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Little People, Big World is a reality television series produced in the United Statesmarker that airs on TLC. The series follows the six-member Roloff family farm near Portland, Oregonmarker. Many of the episodes focus on the parents, Matt and Amy, and one of their sons, Zach, who all have dwarfism.

Little People, Big World debuted on March 4, 2006, and the fifth season premiered on October 12, 2009. The show is also available for download on iTunes.

Premise

The show follows the daily lives of the Roloff family — 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 of average height. Teenagers Zach and Jeremy are fraternal twins; although Zach is not of average height, his brother Jeremy is.

The family lives on the Roloff Farms, located north of Hillsboromarker in Helvetia, Oregonmarker (a suburb of Portland). Although crops of pumpkins are grown and sold by the family, much of the farm has been converted into a series of playground set pieces for the Roloff children. They were designed by Matt, who spent most of his childhood in the hospital. He has tried to make his children's lives the best possible.

Episodes of the show typically showcase one or more members of the Roloff family engaging in everyday activities such as shopping, athletics and dealing with household finances. The drama of the show arises from the fact that many of these activities are made more challenging due to the height of the dwarfs in the family — Matt and Amy are 4'1" (124 cm), Zach is 4'4" (132 cm).

As with any reality show, the segments that are aired are ones that are expected to generate viewer interest. However, Little People, Big World avoids portraying the Roloffs in a stereotypical or sensational light. The situations encountered in the show are ones that most families deal with, although the ways in which the Roloffs deal with them are unique to them and are from the perspective of dwarfs.

The Roloffs have several close friends who appear regularly on the show, among them actor Martin Klebba who has known Amy for over 20 years.

The family

Immediate family

  • Matthew ("Matt") — year-old (b. October 7, 1961, in Californiamarker) husband and father; Matt's most recent career was in computer software sales. As the series began, Matt was no longer employed by the company, but was engaged in establishing the business he co-founded, Direct Access Solutions. The company markets accessibility kits for little people to the hospitality industry. As the first season ended, Matt started another job as a software salesman with Amdocs in order to provide the family with additional income. Matt's type of dwarfism, diastrophic dysplasia, resulted in numerous childhood surgeries. He walks with the aid of crutches and uses a motorized cart when needed.
  • Amy — year-old (b. September 17, 1963, in Michiganmarker) wife and mother; Amy is a stay-at-home mother, although she recently took part-time jobs as a soccer coach and preschool teacher to provide the family with additional income. Amy's type of dwarfism is achondroplasia, and she has experienced very few (if any) complications. Amy is a graduate of Central Michigan Universitymarker.
  • Zachary Luke ("Zach") and Jeremy James ("Jer") — year-old (b. May 10, 1990, in Oregonmarker) twin brothers. Jeremy is 6'1 and a skilled soccer player. Zach has achondroplasia like his mother. Zach is 4'4" and Amy is 4'2". Unlike his mother, however, Zach has had numerous medical complications. As a child, Zach had a skull shunt implanted to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid. The shunt failed and had to be replaced surgically (as depicted in the season one episode "Zach's Emergency"). Zach used to play soccer competitively, but stopped playing for a time due to his size compared to the other soccer players. In Season 2-B, he started playing competitive soccer again as he made his high school's soccer team. However, his play was on hold temporarily as he had surgery to correct the bowing of his legs. He would like to be a soccer coach when he is older. He coaches Jacob's soccer team.
  • Molly Jo ("Mol") — year-old (b. September 17, 1993, in Oregonmarker) daughter; Molly, who shares a birthday with Amy, is 5'9". She plays volleyball and is a skilled student.
  • Jacob George ("Jake") — year-old (b. January 21, 1997, in Oregonmarker) son; Jacob is average height. He plays on a youth soccer team coached by his mother.


