06 November, 2006

Reality TV Stars Need To Suck It Up

I love Little People, Big World on TLC. I think the Roloff family are interesting people, and I enjoy watching the episodes from their life that make it to TV.

At the outset of this week's episode they mentioned an accident wherein their youngest child, 9 year-old Jacob, was injured. Me being me, I went to the Internet for more information. That led me to an article in the Oregonian that went into detail not only about the accident but also the increased attention being focused on the Roloff family.

[Note: I've tried to cutpaste from the article three times and it's crashed my browser, so I'll have to paraphrase and ask you to follow the link for the original piece.]

It seems that the neighbors are frustrated, the road to the farm is often impassable because of curious fans and the family has been increasingly bothered by stalkerish behaviour.

There is a part of me that does feel very sorry for the Roloffs. They seem like a nice family who are primarily interested in proving to the world that dwarves dwarfs are just like average-height people in many ways. Yet it does seem that they've profitted from the show on many levels. Obviously they are paid for their time. I also think they receive no small amount of freebies in exchange for publicity. I suspect that this year's Dream Trip To Hawaii was much more affordable to them because of the nearly half-dozen mentions of whatever hotel they stayed in. The marketing vet in me admires this new guerilla advertising, but I feel more and more like the show has become "Watch The Roloffs Shop For Brand Name Services and Products" as Matt Roloff exploits their popularity for cash and prizes.

It's that cynical part of me that has stopped watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for similar reasons. These shows all seem to start out as well-intentioned glimpses of humanity, but appear to devolve quite quickly. In the case of Little People, Big World I think if you're popular enough to have trips underwritten*, then you have to realise that the same fishbowl attention has a downside as well.

*I need to make it clear that I don't know for certain that the Roloffs trip was underwritten. Yet years of experience lead me to believe that the countless mentions of the hotel where they stayed, along with long pan shots of the rooms' appointments and much discussion of the tailored dwarf robes were in exchange for something


At 10:30 AM, November 06, 2006, Blogger SistaSmiff said...

I love the Roloff's. I just admire the heck out of Amy. They are such likeable people, it's natural for people to want to go meet them. I'm sure they had no idea that it would create such problems for the neighbors. I'm wondering how much longer they'll continue doing it. I bet Amy will pull the plug.

Shoot, I'd take a trip to Hawaii if I paid for it by saying "We're staying at the Four Seasons" a million times.

At 10:38 AM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

THANK YOU!!! I honestly could NOT remember the name of the hotel. I kept wanting to say "The Plaza" but I didn't think that was right.

I guess my post gave the wrong impression, because I genuinely LOVE the Roloffs. The remind me a lot of the family I grew up in, in that they're strong Christians, have four kids and always have a lot going on.

I still think though, that it's not right to complain about receiving too much attention if that attention is also getting you good things.

At 11:44 AM, November 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you stop saying dwarves???

they are little people.

not something from a fairy tale

At 12:01 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...


From the Little People Association's FAQ:

"Q: What is a midget?

A: In some circles, a midget is the term used for a proportionate dwarf. However, the term has fallen into disfavor and is considered offensive by most people of short stature. The term dates back to 1865, the height of the "freak show" era, and was generally applied only to short-statured persons who were displayed for public amusement, which is why it is considered so unacceptable today.

Such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all acceptable, but most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label."

"Dwarf" is an acceptable term for referring to Little People.

At 5:01 PM, November 06, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

But the plural is "dwarfs" unless you are discussing Tolkien.

At 5:05 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I did correct that in the body.

At 5:16 PM, November 06, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

Apologies for my careless reading.

At 9:35 PM, November 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God I HATE those annoying little freaks. Their dad is a complete as$^#*e


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