Little People, Big World is a reality television show.
This is not exactly a groundbreaking statement.
As such, however, the long-running TLC series has faced the same criticism and the same questions that have faced all other reality television entries on the small screen.
Which is to say that many viewers are often wondering the following:
Is the series scripted?
This speculation was spurred on about three years ago when Jacob Roloff quit the show, resigning with a controversial Instagram post that he claimed at the time called out the program for exactly what it is:
An example of total phoney baloney, according to Jacob.
“Producers have to try to get us to follow the talking points,” he shared in this message, jumping way high on a pedestal and adding:
“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 could not be a part of it as soon as I was able.”
In this same post, Jacob referred to "storyline" and wrote of his loved ones:
"They are the Roloff Characters and I have scarcely anything in common with them."
Years later, Jacob would sort of apologize for these remarks; or at least explain that he had since grown up and regretted making them.
He's now on great terms with these same loved ones, but the issue remains. The question hangs over the Roloffs.
How much of what we see each week is natural and normal? And how much is produced or even flat-out written for Amy, Matt and their kids?
“For the most part, we keep it real,” Amy Roloff told Us Weekly in a recent interview.
“My kids are real. They’re grounded … Granted, here we’re filming three hours and then take the one moment that people will say, ‘Oh, it’s scripted.’
"I say, ‘No, it didn’t feel like the three hours that I was in.’ I like to think that we’re pretty honest, we’re pretty real - at least I am - sometimes to a fault.”
In other words:
The show is edited. And these edits may be done in such a way to emphasize a certain topic or disagreement in order to boost interest -- such as Matt and Amy's fight a couple weeks ago over the farm.
But nothing you see is fake by any definition of that word.
How has a show that started off as an idea for a one-off documentary lasted this long?
How has it actually set a Guiness World Record?
In this same Us Weekly chat, Matt Roloff chalks it up to what he calls "Compromise TV."
He expounded on this theory as follows:
“Compromise TV to me, that definition in my mind, basically means male, female, there’s something for everybody – any age groups, grandpas, grandmas, young kids.
"Everybody has got something.
"Whether it’s the relationship between Amy and I, or the babies, or the marriages, or the bulldozers and Track Hoes, we’ve got the big farm that has the beautiful backdrop.”