we can do anything an average height person can; just in a different way." The Fooses showed Yes they can have jobs,college degrees and family life; but there are problem being dwarf and not everything can be equal for them. The Fooses' showed a mother who even though she was small had rules and control of her kids. Plus she kept the house spotless. To me this was the only realist show depicting a dwarf family and its kids. Living an average life not the fairy tale that Amy & Matt depict. LPBW who has the farm hands do most of the work on the farm but makes view believe Matt does it all. I'm a LP and with all these LP show that TLC is putting on they are making a side show out of little people just to get ratings. Example the name "Little Chocalateres" Couldn't it be just the chocolaterie why the word little we aren't blind.
Just my two cents.

Brandon said...

Thanks for posting, Sandy.

I've wondered what other LP who are not good friends of the Roloffs think of LPBW and the Roloffs as their representatives.

I thought it would be similar to someone like Donald Trump having a "day in the life of" type reality show and telling people this is what life is like for the average American.

I agree with what you said about the Fooses and the "little" chocolatieres.

Anonymous said...

The Foos family was okay for one episode but they were boring. They couldn't have a series without putting everyone to sleep. The Roloffs are rarely boring.

Kapper said...

Talk about overkill. TLC takes everything to the extreme. Why on earth so many shows about Little People and multiples? Why not just one of each?
And an entire SERIES on making cakes???
TLC seems a bit panicky, it makes me wonder what their true agenda is. Well, besides bringing in the bucks...

Kit said...

Anon@6:18 - BTW, if you pick a posting name (you don't have to ID yourself), it's much easier to respond to your comments. I MEANT my first sentence to be offensive. I find what TLC is doing offensive. I feel they are "playing up" the *cute* factor with such stupid titles as The Little Chocolatiers, which sounds like it came right out of a Disney script to me, and spending most of an episode of The Little Couple on the (little) dog. So I put this new "little people" overload in the same category as dwarf tossing, which is supposed to amuse "the rest of us." I don't like it--it doesn't feel right. It feels...offensive.

Anonymous said...

Kit, that is your opinion. I don't find TLC offensive but I do find it offensive that you compare TLC programming to dwarf tossing. Why you even bring that up is weird.

Sheri said...

Sandy, can you please elaborate? I am getting the impression that you're not appreciating what Matt and his family has done for you via the show. Perhaps that is not what you meant, but I am sensing that you're not showing gratitude.

Nobody has done more for dwarfism awareness in this past decade than Matt Roloff and his family. It doesn't happen often, but it disappoints me when I hear short-statured people who do know show the respect and appreciation towards the Roloffs as you should. They have put their lives on display for your benefit. No other LP individual or family has done more for dwarfism awareness in the last decade than Matt and his family. They have done a lot more than the Foose family. Someone else said it correctly, the public would not watch the Foose because they aren't as interesting to watch as the Roloffs. Thus, they did not have the effect on society that the Roloffs have had. Jeremy has done a lot for dwarfism awareness by showing other teenagers that a popular teen like himself thinks short-statured people are cool, deserve respect and should not be ridiculed. As an LP yourself, I think you should be grateful for what the Roloffs have done.

I don't object the other LP shows, but they are clearly attempting to copy the Roloffs. I don't want too make too much of an issue of it because people like Sandy are the minority, but imagine there is some jealousy from other short-statured people towards the Roloffs and the respect they have received.

Expressed said...

I'm not offended by the other shows. I just don't think they're interesting. The Roloffs are what makes LPBW work. The Rolofs have the "I could see myself hanging out with them if I knew them" element. Well, maybe a couple of years ago, now maybe it would be possible if you're rich :)

Rap541 said...

Sandy can correct me if I am wrong but there's a couple problems.

In fact putting oneself on display is often not considered "respectful" nor is it automatically positive lp awareness. I have lp friends myself, some like the show, some don't... the ones that don't cite the "carnival" aspect - " little farmer man running about his giant toy play set." It can be considered exploitive... in fact the very title of the show makes the point - little people are different and lets all gawk at them. Matt, like it or not, uses his size as a pitch point to everything he does, and it shows.

Is Dad Foos a little "boring"? Perhaps. He's a responsible businessman, earning a good living with three kids to support. Is he a much better example of how little people can live lives just like everyone else? Yes, because unlike Matt, his size is not how he earns his way. He earns money by working an average height job in the average height world. Matt earns money (and lets stop pretending the Roloffs do the show for free/for charity) by displaying his deformity.

