loved this article, it answers a lot of questions.
The Roloff family reflects as TLC's 'Little People, Big World' begins its final season
Published: Sunday, September 05, 2010, 5:57 PM Updated: Monday, September 06, 2010, 7:46 AM
Special to The Oregonian
Matt Roloff says his family won't miss the constant presence of TV cameras in their lives.
And, no, it's not the end of the show because patriarch Matt Roloff died of a heart attack, which is what some viewers thought they saw happen in June's fifth-season finale after he clutched his arm and wound up face down on the floor of his office.
In an interview last week, Roloff, 48, said he and the rest of the family -- wife Amy, children Jeremy, Zach, Molly and Jacob -- are ready for the spotlight to fade.
Q: Did you know in advance that the episode would end with a cliffhanger?
A: The way the process works, we had seen that clip several months earlier but we're not as tuned into which clips are airing at which times. If the producers told us (it would be the cliffhanger), we weren't paying attention. We certainly didn't know people would be flabbergasted by it. What surprised me most is we had signed deals to do the show six or seven years ago ... and that episode was the very last one of TLC's contract with us. We looked at that and thought, "We're ready to be done with this thing and they're doing cliffhangers?"
Q: Were you surprised by the online speculation about your death?
A: Yes, I was. I'd just flown to New York to be on "Fox & Friends" and my hotel was in Times Square and I popped out to walk around and people were flocking to me and some paparazzi-types were really pushy and they were saying, "Hey, man, you're alive!" The episode aired while I was on the plane out there. Then the next day on "Fox & Friends" they never asked me one thing about it!
Q: So what really happened for you to end up on the floor?
It turned out to be a vertigo scare and they put together some footage of me in pain, of my arm in pain, unrelated to the vertigo. That's what you do in television, I guess. People thought it was a heart attack because I was gripping my arm. People are always asking how something can be true and untrue at the same time. We call it stacking. Arthritis in my arm was causing a lot of pain and they stacked scenes of that, which happened over a couple days or weeks or a month, and put that in the same scene as the collapse, and presto, it looks like a heart attack. It's just stacking scenes together.
Q: There have also been some rumors that your farm is for sale. Is that true?
A: It's not actively for sale but we're always talking about selling the farm. People think you have a farm and you live there forever. I grew up in a family and we moved a lot. It's more amazing to me that we've been here 20 years. If the kids aren't interested in the farm and I've done my thing with it, then that's a discussion that comes up from time to time.
Q: TLC announced late last month that "Little People, Big World" will end after the current season. Was that your decision or the network's?
A: In the big scheme of things it was our decision. We wanted to wind down. In the short term, it was theirs. We agreed to do a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 80 and we're thankful to them that they've been able to do it in 20. They definitely knew from the negotiations in April or May that we pretty well needed to get back to being a family because we said, "How quickly can you guys be done with us?"
Q: Has production wrapped on the series already?
A: I think it's another month of principal (photography) and then there will be pickups happening once or twice a week up until December or something. They're talking about some specials that we're probably not going to do. We may or may not, we haven't decided yet.
Q: How do Amy and the kids feel about the end of the series?
A: I think everybody is ready for it to end. For Amy, she's going to miss the crew. She's very close with them and she's got that personal connection. Not that we all don't have it, but for me there's more of a business relationship. She takes a more personal approach. I think Molly will be happy because she's focused on school and activities and the show is a distraction for her. Not in a negative way, she's been a trouper. Me, I'm gonna miss it for ego reasons. I think Jeremy is the same. It's nice to have all the attention. I think Jacob is happy it's winding down, too. I think the family, in general, is. It's really difficult, when you have an army of people in your house 24/7, to have conversations with your family that are important.
Q: Does the family watch "Little People, Big World"?
A: Every once in a while we'll watch an episode. I know it's hard to believe but after 240 or 230 episodes, we really don't. We see a screening ahead of time, often by Skype on a screen 2 inches big, and you give your input if there's something you want to debate with the producers, but we don't typically sit down and watch. I know many times people will come over and it's a Monday and they ask, "Are you watching your TV show?" and we're sitting at our computer screens doing our own thing. It's kind of painful to watch. Who wants to watch yourself on TV?
Q: What has been the best part of starring in a TV show and the worst aspect of the spotlight?
A: The best part of it is just being able to educate people about subjects such as dwarfism and to be able to touch people. We have wonderful fans who send e-mails and pour their hearts out. The worst part is people who are na’ve, and there's just a handful, who just don't get it and don't understand and they're angry and call my daughter nasty names. Even though those are a small percentage, they tend to jump out at you.
Q: What do you think of all the shows that have come in your show's wake, like "The Little Couple" and "Little Chocolatiers"?
A: We think it's good because what it's doing is broadening the scope of what people perceive to be little people. At some point little people will become normalized and there won't be that kind of interest in the same way. We've heard from people who say, "I don't stare at little people anymore. They feel normal," and that's kind of a great objective. I think it's important to show little people aren't just people living on a pumpkin farm. It 's great to show they're training pit bulls and they're doctors and business people and families trying to do their thing. It took the reality television genre in order to educate people about little people because (Hollywood) didn't used to put little people in really normal roles until recently.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I've got a couple of other projects we're working on, from books to hosting to some animated stuff. These things take years to develop. I don't want our fans to think something is going to be on the air tomorrow. I wouldn't say those things are my goal, I'd say those are just things we'd want to capitalize on. My primary objective is still the farm and speaking and my stool business, but if the opportunities come knocking, we'll evaluate them.
-- Rob Owen