Tori and Zach Roloff in a special episode of ‘Little People, Big World’
Courtesy of TLC

TLC’s reality TV slate leans heavily on voyeurism, but when it came to Little People, Big World, one of the network’s earlier forays into the genre, the result was surprisingly respectful. The show, still ongoing, examines the lives of the Roloffs: Matt and Amy, a couple with dwarfism, and their four children, one of whom also has dwarfism and three of whom do not. Over 23 seasons, the series has concerned itself more with the dynamics of the charming and complicated family than with the differences between the Roloffs and other families. The most outstanding example of this approach came in season 14, when the show documented the wedding celebrations of twins Jeremy and Zach while chronicling the growing fissures in their parents’ marriage. As the stresses of television fame began to show their wear on the senior Roloffs in this season, the storylines remained relatable and compelling, garnering the show its highest ratings—and marking a time before TLC shifted its emphasis to series, like 1000-lb Sisters and sMothered, that encourage audiences to gawk at their stars’ differences. —Cady Lang

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