Matt Roloff did an extended interview with the person (Steven Diamond) who is running the Stop-Stressing Now cruise, where Matt will be a key-note speaker. They have a pod-cast of it on their website so you can listen to the interview with Matt.
The whole Podcast is located here:
It's about 48 minutes, so we'll recap the interview for people who don't have time to listen to the whole thing. Overall, I think Matt came across well, pretty standard stuff for loyal Roloff followers. Tthe first 5 minutes was basically an infomercial for the cruise and I have to confess that kept reminding me (for any The Simpsons' fans out there) of the episode where Homer went to that tranquility retreat ;-)
Anyhow, I trust that most people who read our site know the basics so I won't be too in-depth in the recap about the basic facts that we all know about Matt that he was asked about in this interview -- we know Matt spent a considerable amount of his childhood in the hospital, we know that Matt's parents had one healthy child and three with major physical problems, we know that Matt and Amy met at an LPA conference in Michigan, etc, so I'll highlight the parts that I think might be of more interest to fans. I'll had in my personal opinion about a few of the things I feel the need to interject :-) in a different font.
*Matt was asked about the neighbors, he said there are always some good and bad. He said there has been a shift in attitude among some and now they partner with some of them. He thinks they now see the wisdom in what he has done with his farm , the agritainment angle, and their fame and that the inconvenience of the clogged roads for a few weeks in the year is worth it.
*Matt is 49, his dad was a marine, he spent his childhood in a body cast, born in San Francisco, moved to Oregon shortly after he married Amy.
*He said his childhood taught him about hope and resiliency and you have to focus on what you can do, instead of what you can't do. Learn from the obstacles in life and have a cheery and positive attitude and you'll be happier.
*When he was a child he had an open and fun childhood, they would hit each other with sticks and throw rocks at each other.
*When something goes wrong in life, look for the silver lining in it because there is always a silver lining.
*He was asked if he was teased as a kid in school. Matt said he remembered a few days coming home crying, but not many because the attitude his parents told him to have was that he was getting built in attention and many people in the world go to great extents to try and get people to pay attention to them.
*The interviewer/organizer said he knew someone who went to Matt's pumpkin season that raved about how his little girl asked Matt a question about dwarfism and he went over to her and answered her question. Matt said there are so many people they would like to touch individually, but that's the tough part of their celebrity that they can't do that a lot.
*Interviewer talked about the show; referred to Matt and Amy having a normal American experience in their lives. Matt took a bit of offense to that and corrected him. He said actually, it has been a goal of theirs (Matt and Amy) to live an extraordinary life, rather than an ordinary life. He wanted to give his kids an extraordinary childhood and did all the things (that fans are well aware of - castle, tree-house, pirate ship).
*Talked about how the TV show began, Matt said they wanted to educate people about dwarfism in a non negative way. He said the show is raw, they show the good and bad in the most honest and open way they can.
*He was asked if it was hard for the family to get used to having their life on display for the world. Matt said there are definitely some challenging days. He said increasingly they are taking longer and longer breaks. Filming has really cut back; they used to film 5 days a week. Not anymore.
*Matt said the hardest part is the criticism they receive. He said people take things out of context or don't understand editing and how television works.
*He was asked if he reads the blogs and message boards. Matt claimed they've learned not to do it. Sometimes his staff will cut and paste something out of a blog and send it to him. He said it's hard to understand how people can get it so wrong. Sometimes they take the negative comments to heart. Matt explained that it seems like someone will always take the opposing position.
"If I put a fork down, some will say 'Why did Matt put that fork down, he shouldn't have done that', while the other half will say 'Wow, that's so wonderful of Matt that he put that fork down'"....I like that one. I think that one is definitely true to a point.
*Matt claimed that they don't read it because it would drive them crazy trying to respond , but sometimes staff will forward him something from a blog.
Sometimes he will go in and ask the kids 'Did you really do that?' (Hmm, I wonder what that could have been referring to...?), but Matt said the kids are really great, when he does that, they just say 'Dad, are you reading that stupid forum stuff again?'...
*Then Matt did his common double-speak when he talks about this stuff, after saying that, he said, but they really appreciate that the fans watch the show and they're really glad that they have fans who write about it whether it's good/bad/or indifferent. He said they all really appreciate the fans and want to hear from fans but it's hard to not take it personally.
I have to say, I understand why Matt takes this public stance that he claims to regarding this stuff, it's the same as athletes claiming that they never read newspaper reports about their performance. Everyone knows they do, they just don't admit to it.
I would love to hear an interview like this with Zach, because personally, I feel Zach is the most honest Roloff and I think you'd hear the truth rather than Matt's spin. Matt claims they don't read stuff about them, he's previously suggested they hardly ever use computers because they are just so busy....I think most people recognize this as being false to a ridiculous degree.
