Our long-time guest reviewer Rap541 (along with poster Kyle who also graciously volunteered to submit a review) will review today's Little People, Big World episode special. Rap's before-the-show comments on the TLC preview:
Jun 10, 8:00 pm (60 minutes) Little People, Big World: Amy's 50th The confluence of Amy's 50th birthday and Matt and Amy's 25th wedding anniversary inspires Matt to take Amy on an adventurous and romantic road trip to California. The couple re-trace their honeymoon steps in San Francisco and Matt surprises Amy.
First up is poster Kyle. Thank you to Kyle for submitting his review so quickly.
Written By Kyle
This will probably less cynical review than Rap’s :)
The kitchen chat between Matt and the kids, sans Jeremy, for ideas to celebrate Amy’s birthday was not helpful at all. It was clearly just to have them make a quick appearance and an opening scene. Matt, the kids are plenty old enough, you don’t have to ask them if they can hold down the fort.
Both talking it over with Matt and in the interview, Amy seemed happy and excited about the prospect of the road trip.
In previous episodes she has seemed to have major disdain and contempt towards Matt. I was really pleasantly surprised by how cheery she was. It was refreshing.
Amy’s bad acting skills have been seen in previous specials, so I legitimately think she really enjoyed her time during the trip and wasn’t annoyed being around Matt the entire time, which I couldn’t have said just a few specials ago.
Also, I noticed Matt and Amy’s personal interviews were in the house, not the barn on the hay bales. It made the scenes feel warmer, more personal.
First stop on the trip, a quaint B&B which was a nice idea with Amy’s history of studying hospitality and her dreams of owning a B&B. However, the idea of her actually doing work and playing the part of an innkeeper is such a horrible idea it could only be staged. Matt could not have honestly thought that her doing all the work of ‘the help’ was a nice gift.
Matt mentioned wondering why anyone would have “going to work, cleaning floors and serving people” as a part of anyone’s bucket list and it was obviously not on Amy’s. When Matt seems fake annoyed with the fact that she’s busy and leaving him and has no time for him, it just irks me a bit. What was Matt doing the entire time anyways?
Aww, Rocky is looking old, but I still love his droopy, sad face. It’s a good thing Rocky went missing or else what more would the kids have had to do?
Apparently planking, Jacob planking was another quick scene insert of what the kids were up to. Owling is the new planking anyway, c’mon Jacob. Get with the times.
Next road trip stop, Santa Barbara, which I thought it strange that they’d travel all the way down there. It’s SO far from San Fran, like 300+ miles and 6 hours. I kept thinking, “What about visiting her son in California would be on her bucket list?” But of course it’s always good meet up with Jeremy and have the entire family make an appearance in an episode.
Eh, I felt uncomfortable when Jeremy was showing his parents his place and mentioned people calling his chair a throne. He’s not helping himself there with people already calling him the golden boy and him already having ‘fame?’, ‘fortune’, opportunity and privilege.
Did he call it the ‘Cigar balcony’ and his parents have nothing negative to say? Free country and he’s legal and all, but who the heck smokes cigars except elitist billionaires, evil warlords, and people trying to seem cultured and Esquire/GQ-esque?
Back to the bucket list, which seemed liked it was actually created by Matt FOR Amy. Now for the surprise that she’ll be performing on stage, with an improv group. No mention of the other little person in the improve group? Can anyone educate me on the condition that man might’ve had?
I think she took everything well, was having fun with the exercises, wasn’t afraid to look stupid or goofy. She took things much better than I would have if I were thrown into such situations out of the blue.
Showtime: Love the clip art one-page program that was probably printed just 10 minutes earlier. The improv group leader really embellished that this was the SPECIAL April show, “special” as in clearly just put on for LPBW’s benefit?
Also on the docket while in SB, just some good ol’ hang gliding.
Jer pulling out his camera to take pictures of his mom mid-flight made me realize there was no mention of how Jeremy’s schooling has been going, even if the episode didn’t revolve around him, he shared his bachelor pad, so he could’ve shown off some of his prints or given a quick update.Amy looked like she truly enjoyed the gliding and afterwards, Jeremy lifting up and carrying away his mom in her hang-gliding suit was actually pretty cute.
