We recently put a piece about ''Little People, Big World,'' on the cover of our weekly TV supplement. I'm also posting the text here, not least because what I wrote was largely inspired by all the ''LPBW'' comments posted here on the blog. So thank you for that. And here's the column:
It's easy to think of television as CSI and Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and House and Deal or No Deal. In other words, high-profile shows on the major broadcast networks.
But, based on my e-mail and comments on my blog, plenty of people base their viewing happiness on things like ABC Family's Wildfire and Discovery Kids' Flight 29 Down and TLC's Little People, Big World. They may not be must viewing in your house, but they are in others.
That's especially true of Little People, Big World, which begins its second season at 8 p.m. Saturday on The Learning Channel. Weeks after posting a notice about the second season on my blog, I was still getting euphoric comments from fans. One said it had "the coolest family 2 watch on tv."
It is the Roloffs, an Oregon family consisting of husband-and-wife Matt and Amy, each 4 feet tall, and their four children, only one of whom is a little person.
The hook to the show is seeing how little people cope with daily life. That includes everything from driving a car to being part of the little-people community to how it feels to be 16 and shorter than your much younger brother.
But once that gets people to tune in for the first time, there's a better reason to stay: The Roloffs are very much like other families.
Sometimes things are good, sometimes not. Sometimes the children behave, sometimes not. When the family plans a special getaway to mark the 16th birthdays of the non-identical twins, it includes family quarrels, the youngest son's longing to play with the older boys, Amy trying to make sure her children all get the attention they need and issues of behavior that will be familiar to any adult who has had to deal with a teenager.
This gets to what makes Little People, Big World so good. Matters of size are never forgotten, but neither are they constantly pushed to the foreground.
Unlike some reality shows desperate to create constant drama, this show has no problem showing the family just going about a day -- even if the biggest things on the day are a struggle with some grocery bags and a little teasing at dinner.