Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Family Divided

In the November 2 episodes, the family is divided. It is spring break week and Amy has had a speaking engagement planned in Wisconsin. Matt, whether inadvertently or intentionally, plans a family sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. Amy claims she cannot go because of her prior commitment, and the family is forced to take sides in the debate.

This episode left a bad taste in my mouth for a number of reasons:

1) Amy has proven to be manipulative and sides with her children over her husband. Her feelings were hurt and she felt excluded, which is normal, but instead of being mature about it, she allowed the kids to take sides and even encouraged the kids to side against Matt. And why did she never suggest postponing the speaking engagement due to conflicting family obligations? Why was this never an option for her?

2) Zach lacks maturity and is proving to be a "mama's boy." Zach is an adult--at least numerically (he hasn't proven to be very mature, however). Fine, if he doesn't want to go on a family trip, it's his loss, but he should in no way be allowed to guilt Molly into not going as well. He could have been mature about it and could have told his mom that he was sorry she couldn't go, but he chose to throw fuel on the fire and make a big deal out of it. He and his mom tend to feel sorry for themselves.

3) Molly is a wimp. Molly felt torn between siding with Matt and Amy, but chose Amy because of Zach's manipulation. Instead of doing what she wanted to do--take the trip and see the world (how many times has she mentioned her love for geography and wanting to travel?)--she chose to be manipulated by Zach.

4) Zach is envious of Jeremy. Jeremy is more mature than Zach and enjoys having a good time. He's more creative and proactive than his brother and has more friends and deeper friendships-- and this burns Zach up. I've never seen him verbalize it before, but he was fuming about the bond between Jer and Jacob Mueller. C'est la vive. Zach is beginning to see that Jeremy will undoubtedly have a more fun and successful life than his brother, and it pisses him off.

5) Matt's health is deteriorating, and no one seems to care. It was painful just to watch Matt manipulate the steps on the trip or even just walk with his crutches. His cartillage is deteriorating and his mobility is decreasing, and you'd think his family would rally round him at this time. There's a chance he may one day soon become immobile. Why the family couldn't mobilize and unify to take this trip together with Matt's health in the balance is puzzling. As Dr. Phil says, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?"

6) Jacob is a lost boy. I feel the most for Jake. He was obviously torn between his parents' wishes. I hated that Amy didn't comfort him more. He is a child who has difficulty verbalizing his emotions, but his body language speaks volumes. He was practically writhing on the hall floor. Instead of easing his mind, Amy allowed Zach and Molly to continue with their little rebellion and left poor Jacob to make his own decision. Amy should have put a stop to it by forcing underage Molly to go on the trip (didn't she make a big deal when Matt committed a faux pas, calling the vacation a father-son trip on the phone with his dad, excluding Molly?). But no, she allowed Zach to have his little ally (hooray, another one for her side), and left Jacob to flounder.

7) This family is in trouble. It's one thing when parents disagree. What married couple doesn't? But when the line is drawn in the sand and children begin to choose sides, there's real trouble. Jeremy will go Matt's way; Zach and Molly will go with their mother. And Jake will be a boy who feels like he has no one.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tonight's episodes--10/26

Here are tonight's episodes:

EPISODE 5: School of Hard Knocks: As the twins' senior year of high school flies by, it's clear that Zach and Jeremy are not ready for higher education. Amy takes them to tour a local college, but the boys are way behind the curve in applying and getting accepted to a university.

EPISODE 6: A House Divided: It's Matt against the whole family as Amy encourages the kids' desire to have their friends over in their newly remodeled home. The result is chaos and clutter. Matt fights back by organizing the jumbled mess in the basement, which Amy uses for storage.

Last week's episodes also featured the Roloff boys taking a tour of a college, Corban in Salem. Corban is a small Christian school, which might attract the Roloffs for a couple of reasons. One is that it is much like the school they spent their formative years at, Faith, and another is that it does offer a men's soccer team. It was interesting to hear Zach and Amy both state that Corban may be a little too much like Faith, however. Zach did say the college experience there wouldn't be much of a change from what they're used to, and it wouldn't give them a taste of the bigger world that's out there. I was hoping to hear more from Jeremy, but I think this school tour was more to see if it was a fit for Zach than Jeremy.

The rumor these days is that the twins end up at Portland Community College. Most community colleges have a more lax acceptance policy and a longer enrollment period in which to apply than four-year universities. If it is true that the boys are at PCC, this episode may make it clear as to why--they are "way behind the curve in applying and getting accepted to a university."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amy Cooks with Rachael; Matt Waits Backstage

Amy and Matt Roloff appeared in a taped segment on the Rachael Ray Show today. Amy and Rachael prepared a casserole recipe of Amy's containing leftover chicken soup, pasta, and cheddar cheese. Rachael shared a recipe of hers with Amy that used eggplant as a rollup.

The segment was taped in Rachael's prep kitchen, not as part of the regular show in front of the live audience, and squeezed into a spot directly after a commercial. It wasn't even announced at the top of the show.

Here is the write-up from the Rachael Ray Show Web site:
"As the hit TLC show Little People, Big World enters its fifth season, Rachael asks Amy Roloff how she and Matt have handled exposing their lives while avoiding the tabloid nightmare that has surrounded fellow reality stars Jon & Kate Gosselin.
"We went into doing a reality show with a purpose and that was to get the message out about little people," Amy says. "But along with reality, your whole life is exposed - with Matt and I fighting or people seeing our messy house or all the comments on the blogs. So there is negativity that comes with it. You can take that with a grain of salt, or you keep going back and say, why are we doing this? ... [Ultimately] I think the message about little people is powerful."