Back to the kids on the farm, Jacob definitely had a better attitude on camera as well, even when dealing with backseat drivers, which is pretty infuriating. Is this a sign that he’s maturing or coming around to filming and the recognition it might bring him? Who knows…
Finally in San Francisco. Hey those “painted ladies” are the houses in the opening credits of Full House! I like the idea of the picture in the same spot 25 years later. Nostalgia tugs at people’s heartstrings. Such is the case at the Inn, the same one from their honeymoon. Having the pics of themselves already set up in the hotel room was a nice touch, Matt. Good on ya.
The cooking lessons with the chef of the restaurant was a great idea and it’s nice to hear Amy mention that she might’ve been a little out of her element and usually just winged it when cooking and that now she might have an idea why recipes don’t work or whatever. I wonder how much might’ve changed for the cookbook or the recipes if she had such lessons before publication. She once again mentioned a strong connection with cooking, so maybe this experience will encourage her to take up more classes. For every craft, there’s always something new to be learned.
Matt and Amy visit the Golden Gate Bridge, relive a date on the beach talk about the old times, and that they’ve had rough times, bridging their lives together etc….
Not a surprise, Rocky was just roaming around the massive acreage of their farm and then sauntered his way into the house! I really never got the sense that they’d damper down all the fun and relationship rekindling in the episode with the death of their family pet. The way he ran out of the “media room” made it really clear to me he was placed there and just happy to get let out.
The episode felt like two parts. The portion designated as Amy’s birthday trip swiftly morphed instead into a bucket list and was overall just a weak storyline anyway, so it’s not surprising it teetered out as the episode continued on and was replaced solely by the romance rekindling/wedding anniversary San Fran trip.
Whatever the reasons LPBW gave for such a trip, (super early birthday trip/bucket list/25th wedding anniversary/romance rekindling) I think the activities were nice for Amy and I don’t know if they’ve gone to therapy or what but it seems like even before they left, Matt and Amy’s relationship was already on the mend and these activities only added to the sunniness. It was definitely a feel-good, happy-go-lucking TLC episode all wrapped up nice and neat for the viewers.
End of Kyle's review
Next up is Rap541
Written by Rap541
I’m pleased to start this review with the news that Ali and Baara, the Iraqi kids, had their spinal fusion surgeries and it’s looking good so far. So yay! :)
So it’s the farm, and the scene leaked early. Matt notes Amy is turning 50 which isn’t a lie in that she’s 49 and a half in April 2012 when this is filmed. So like all of us who don’t die before our fiftieth, yes, Amy is turning fifty… but not on this trip. Matt tries to be concerned and quizzes the kids on what to do if Molly accidentally cuts her finger off in the blender. Really I’d be more worried about some kid having alcohol poisoning at the constant bonfires, or at the drinking parties in the garage, but lets not interject any realism here, and continue to pretend that Molly cutting off a finger in the blender isn’t Matt forcing a conversation for the cameras.
Matt talks to Rocky about Amy’s bucket list. He notes that Amy’s birthday is coming up to Amy, and she’s all “Yeah uh huh”. She notes that they haven’t been on a road trip together in ages and this seems like typical Matt, planning something and not checking if Amy would like it. Matt wants to redo a trip they did prior and Amy seems to think that’s a bad idea but the show demands so….
Rocky is missing! Matt notes how Rocky goes “touring”. Yeah, take care of your dog. If you can cite several occasions where you had no idea where your beloved dog was, you’re a terrible pet owner. Yes, that’s me judging Matt. People who love their pets don’t just sigh when the pet goes missing.
Amy won’t let Matt drive. She hay bales (no actual hay bale though, some stairs shot) how its weird and different. Matt hay bales how they may kill each other. Amy voices over how she finds it weird and how she wonders about killing Matt. Matt notes that if things go bad, they may have to fly home. Amy worries they have nothing to talk about and cue Matt babbling about the five food groups and food.
They end up at a B&B. Matt notes how Amy’s dream of running a B&B was shut down by marriage and kids. Then Matt springs the whole “you’re running the inn for a day” which is sorta cool but also kinda mean to spring on someone. Not my idea of a fun vacation.
So Amy is described as an intern to the guests. Amy notes how it got hectic. Matt smirks and laughs as Amy runs around. They talk about it and then Amy has to run chores as the innkeeper. Matt notes how stupid Amy’s bucket list wish was and how he would never find running an inn fun. Yeah, that’s supportive.
Meanwhile Jake is planking. And Zach’s head scars are way noticeable. Jake “planks” on the ark. Don’t they have homework?
