Not All Reality Bites
The reality TV phenomenon has worn a little thin for me. An avid "Real World" fan from the get-go (almost 15 years ago!), I think my eyes started glazing over sometime around "The Anna Nicole Show." My fascination with "Flavor of Love" was nothing short of a sickness, one from which I've now recovered (I won't be there for a rumored second season).
I can still get into a little vintage "Osbournes," but tend to shy away from "Meet the Barkers." It's just seems that in the past few years, reality TV has become completely unreal. It's all the "Surreal Life," if ya get my meaning. In what world -- other than one involving hefty payments -- would Daniel Baldwin, Biz Markie and the freaking Snapple lady compete to lose weight? It's like watching a train wreck and one can only watch so many wrecks without developing post traumatic stress disorder.
Yet along the way, there have been some instances of networks using their reality powers for good. For instance, "American Chopper," "Cops" (we can debate this one in comments) and the excellent PBS offerings "Manor House," "Frontier House," "1900 House" and the soon to come "Texas Ranch House."
While channel surfing before the Simpsons* on Sunday night, the hubby and I came across "Little People, Big World." The show's been airing on TLC since March 4, so I'm probably one of the last owners of a cable box to catch it and for that I'm sorry. Because this show is reality done right.
On the off chance that someone else out there hasn't yet caught "Little People, Big World," here's the set-up: The show follows Oregon's Roloff family. Mom, dad and one son are little people -- meaning 4-feet tall. Three children are average size. With wit, restraint, timing and access, TLC's cameras give us a peek into what we soon see is an average American family, albeit one with a few more challenges than most.
In one episode, father Matt speaks at a junior high about little people, prejudice and acceptance -- lessons that can't help but be absorbed while watching this excellent, entertaining half-hour of TV.
*Speaking of the Simpsons, did anyone see that they actually ran the live action sequence I linked to a couple of weeks ago during the opening credits? Very cool move.
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