Little People, Big World
|Little People, Big World|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||22|
|No. of episodes||354 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company||Gay Rosenthal Productions|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||March 4, 2006 –|
|Followed by||Little People Big World: Wedding Farm|
Little People, Big World is an American reality television series that premiered on March 4, 2006, and airs on TLC. The series chronicles the lives of the six-member Roloff family farm near Portland, Oregon. Many of the episodes focus on the parents, Matt and Amy, and one of their children, Zach, who have dwarfism.
On August 26, 2010, TLC announced that the sixth season would be the last for the show. After its original final season, TLC aired several specials: "Conquering Mount St. Helens", "Breaking Down the Walls", and "Welcome to the Jungle". On October 5, 2012, TLC announced a spin-off series – Little People Big World: Wedding Farm. It chronicles Matt and Amy as they jump-start their wedding business on the farm. The series premiered on November 13, 2012, and ran for six episodes.
It was announced in October 2013 that Little People, Big World would return for a seventh season. Season seven consists of eight episodes, and premiered on October 29, 2013. An eighth season began on September 2, 2014, and a ninth season began on July 6, 2015. The show was renewed for a tenth season which premiered in fall 2016. As of 2018, the show has aired for 12 seasons. On March 13, 2018, TLC announced the show was renewed for a 14th season to premiere on April 2, 2019.
The twentieth season premiered on March 31, 2020.
The twenty-first season premiered on September 29, 2020.
In 2010, Amy Roloff commented on the beginnings of the show: "TLC came to us about five or six years ago, and so we suddenly realized we were given a great opportunity to educate people about dwarfism. When it was offered that we do a show about our lives, my husband and I were like, "Wow, nothing like this has even been on the air." Nothing had depicted dwarfism in an everyday way. Lo and behold, a few episodes turned into six seasons. And here we are."
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 have dwarfism, while Jeremy, Molly, and Jacob are of average height. Zach and Jeremy are fraternal twins; although Jeremy is of average height, his brother Zach is a little person (4'4", or 132 cm).
The family lives on the 36-acre (150,000 m2) Roloff Farms, located north of Hillsboro in Helvetia, Oregon (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 because many of these activities are made more challenging due to the height of the little people in the family, as Matt and Amy are 4'1" (124 cm) and Zach is 4'4" (132 cm).
- Matthew ("Matt") – 59-year-old (born October 7, 1961, in California) ex-husband and father; Matt's 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 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 Roloff (née Knight) – 56-year-old (b. September 17, 1964, in Michigan) ex-wife and mother; Amy's type of dwarfism is achondroplasia, and she has experienced very few (if any) complications. Amy is a graduate of Central Michigan University. When not acting, coaching, parenting, or teaching, she is a philanthropist. Her Amy Roloff Charity Foundation makes use of her celebrity by benefiting the needs of kids, at-risk youths, and disability groups. Amy has also given back to the Dwarf Athletic Association of America, helped fund an organization for foster care parents and the kids they have adopted, and supported low-income senior housing and a homeless shelter focusing on keeping family units together. Achondroplasia is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder with 80% of cases identified as a sporadic mutation.
- Zachary Luke ("Zach") – 31-year-old (b. May 10, 1990, in Oregon) twin brother to Jeremy. Zach has achondroplasia like his mother. Zach is 4 ft 4 in (1.32 m) 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 two, 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 coached Jacob's soccer team. Both twins graduated from high school in the spring of 2009. Zach made an appearance on WWE Tough Enough as part of a basketball game against little people. He is now a soccer coach. Zach married Victoria Elizabeth ("Tori") Patton in July 2015. They welcomed their first child, Jackson Kyle, on May 12, 2017, and their second child, Lilah Ray, on November 19, 2019.