They used to call that the sideshow in the old days, and there is a lot of sensitivity in the lp community towards making money in ways that demean little people. Like dwarftossing, dwarf wrestling, being in movies that use stereotypes....

I don't think it's "just jealousy"... I think it's that Matt was president of the LPA and helped *form* the view that people with dwarfism should go out and do things in the average height world and not rely on playing dwarf entertainer in movies and circuses... and now has a tv show where he does that very thing.

It's a difficult issue.

Kapper said...

I think the Roloff's took a good thing (as in: initial episodes) and ended up crapping on it (as in: current episodes)
The bottom line is that LPBW is NOT realistic, it's nothing but a show that's been dressed up and dictated by TLC.

Tashapork said...

Just out of humor, since TLC doesn't consider itself as the learning channel any more, maybe the could be called Tons of Littlepeople & Children.

Anonymous said...

I dont watch LPBW as much anymore,if I do it is with a jaded view.They should just call the show Little People Wasting Money. I did enjoy the chocolate show though.BTW thank you for this forum and letting us be objective.

Kit said...

Anon@ 1:47 - Let me ask you this: If Matt, Amy, and Zach were average height, do you think TLC would be making a reality show about a man who builds big playsets on his farm in Oregon?

Dwarf tossing exploits little people based solely on their size. See the resemblance?

I originally watched the show because I live in the same area, am involved in many of the same activities, and so had seen them around (although I do not know them personally). I was curious as to why they had been chosen for the show.

Several seasons later, I believe I know why. And I don't care for it. And yes, that is my opinion. I rarely profess other people's opinions. :>

If you're offended by my opinion, so be it. You don't have to agree with me. I don't have to agree with TLC's programming choices and the way they promote their shows.

IMO, the Roloffs (and any others who sign up for a "reality" show based on their everyday lives) are walking a thin line. Whatever it is that makes them "attractive" to TV execs is the same thing that sets them apart from "the rest of us," be it their size, the size of their family, their medical issues, religious beliefs, what have you.

Initially, I thought TLC was doing a decent job of emphasizing the positive nature of these differences, but I've changed my mind. With all the manufactured trips, the freebies, the awkward product placements, engineered drama, etc., these shows are no more "reality" than any other TV show.

In fact, I'll admit it - I'm no longer watching. One of my New Year's resolutions is to eliminate time-suckers from my life, and that includes what I consider to be exploitative shows such as LPBW, 18/19 Kids, Little Couple, etc. There is nothing to be "learned" from these shows in their present guise. I will also be leaving these blogs (cheers from Dana and crew, I'm sure) and looking for more positive ways to live my ordinary, everyday, average-sized life.

So cheer up - at best, you only have two more days to endure my offensive opinions.

Rap541 said...

Aw kit don't go! Give up the others, don't give up this :)

I need Portland updates! :)

More seriously, I agree with you although I do think the show was begun with good intentions - to make some money and to make people more aware. I think it's gone quite far afield and it's hard to say TLC isn't exploiting people considering the tone of this show now and of the other shows it has on.

Brandon said...

Kit, I second what Rap said. You'll be missed! Debating this show is definitely the fun of it.

Kapper said...

Kit, I've just returned from walking my dogs and while walking I started thinking about how I needed to stop watching these stupid, empty 'reality' shows. And for the exact same reasons you mentioned - they're absolute 'time-suckers'. And then I got online and read your comments, perfect timing.
I justify it all by calling it MY time, since I do put in a good day's work and I don't watch television at all during the day if I do happen to be home. So it's a guilty pleasure I guess. But that's just the point: it's no longer a 'pleasure'. When I watch LPBW any more I just end up being pissed by the Roloff's. I no longer find their antics cute or charming in the least. Every single one of them annoy me. Rocky's the only one I care about! By the way, where IS Rocky??

Kit said...

You know, guys, those are the exact reasons I found myself returning time and again to this site and to the show. It is fun to debate. I will debate on just about anything at the drop of a hat--I blame my 8th grade teacher, who held mandatory extemporaneous speech and debate sessions every Friday...but I digress. Kapper, I also watch because at the end of a long day, it is kinda mindless amusement to watch these people being stupid (IMO, for Anon) over and over again, and thinking sheesh, do they ever watch themselves and think, I should change my behavior? But that's exactly what got me to thinking -- watching people do stupid tricks to entertain me just isn't where I want to be right now. And while I'll miss the silly debates over Jeremy's hotness/saintliness, Jake's normal 12-yr-old/devil incarnate nature, and Matt's big spender/foolish spender, etc., etc., etc., there are other issues, really IMPORTANT issues, where my debating might make an actual difference (think health care reform). So I'm making the conscious effort to replace that TV time with other entertaining, but ultimately more satisfying, activities.