Extended family and others in recurring appearances

  • Ron Roloff ("Pop") and Peggy Roloff ("Honey") — Matt's average-height parents are shown in numerous episodes. They live a few miles from Roloff Farms. Ron and Peggy had four children: Ruth, Matthew, Joshua, and Sam.
  • Mike Detjen ("Mikey") — Matt's business partner, a close family friend, and soccer coach, appeared on most episodes. When Matt was away, he sometimes asked Mike to handle the farm chores. Amy took care of Mike after the accident that injured Mike and Jacob. On June 5, 2008, he died of a torn aorta.
  • Camerino — Hired farm worker. Very little is known about his elusive background.
  • Martin Klebba — longtime friend of the Roloffs (specifically Amy), featured in several episodes.
  • Sarah — Jeremy's former girlfriend, featured in a few episodes.
  • Kirsten Simoneau — Jeremy's ex-girlfriend, featured in a few episodes. She and Jeremy dated for a year in 2007.
  • Dani — An average height girl who went to winter formal with Zach in 2007. She was featured in one episode, and appeared several times during season four. Dani and Zach went on a couple of dates.
  • Casey Johnson — Zach's LP friend from California, a competitive paralympic swimmer who went to banquet with Zach during Season 1. Casey is dating Mike Delaney, one of Zach's LP friends from California.
  • Eric & Jeff Manuel — LP twins who are friends with Zach, they play on the LA Breakers basketball team.
  • William "Bill" Brogden — An LP friend of Zach's who is most notable for his appearance while at a conference in Phoenixmarker, where he filled a plastic bag with water and dropped it from a five story high balcony, shattering a patio table and blaming it on Mike.
  • Jen Montzingo — Zach's LP friend from Seattle, although she lived in Portland for a year. She is also close friends with the entire family. She has been featured in two episodes, although is seen in many throughout seasons 2A-4A.
  • Jacob Mueller, Brendon Johnson, Dan Meichtry, Bryan Roth & Scott LeSage — school friends of Jeremy and Zach.
  • Little Zach — One of Zach's LP friends (called such to differentiate the two, Little Zach is about one foot smaller than Zach). He was featured in an episode that focused on his dad being deployed aboard a ship to the Middle East.


Jacob's accident

Jacob Roloff and family friend Mike Detjen were seriously injured in an accident on the family farm on Saturday, October 28, 2006, (episode aired April 9, 2007). They were injured when the family's trebuchet (which they use to launch pumpkins as part of the pumpkin season promotion) prematurely triggered. Jacob was rushed to nearby Legacy Emanuel Hospital, and underwent surgery to relieve swelling in his head caused by a small piece of skull pushed into his brain. Jacob and Mike recovered from the injuries and were released on Monday, October 30, 2006.

Although a TLC camera crew were at the farm recording footage, they were not in the area where the accident occurred. The accident, therefore, was not recorded. Prior to the airing of two new episodes on November 4, TLC aired a brief segment with Matt and Amy acknowledging the accident and thanking everyone for their support. Jacob was shown with what appeared to be an injury around his right eye.

Footage taken shortly after the accident occurred on the farm was shown December 16 in the final minutes of the season finale, "Farm Overload." A crowd had gathered around Jacob, who was lying on the ground near the trebuchet. The first two episodes of season 3 focus on the accident, and how the local media reacted to it.

Seasons

Season Season Premiere Season Finale
1 March 4, 2006 May 13, 2006
2-A October 7, 2006 December 16, 2006
2-B April 9, 2007 June 4, 2007
3-A October 15, 2007 December 17, 2007
3-B March 3, 2008 May 19, 2008
4-A October 13, 2008 December 22, 2008
4-B February 16, 2009 May 11, 2009
5-A October 12, 2009 2010


Episodes

Four seasons have aired and the fifth season began airing October 12, 2009.

Reception

The first season of Little People, Big World generated solid ratings for TLC (especially in the important 18–49 demographic), leading to the show's renewal for a second season. Critical reviews of the series have been generally positive, citing the show's positive portrayal of little people. Conversely, other reviews have claimed that the show has a voyeuristic bent to it (albeit a non-sexual one), but allows the viewer to feel good about watching because it is not outwardly or overtly exploitive.

Since the show began airing, Roloff Farms has become an extremely popular tourist destination. While the farm and its many attractions have long been available for public viewing during pumpkin season (October), it is now receiving far more visitors than can be accommodated. During the 2006 season, more than 30,000 people arrived to buy pumpkins and tour the farm, which only has space for a few hundred vehicles. The farm was shut down temporarily by Washington Countymarker deputies on one Saturday in October 2006, due to massive traffic. Area residents have complained about the gridlock caused by the visitors, as well as about the increased media scrutiny the show has brought.

The Roloffs receive as many as a dozen emails per minute from supporters. The increased exposure, however, has led to safety concerns for the family, who now deal with trespassers and zealous fans. They recently installed a security gate on their property.

References

External links




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