Amy is sent to the kitchen to feed others. And clean rooms. While Matt sits and judges… yes this is a vacation from home all right Wait… when does Amy make beds at home? How weird and different! Matt notes he probably encouraged her to run a B&B, with no small amount of cynicism on his part. As a woman, I am not sure how we’re supposed to feel about Matt snidely noting how all of Amy’s professional dreams were put on hold to birth and raise his babies and ain’t he awesome for indulging her for a day before he returns her to her place as nothing but his wife.
Meanwhile Rocky is missing! OHNOES! Despite how the dog apparently has disappeared multiple times, they seem horrified.
Now they are visiting Jeremy and Matt notes how he’s gonna screw over Amy with more bucket list stuff. Jeremy’s place is a sty. Matt notes that it smells.
Matt also does the “You know about Rocky?” and Jeremy immediately goes to “he’s dead??”
The cigar lounge is hilarious. Funny, no mention of any school work on Jeremy’s part.
Apparently Amy has always wanted to be on stage? Even Amy seems surprised to find this out. To be fair, she does stuff. There’s various improv exercises and then Amy is stuck doing stuff on stage. I kinda find myself wondering how well Matt would handle a similar “I’ve decided these things are on your bucket list and you have to do them on camera!” order from Amy but yeah, as I recall, his 50th was a non threatening party at his home where he was treated like a god.
So we’re still in Santa Barbara and it’s a “Special” show. Amy notes how glad she was to get it off her bucket list.
I get more chips. And dip. Mmmm dip.
Oh look, Zach “searching” for Rocky. By looking through the house and various attractions and surely that wasn’t done to show off the various structures. Funny how he looked everywhere but the media room.
Oh now Amy is going to hang glide. Matt does a charming imitation of someone being electrocuted. The hang glider instructor is fun. Matt continually makes comments about Amy being nervous. And cut for commercial just as Amy is ready to take flight.
Jake certainly sounds like a man.
So Amy is strapped to the back of this hang glider and they float down the hill. They sorta crash but Amy had the hang glider as a cushion. Matt notes how awesome he is for letting the little woman have her moment in the sun.
Zach decides its time to arts and crafts their way to finding Rocky. The film crew films Rocky while Zach takes Jake driving. Molly backseat drives like a pro. Meanwhile Rocky wanders into the house, perhaps to defecate in someone’s shoes.
Lordy Spike, get some exercise! Spike the Fat hisses at Rocky for the whole shoe thing.
Matt notes that Amy didn’t want to retrace their steps but he is a man and makes the decisions and will do what he wants. So they go to the Golden Gate Bridge. You know, in the 24th Century, the Dominion takes down the Golden Gate Bridge to demoralize Starfleet! Matt and Amy go on about how they are married. To be fair, they don’t seem on the edge of killing each other like in previous episodes. (See Kyle? I am not THAT cynical!)
So they tour about San Francisco in the trolleys. I’m sorry, I keep thinking “Rice-a-roni the San Francisco treat!”
Now Matt wants to recreate a photo exactly. This scene feels totally forced.
Now they are in Carmel. And Matt’s again retracing their steps and ok, I think the photos in the room was sweet. Now Amy and Matt try for baby five and then Amy shuts that down. Then they go to dinner and Matt screws Amy again by making her cook dinner at the restaurant. In this case she didn’t seem surprised at all… and the empty kitchen was a clue. And abalone? Does Amy even know what that is? Amy immediately makes cooking about being a little person. Yeah, you *better* like abalone, Matt and Amy.
Meanwhile Matt has one last moment to recreate at the beach. It’s raining and unpleasant and Matt wants to rekindle their love by grilling some meat in the rain. Amy, clearly soaked, notes how nice it is.
Lordy, the kids wonder where the dog is and Jake is all “did we look in the media room” and everyone slaps their forehead and says “der” and then head up to the media room and open the doors to the camera crew, and then open the doors to the closet in front of the camera crew and let the dog out. Really, I don’t expect much but really? How did Rocky open the doors to the media room and the media room closet and then close the doors behind himself? And explain to me how no one was surprised that the dog was missing for two days and theoretically in the media room closet but left no pee or poop for anyone to make the crew clean up.
Amy and Matt return to the farm and Matt again praises himself for being so awesome and then hugs the dog and notes how terribly frightened he was over the dog. Really Matt? Really? You didn’t know the whole thing was staged? Hand on the Bible, Matt?
Amy notes how unique it was and how awesome her 50th birthday was and yeah, really, was the lie that necessary?