- Jeremy James ("Jer") – 31-year-old (b. May 10, 1990, in Oregon) twin brother to Zach. Jeremy is 6'1". Both twins graduated from high school in the spring of 2009. Jeremy then attended college in Santa Barbara, California. He married Audrey Mirabella (Auj) Botti in September 2014. Together, they run a website dedicated to improving Christian marriages (Beating 50 Percent). They welcomed their first child, Ember Jean, on September 10, 2017, and their second child, Bode James, on January 8, 2020. Jeremy announced via Instagram on July 10, 2018, that he and his family will no longer appear on the show.
- Molly Jo ("Mol") – 27-year-old (b. September 17, 1993, in Oregon) daughter; Molly, who shares a birthday with her mother Amy, is 5'7". She graduated from the Whitworth University in 2016, with majors in Accounting and Spanish. She is now an accountant in Spokane. Molly married Joel Silvius on August 5, 2017.
- Jacob George ("Jake") — 24-year-old (b. January 17, 1997 in Oregon) son; Jacob is average height. Jacob dropped out of high school and moved out of the family home soon after turning 18.
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), when the family's trebuchet (which they use to launch pumpkins as part of the pumpkin season promotion) prematurely triggered. Jacob was rushed to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland 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 was 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 was shown December 16 in the final minutes of the season two finale, "Farm Overload". A crowd had gathered around Jacob, who was lying on the ground near the trebuchet. The first two episodes of season three focus on the accident, and how the local media reacted to it.
|First aired||Last aired|
|0||Pilot||March 4, 2006||March 4, 2006|
|1||20||March 25, 2006||May 13, 2006|
|2||22||October 7, 2006||December 23, 2006|
|3||30 (+2 Specials)||April 8, 2007||July 16, 2007|
|4||20||October 15, 2007||December 17, 2007|
|5||26||March 3, 2008||May 26, 2008|
|6||22||October 13, 2008||December 22, 2008|
|7||26||February 15, 2009||May 11, 2009|
|8||20||October 12, 2009||January 18, 2010|
|9||20||April 5, 2010||June 7, 2010|
|10||20 (+6 Specials)||September 6, 2010||September 3, 2012|
|11||10||November 13, 2012||June 30, 2013|
|12||8||October 29, 2013||December 17, 2013|
|13||6||March 25, 2014||September 30, 2014|
|14||10 (+1 Special)||July 7, 2015||September 8, 2015|
|15||13 (+3 Specials)||May 10, 2016||August 2, 2016|
|16||8 (+1 Special)||November 22, 2016||January 10, 2017|
|17||8 (+2 Specials)||May 2, 2017||November 8, 2017|
|18||12 (+1 Special)||April 3, 2018||June 26, 2018|
|19||10 (+1 Special)||April 2, 2019||June 4, 2019|
|20||8 (+2 Specials)||March 31, 2020||May 19, 2020|
|21||5 (+1 Specials)||September 29, 2020||October 27, 2020|
|22||TBA||May 11, 2021||2021|
The first season of Little People, Big World generated adequate ratings for TLC (especially in the 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 bend to it (albeit a nonsexual 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 County 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 a large amount of correspondence. One report said as many as a dozen emails per minute arrive from supporters however the family did not confirm it. The increased exposure, however, has led to safety concerns for the family, who now deal with trespassers and fans. They have since installed a security gate on their property.
The Roloffs have hit the headlines a number of times. In 2007, Matt was arrested on DUI charges. While he was found not guilty of the DUI, he was found guilty of refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test. As a result of his refusal, his driver's license was suspended for three years, because he had previously admitted guilt in a drunken-driving diversion program that he completed in 2003.
The September 30, 2014, finale of Little People, Big World's eighth season broke series records; 2.3 million total viewers tuned in to watch Jeremy Roloff marry his long-time girlfriend, Audrey Botti. The finale was the highest-rated episode in six years among women 25–54 and was number one on cable in the 10:00 pm timeslot among women 18–49 and women 18–34. The wedding finale capped the series' highest-rated season, in which it averaged 1.9 million viewers per episode.
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