A clip was shown from an upcoming episode, in which Amy walks into the twins' room while ringing a cowbell to wake the boys up. It's 11 a.m. and at least one friend (Bryan) had spent the night on the sofa in the boys' room. They were all resistant to getting up, despite Amy's telling them that she had prepared french toast. After Amy leaves the room, Zach is interviewed while playing Xbox. He expresses his displeasure with Amy's method of waking them up.

On the Web site also is a short segment filmed backstage, called "backstage pass," in which the couple is asked to name three things people might not know about them. A couple things Matt mentions is that he hates mushrooms, but he loves sappy love songs from the '80s. He joked that he's really a tall person dressed in a little person's suit. Amy made a joke that their lives are so exposed there probably isn't anything that people don't know about her. She did, however, list that she loves to sing, that she also loves the 1980s love songs, and then Matt joked with her about her competitiveness. Here's the link: http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/...ont-know-about-them/

Overall, the couple seemed like themselves and in good spirits. Maybe we can lay the divorce rumors to rest for now?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Amy on Rachael Ray Monday

Amy Roloff visits the Rachael Ray Show this coming Monday, October 19. I'm assuming she'll discuss the new season, and maybe give the viewing audience an insight into this season's themes. I doubt the conversation will get all that deep--this is Rachael Ray after all, not Dr. Phil--but maybe she can put to rest some of the rumors surrounding the turmoil between her and Matt displayed in the first week's episodes.

In many forums, especially those that exist on the family's official Web site, quite a few posters have mentioned visiting the farm and seeing the entire family together. Which may give credence to the rumors that the twins, Jeremy and Zach, are attending school at the local community college, PCC.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More trouble ahead for Matt and Amy?

Looking through the episode guide posted on TLC, I noticed that many upcoming episodes feature problems between Matt and Amy.

Here are some of the lowlights:
In the episode that was filmed on Mother's Day weekend/the twins' birthday, Matt announces that he's taking a trip to Hawaii by himself, so Amy ends up taking the kids on a camping trip.
In another, much like on the riverboat cruise, Matt leaves a family vacation early. There are a couple episodes like this, in which it's Matt vs. Amy and the kids. (Never a good sign.) In one, Matt plans a Caribbean sailing vacation on a week that Amy can't get off work and that divides the family (I'm guessing as usual that it's 5 vs. 1). It goes on to say, "Upset that it won't be a true family vacation without his mom, Zach leads the charge to mutiny against his dad."

Episode 18 is rather disheartening, as well. It reads, "As Matt and Amy's relationship continues to deteriorate, Matt slips into midlife crisis. His spending goes over the top and he buys two Mercedes sedans at a time when he's still paying off their big home remodel."

Fortunately, there still are some shows that don't necessarily focus on the couple's relationship, including a few dealing with the boys' schooling, soccer, and Molly and Jake (only one episode apiece for the younger two, of course).

I am hoping the network is playing up the tension, but it seems as though there are far too many instances in which the marriage experiences strain. Maybe things will change when the cameras go away. I'd hate to see this family self-destruct. It seems that instant fame and wealth can change people, or at the very least bring out their selfish desires.

(Check out the epi guide at http://tlc.discovery.com/fansi...ason-5-episodes.html)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First week's episodes: A lot of discussion about divorce (gulp!)

Seeing the Roloff family in its first two episodes of season 5 last night was a bittersweet experience. It's great having them back in the regular TLC lineup again (giving us a much needed break from Jon and Kate and the eight), but I was stunned that there was so much talk about divorce, whether jokingly or semi-seriously.
In the "Molly's Castle" episode, Matt decides to finally finish the castle after years of procrastination. Only problem is that it costs a handsome ransom to complete, and it causes Amy to question Matt's other plans involving the family's expenses along with their futures.

In the second of the two episodes, the boys and Molly prepare to attend the high school winter formal. Although a bit less contentious, Matt and Amy are shown bickering over little things. And the final scene in the restaurant, where the couple has a meal while the kids are at the dance (no mention of where Jacob is), is a bit uncomfortable to watch--as the couple discuss their future plans, which apparently are not in complete alignment.

These two episodes, coming on the heals of the announcement of the demise of Jon & Kate Plus 8 (or Kate Plus 8, as the replacement series was to be called before Jon and his attorneys put the kibosh on the entire deal), make me question TLC's motives. Could the TLC network really have been making an effort to garner some viewers, especially those who were Jon-and-Kate-come-latelys, who may not have been regular viewers of the show, but chose to tune in to see the family fall apart on national TV? Maybe TLC figured that by introducing those viewers to another family experiencing marital tension, those people would stick around to see if the Roloffs self-destruct as well.

If that's not the case, then the Roloff family may also be in trouble, or at least be on a bumpy ride.

My wager is on the theory that the network pieced together as much of the typical stress that comes naturally when couples are experiencing changes in their lives, and when each individual has different dreams and different plans, and a whole different way of looking at life than the other.
Amy mentioned more than once that the twins' being in their last year of high school has caused her to contemplate not only their futures but her own. I think some of that was the impetus to a lot of the bickering. Only time will tell.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Season Is Open!

The Roloff Farms pumpkin season has begun.
Here is a link to Matt Roloffs' Web site with all the details for visiting the pumpkin patch: http://mattroloff.com/pumpkin/

A shortcut to the details:
Gates are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. until October 31, when the patch closes at 2 p.m.
There is a $2 fee for parking this year.
The two tours are either $6 or $10.
A children's hay maze has been added, free of charge.
The pumpkin fun house created by Sven is back.
Picnicking is allowed on Fridays.