‘Little People, Big World’ is an American reality television series by TLC that follows the lives of the Roloff family – Matt and Amy, and their four children Zach, Jeremy, Molly, and Jacob – many of whom are affected by dwarfism. Since the show’s premiere in 2006, the series has gone from strength to strength and is slated to see its 29th season drop soon. Yet, despite the show’s popularity, there have been questions about its authenticity before, questions that still persist. If you want to know if ‘Little People, Big World’ is scripted or if the events on screen happen spontaneously, we’ve got you covered.
Is Little People, Big World Scripted?
A good few years after ‘Little People, Big World’ premiered, the show was shaken up by the departure of Jacob. Not only did Jacob leave the show and move out of the Roloff family home in 2016, but he also made some damning accusations about the show, claiming that much of it was scripted. In a 2016 Instagram post, Jacob wrote, “I get comments on here all the time about how people ‘miss me on the show’ or telling me I should ‘do a few more episodes’ with the family; I’m posting this to say that that will never happen. For the sake of ‘the episode’ and ratings, I’ve seen a lot of STORYLINES drawn up (loosely) about our lives…” See what was said here.
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I get comments on here all the time about how people 'miss me on the show' or telling me I should 'do a few more episodes' with the family; I'm posting this to say that that will never happen. For the sake of 'the episode' and ratings I've seen a lot of STORYLINES drawn up (loosely) about our lives, and when I was standing here, behind the scenes and watching it from an outside perspective I just couldn't stop laughing. Laughing at how hard the producers have to try to get us to follow the talking points, and at how ridiculous the talking points are. . To misquote Chomsky, "the primary objective of any system is to preserve the integrity of that system", meaning, the primary objective I have felt and observed over the years of the 'crew' is to preserve their job and preserve the ratings, which is up to you to be right or wrong. That's not to say they are all soulless corporate shills or something, there are and have been good people involved but that doesn't negate the fact that they do have their own personal agenda. For me, noticing how the agenda of the crew doesn't work well with the health & happiness of our family is what made me decide quite a while ago that I would not be a part of it as soon as I was able. . All in all I appreciate people wanting me to 'be with the family' for a few more episodes, but the family that is filmed is not my family. They are the Roloff Characters and I have scarcely anything in common with them, nor do I want to be a character myself. As soon as the cameras drop however, its almost like they never played the part. 20 minutes after this picture was taken we all, plus friends, had a campfire late into the night. So, I am with my family and I love them I'm just here to say you'll never see that from me on TV again. (This picture is from a few months ago)
Jacob’s revelations about what goes on behind the scenes did not stop there. In 2017, Jacob wrote a blog post on his personal blog, Rock & Roloff, and revealed that the producers effectively made caricatures out of his family members, which according to Jacob, are “not only incomplete or untruthful but can be harmful as well.”
While Jacob is the only member of the Roloff family to directly attack the show, other members, too, have intentionally or unintentionally revealed rather telling insights into the show. For instance, in a 2019 interview, Amy revealed that after her divorce with Matt, the producers of the show pushed her to start dating again, and that’s how she met her current boyfriend, Chris. Yet, as of April 2020, Amy has not directly criticized the show, and she recently said that for the most part, they keep it real. The kids are real. They’re grounded. They haven’t got heads into different spaces just because they have the opportunity to share stories.
Matt, however, begs to differ and has said in as many words that there’s plenty of fake, soapy drama on the show, because hey, it’s ultimately reality television. In April 2020, Matt said, when Amy and he argued about whether it’s a neck or a flag lot, they were just trying to make television. They knew those arguments back-and-forth that created interest.
Hence, the evidence before us seems to suggest that, despite conflicting opinions, at least some of the show is definitely scripted. While scripted drama is expected of reality television, the degree to which such fake drama is created has bearings on how fans perceive a reality show. Although it is unlikely that the popularity of the show will decrease because of such accusations, we have a fair bit of evidence to conclude that quite a bit of ‘Little People, Big World’ is scripted, although not all of it can be said to be untruthful. So, to conclude, fans should take what happens on the screen with a pinch of salt.
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