I'll let you the readers know that from maintaining this site and all that we know and all the many different people and sources and contacts we talk to -- almost completely contradicts what Matt claims. From what we hear (and I won't even address the ridiculous notion that the Roloffs don't use computers that Matt sometimes suggests), the Roloffs do read stuff about themselves, they are very aware of what is said about them. For instance, from what we know, Jeremy is very aware of what his reputation is like. Depending on who is speaking, there are different versions; one that he laughs at how stupid he thinks it all is, yet there is another story told by friends and people close to the Roloffs that Jeremy does take it very seriously to the point where he is praying about the whole situation.
And to further contradict what Matt suggests -- we're told that the kids and their friends are very active about searching for stuff about themselves and the show -- to the point where Jeremy and Mueller post video clips about the show that people have uploaded to You Tube and things like that for all their friends to see and comment on. They obviously do search for things about themselves, as you would expect, despite what Matt claims. I can say that with one hundred percent certainty.
Anyhow, back to the interview..
-Matt said Season 5B will start back up in late winter/early Spring (April was the date TLC announced at the end of 5A). He said it will focus again on the relationship of Matt and Amy, their relationships with the kids, they take a big trip (which was summer of '09). Jeremy and Zach backpack through Europe. Zach has a big soccer game at the World Dwarf Games, Matt said the tension was intense just watching (we have an item about the Epic Gold Medal battle on here in the archives -- Matt is telling the truth about this one)
One thing I have to interject about this because we're seeing a lot of comments and getting emails because of the way it's going to be presented and even as Matt is saying here...regarding Jeremy and Zach backpacking through Europe alone? Even their critics are saying they want to see how Jeremy and Zach did on their own through Europe because they don't think the twins would be able to do it....keep in mind that they were not really on their own -- not at all. They were with the crew and the producer. When they go to restaurants, they don't eat at a table for two, they sit at a table for 10 - 16. I don't think it can be stressed enough that the Roloffs are best friends with the crew and the producers. They are not silent robots without personality who fade into the background. When the Roloffs travel with them, they travel with them like they would travel with any of their other friends -- of course they have all the equipment to do the filming that they need to do, but otherwise, it's a bunch of friends traveling together.
That's not to suggest that I'm not eager to see their European adventures or that it won't be entertaining, but I think fans tend to not fully grasp the whole aspect of the producers and the crew -- keep that in mind when talking about "Jeremy and Zach back-packing alone through Europe", because I think people are being played the fool a bit.
Back to Matt's interview...
- Interviewer asked Matt about Zach being the only dwarf child in the family. Matt and Amy have tried to prepare Zach for some things. They've tried to prepare all of their kids for things and sometimes they look back and think they could have done this or that better, but on the whole he thinks they've turned out well and that the show has prepared Zach for a lot and he will appreciate the efforts from doing the show.
- Matt discussed all of the other LP shows on television. He mentioned the couple in "The Little Chocolatiers" by name and Jen and Bill from The Little Couple and Pit Boss. Matt thinks all the LP shows are great and goes a long way in normalizing people with dwarfism.
- They've received a grant to build custom made bikes for LP -- although there will probably be two different models. Matt mentioned CoDA in this project and talked about the importance for LP kids to be able to keep up with their average sized siblings and friends. He said it was fantastic when they built the bicycle customized for Zach because he was finally able to keep up with Jeremy and his friends, but he thought what about the other LP kids. Matt has a passion to fix that problem.
- They talked about their speaking engagements and the Q&A sessions and some of the questions. Matt said some get too personal and because they share so much on the show, they are very protective of what they do have left, so they've built up a wall around them, which is unfortunate, but Matt says it's the way it has to be due to their fame.
- Matt says they do really enjoy the speaking engagements and the question and answer sessions at them because those and pumpkin season are the only times they interact with their fans and they really love interacting with people.
My cynical side needs to point out the fact that in both of those situations the Roloffs are being paid and paid quite handsomely to interact with people. When they aren't being paid; they don't do it, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Matt says they enjoy interacting with people at the Speaking events or pumpkin season because they're are scoring big bucks for themselves. If they aren't being paid, they seem to lose their supposed love of interacting with people...
-Matt mentioned that they aren't currently filming, but actually that day (January 30th) they were doing audio for the show -- I believe this refers to the voice overs which most fans identify as the parts where it sounds like the family is reading during their narrations.
-Matt mentioned that they'll have another solid month off and then they'll decide whether to keep going on (the big Season 6 or is it over question).
-Matt was asked about the Iraqi family. Matt announced the very sad and heart-breaking news that Saja had just passed away on the Friday. There were too many complications after the surgery she had. Matt took a plane there, but landed about half-hour after they learned that she passed away. He cried and hugged with Russell Hayes.
And then that was the end of the interview.
For information about the StopStressingNow.com Cruise with Matt and how to book, you can visit this site below: