TLC is currently running a quick commercial preview for the new season (referred to as Season 5B) of Little People, Big World which begins Monday April 5th at 8pm.
The buzz around the commercial is that it features Jeremy and Zach drinking (gasp) alcohol.
For those who have not seen the commercial or those of you in parts of the world where they're not up to Season 5 yet, here is a recap of the commercial, which is only about 15 seconds long.
A narrator: Matt and Amy face big changes...
(shots of the family from a photo shoot)
Matt's voice: "Amy likes the freedom when I'm not around"
(Matt, Amy and the kids standing around in an airport)
Narrator: ...As their family grows up
(Jeremy and Zach sitting at a table in a pub like setting with giant mugs of beer - they both have big smiles as they toast each other and Jeremy takes a drink)
Amy's voice: "There's something romantic about Rome"
Amy is shown leaning over and hugging Matt.
What appears to be Jeremy (he has a helmet and sunglasses - hard to tell) driving and Amy on the back riding on a scooter type vehicle.
Narrator: Don't miss all new episodes of LPBW, premieres April 5th at 8pm on TLC
For those wondering, the drinking age in Europe is 18. Jeremy and Zach were 19 during the trip. They'll be 20 this May.
Jeremy Roloff enjoying alcoholic drinks while in Europe - Summer 2009 - is sure to set off a firestorm of talk amongst LPBW/Roloff followers because of Jeremy's previous "I don't drink because I only do things that I know please God" stance
If you're confused why anyone would even note that Jeremy and Zach were drinking, that, specifically Jeremy drinking has been a hot topic in LPBW discussions for several years. It primarily stems from the Roloffs' Christian family image they portray and how factions of fans have reacted to it all.
It all started in the Roloff book "Little Family, Big Values". Jeremy is quoted as making the now infamous statement when talking about his religious values and his love of God.
Jeremy Roloff: "My Faith in God keeps me from doing some of the negative things so many kids do -- drinking, drugs and other things. My friends and I like to have fun and enjoy life, but we do it in ways we know show that we have faith in God and in ways that we know please him."
Based on statements like that from Jeremy and how they are portrayed on the show - Jeremy, Zach and their friends shown spending time building forts -- a faction of fans hailed Jeremy as an example of a fine young Christian who abstains from alcohol in the name of pleasing God -- A fine young Christian who is clean living; he builds forts with his friends while so many bad teenagers are out drinking.
Then you had another faction of fans whose reaction to the first group can basically be summed up as "Are you kidding?!?!? It's obvious Jeremy is lying and drinks like so many other teenagers. They're just saying he doesn't and using God as a reason to appeal to the lucrative Christian market.
Then it escalates into a big fight.
Group A: How dare you call Jeremy and the Roloffs liars! Just because other kids drink, doesn't mean Jeremy does. His body is a temple for God. Jeremy James Roloff does not drink and he said it's because of his love of God! Stop lying about Jeremy!
Group B: You're insane, naive and in denial! Jeremy is a massive liar and a phony.
Group B cites the many examples on the internet of Jeremy and his friends over the years referencing drinking. The most famous example -- and for those who inquire about "the Jeremy Roloff vodka story" being Jeremy and his friend reminscing when they were 15/16 about how they stole Matt's vodka, replaced it with Sprite (Jeremy said Matt never knew), got drunk, played with fire crackers and accidentally set the corner of the Roloff barn on fire. Jeremy said his heart stopped beating when he saw the barn on fire because Matt had warned him if he ever burnt down the barn he would kick him out "and he was serious too!"
There have also been many instances of friends talking about how they got drunk with Jeremy. What fans need to understand is for a lot of the friends who grew up with the Roloffs, the Roloffs are just like any other people they know. Most of the friends and reaction of people who knew the Roloffs to that subject is along the lines of "So what? What teenager doesn't drink and do that stuff?"
They don't really grasp the whole Roloff "Family friendly, strict Christian values' image that is portrayed to the public -- in other words a lot of their friends didn't receive the proverbial memo not to talk about how they were drinking with Jeremy -- because they aren't aware that Jeremy was telling the world that he didn't drink and it was because he only does things that he knows please God.
So that is why anytime there are references to Jeremy drinking -- at the World Dwarf Games in Belfast -- there were hundreds of athletes and family and friends who according to them, partied with the Roloffs and told stories about doing shots with Jeremy and things like that. Whenever things like that would come up - it would ignite the old fight between Group A (Jeremy is a sweet Christian boy who doesn't drink and don't call him a liar) and Group B (Yes he does!! Stop living in denial! Jeremy is a liar! He drinks!).
Given all that, it comes as a bit of a surprise that TLC would include Jeremy and Zach drinking in the preview commercial. Keep in mind that it was completely legal since the Roloffs were in Europe and the drinking age is lower than it is in the United States -- however for the group of staunch Roloff supporters who believed Jeremy's anti-drinking statements and hailed him as a hero of Christian values for his 'I don't drink because I only do things that please God" stance, the issue was more about Jeremy stating he doesn't drink because it doesn't please God and how that made Jeremy different and more moral than so many other teenagers.
It will be interesting to see that scene previewed in the commercial and if they portray it as Jeremy and Zach's first ever beer ;-) Stay tuned to TLC and Little People, Big World Season 5B!