I will miss you folks - you are fun. And hey, I still have one more day to stir up the pot!

Sandy said...

I totally agree with what you said Kapper.
As an LP I agree with the rest of you that Roloff’s were an inspiration their first and second season. But now they are a sideshow with Amy not caring or believing Matt’s back is getting worse. For all you average people this is the main early age killer of little people; scoliosis that makes our lungs collapse and causes pneumonia; should not have been portrait so lightly on the show as just another ache or pain that Matt has.

You are right too that the Foose’s are boring but isn’t the average person’s household boring if the camera’s were turning on and the world watched you for one day. That was the point ! normal not made up entertainment. What I don’t like about LPBW is that they aren’t even touching the subtle disrespect that the average world give LP’s., and I don’t mean people calling us the M word or staring at us. If Matt wants to improve the views of the public about LP’s then have a small part of the show talk about how we can’t get health insurance because Dwarfism because it is a pre-existing “disease” is it? Only if you or spouce work for a huge company that is self –insured or you get a government job do we get health care. If you all remember in the first and/or second season Matt made appoint that he would have to pay cash for Molly’s sore on her tongue and when Zach need his first surgery they were discussing how there were going to pay for the extra hospital stay that the state wouldn’t pay for. Now they don’t mention if with all the money they have made is Zach still on state health insurance he was in the first season? Also not every (not even ½ of us can afford to) LP’s can afford to adapt their house like TLC portrays on both LPBW and Little Couple. If Matt is doing this show for awareness of dwarfism then he needs to bring up these points not show how LP’s can take cruise, run a business, and develop a Disneyland in their backyards.

Let me tell you I fly a lot for work and I don’t know how he gets to take his scooter to the gate (TLC I’m sure)with the security these days. You can only take airline owned wheelchairs past security your person chairs and/or scooter go in cargo bay right at the front desk; Why don’t they show him being singled out in the security line and hand search because we are a different size and the sensors/scanners ring. Maybe if TLC showed reality (daily struggles of LP families) then society would start changing their views and policies of little people; we are the same as average people just short! I don’t mean every minute of the show but just a 2 minute segways then go back to the TV entertainment part of the show and of coarse Jeremy. And no I’m not jealous of the Roloff’s I have a normal size husband and one dwarf boy and average size girl and own a home; which I keep clean by myself (not a rat heap as Amy does). I applaud the Roloff’s for opening their home and there live to have the world scrutinize them. But lets not get confused a TV show with real life shall we. LP’s aren’t stupid just short, and have just a few more boring struggles then the average family during a normal day. What I’m saying is hurray for Matt and his family for being on TV and having good intention in the beginning but now he is doing it for money and so is Amy; they showed that by wasting money on that castle that Molly didn’t want or appreciated. With their fame and popularity they should be showing the world Hey were here and we can do most everything, so give us a chance before you turn away, don’t classify us a cute and not worthy of the American dream just because we are short.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of thoughts. Sandy I really enjoyed your most recent post; I think you pretty much got to the heart of it. Having said that, I feel like there are so many reality shows out there now about so many people in so many different professions, that it's not too much of a stretch to think the little people who have their own shows might actually have them even if they were average height based on their personalities and livelihoods alone. I watched the Little Chocolateers, for example, and those two seem like really cool people that have an interesting business. I agree that the Roloffs have been on along time. They seem like they're tired of the show, so who knows when they might decide to call it quits. Oh, and I watch reality TV to be entertained with fun and interesting stories. It might be a waste of time, but all work and no play... And there are enough choices of reality shows that there is always something interesting to watch (even if there are plenty more that are painfully boring to me). Just my two scents!

Kit said...

Sandy - great points! Maybe if they showed more of Matt (and Amy and Zach) dealing with those kinds of issues, I'd still be watching. But I suspect you're right - Matt's "fame" and TLC's clout means he doesn't have to face a lot of the obstacles he had when nobody knew who he was. Now it's star treatment everywhere he goes, with special privileges that the hoi polloi, even the average-sized ones, will never enjoy.

I'm not willing to say Amy doesn't know or care about Matt's physical issues, but again, what a great opportunity to speak up to a nationwide audience about the challenges of little people and others with lifelong medical issues who are shunted aside by health insurers or forced into state plans. I have to wonder if the Roloffs' contract stipulates that they get health insurance through TLC's group plan, as we haven't heard anything for several years now about paying cash for medical care.

All in all, I think they started out with good hearts, but fell prey to Hollywooditis and just can't let go of what they see as the gold ring. Matt seems willing to do just about anything to keep the cameras rolling, whether out of his egotism or a desperate need to keep the TLC money coming in.

Kapper said...

Sandy, SEE?? You've proven a very valid point, just in telling us how disadvantaged little people are with health insurance. Really, I had no idea! What an excellent point you make in that the Roloff's could expound on this fact and bring it to the attention of the general public. The operative word here is 'could'.
And to think that they're given special privileges just because they are so-called 'celebrities' is just plain WRONG.
The Roloff's have an excellent platform to bring attention and make a difference to little people worldwide and they do just a fraction of what they could. It's no longer about the struggles of little people, it's about what destination or event they're flying off to.
Wow, fame is SUCH a bitch.

Anonymous said...

I hope we get to see more of jeremy shirt less body in this new year, he is so sexy fine and handsome. and I hope zach has a better behavior in this new year he is so disrespectfull and jacob needs to grow up molloy keep up the good work and to matt I hope he talks more with amy on his plans for their farm and with what he is going to do in the near future and stop keeping amy in the dark maybe she won't keeping talking down to him this year than like she has been doing in these last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

For 2010 maybe amy will be less of a bitch, Matt will curb his spending, Molly will grow some type of personality, Jacob will attend anger-management classes, Zachary will remove that enormous chip from his shoulder, and jeremy will put his clothes back on and realize he's nothing special to look at. At all.

Expressed said...

Anon & 1:47PM...Well, I agree about Jacob and Zach.

Molly, she is fine. Everyone can't be interesting to watch live, everyone can't be Jeremy :)

"jeremy will put his clothes back on and realize he's nothing special to look at. At all."

I don't agree at all!! Shirtless Jeremy has been the best thing about season 5. It's the only saving grace from this divorce facade.

Kapper said...

Just wondering how much the Roloff's make per episode??? I imagine it's a good amount, what with all the upgrades they've been doing, and purchases, etc.
As much as I think she's a whiner/bitch, maybe Amy DOES have a valid concern regarding Matt's spending - it doesn't take much anymore to plow through even an exorbitant amount of money. Just look at Nicholas Cage, Willie Nelson, etc.

Rap541 said...

Probably not as much as you think per episode. I noticed that TLC never confirmed or denied any of the amounts thrown around by Jon and Kate. While I doubt the Roloffs get 22k per episode (or 75k as some report of the Gosselins went) I doubt after 5 seasons that the Roloffs get 1k per episode either. Probably 10k per episode this season, with Zack and Jeremy getting seperate checks now. Assume 40 episodes at 10k, thats 400k. Even if we slash that in half for tax purposes, 200k a year is a nice wage.

Now lets *ignore* how much they get paid simply doing the show. Lets all agree that it's a pittance.

The trips are paid for by TLC. We can quibble over what parts are and aren't, but enough sponsors have come out and talked... the Roloffs are not paying for their vacations.

They're also not paying for a lot of the farm improvements. Some of it is paid for, but a lot isn't,and the stuff that is paid for is coming in cut rate in exchange for advertising. Things like the pool were free, the sport court was worth 40k and cost the Roloffs about 6k... The VW bugs that "Matt refinished" weren't on the Roloff dime, neither was the castle.

They get a huge amount of free advertising from the show for the pumpkin farm. The business is hugely impacted by that, so they make a lot of extra money now.

They also wouldn't be getting the speaking engagements without the show. Heck if we just count the engagements we see on the show, its a nice additional income for both Matt and Amy and this is all being very conservative.

Brandon said...

Rap, I'm guessing the Roloffs are getting a lot more than 10K per ep. I have no reason to doubt the 75K reports about the Gosselins. I wouldn't expect TLC to comment on it.

I always figured the Roloffs are in the 50K per episode range.

Rap541 said...

Brandon - I am just being intentionally conservative over the money. It could easily be more, but if you use 10k per episode and slam them with taxes, its still about 200k income for the year, before figuring in pumpkin season, stool sales, and speaking fees.

200k? Even for a family of six, thats hardly scraping by, and its certainly more than that with the other incomes tha are directly affected by the show - namely speaking fees and pumpkin season being advertised on tv.

Its also not counting the free perks.