Friday, September 14, 2012

NEW SHOW: Big Tiny

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

A new show that's already over? Yeah, pretty much. Big Tiny had eight episodes, but for whatever reason, my DVR didn't record the final two. So, while I keep my eyes out for "Slumber Party Secrets" and "Bri and Brad Take Vegas," I'm going to go ahead and give you recaps and remarks on the other episodes. I can't find anything on the ratings for this series, but it didn't exactly scream "renew me!" the way that other shows sometimes do on TLC. While some might argue that the network can sustain multiple shows about super-sized families or dwarfs or gypsies, I don't know that it can, really. But that's an entirely different discussion.

Over the course of six episodes, viewers learn a lot about early-twentysomethings Bradley and Bridgette Jordan. Bri, 27" tall, is the shortest woman in the world, and with her 38"-tall brother, Brad, they are the shortest siblings in the world. He's 20 years old and she turns 23 during the series. The background of their primordial dwarfism is not really highlighted on the show, but we do not see any other people in their family who are not of average height, including their older sister, Brandy, and their mother, Kristy, with whom the pair reside in Sandoval, IL. Though we learn that Brad goes to Kaskaskia College on a cheerleading scholarship, it's unclear what it is that Bri does besides take a single course in sign language (which part of me wonders is because of her difficulty in communicating more than anything else). The duo seem to act pretty immaturely, but it seems that, for the most part, they're living a fairly average life. If it gets renewed, I'll probably tune in some more, but if it doesn't, no heartbreak here. Did you follow this series? Do you want to see more of the Jordans?

Big Tiny "Tiny Tumblers, Big Achievements" (S01E01): This episode really gives us some background to the siblings - Brad is into gymnastics and Bri is into dancing. At birth, Bri was 12.5" long and 1lb, 12 oz, and Brad was 13.5" long and 2 lbs, 4 oz. Bri has a trach, which she's had since she was six months old. Brad can shower but Bri washes in the sink. They have a tiny bathroom and will always ride in carseats. [...I hadn't really thought about that fact before.] Brad likes being on the ground, tumbling, but they often have him doing high-flying acts and other stunts. They both have their own sets of friends. [but we really only see Bri hang out with her circle.] They receive a package from the Guinness Book of World Records that lists them as the World's Shortest Siblings and decide to have a party to celebrate. Kristy puts Bri in charge of making a list, and both she and her brother pick out the groceries. Kristy encourages the kids to be able to live independently by being able to shop, but there's some backlash from Bri, who doesn't like to ask for help when she can't reach or lift things. [it also seems like asking her children to help with the shopping is abnormal for the family... is this done for the cameras? or is there s sudden push for responsibility lately?] Bri's nieces help her bake cupcakes, and we learn that she would like to have children in the future. [I don't really get the idea of being so proud of them for making it into the book... what exactly did they have to do besides fill out some paperwork and stuff? I mean, they're not in there for being fast or smart or muscular... they're in it for being small... a genetic condition beyond their control.] 
Big Tiny "Bri and Brad Get Physical" (S01E02): Brad and Bri go to Chicago (a 4.5 hour drive) for some health check-ups, which they do every 3-6 months. Bri has some kidney issues but Brad is in stage 3 of 5 kidney failure. [but they don't get into exactly how serious this is.] The kidney specialist recommends a shot every three weeks. [but we don't hear why or what is in it.] Brad has a heart checkup because he's had some blood pressure issues in the past. Bri has an ECG, as she has high blood pressure, an aneurysm, and a hernia. Both need to be more physically fit, so they step up the cardio at Kristy's brother-in-law's house. David, a police officer, has them exercise with his daughter, doing jumping jacks, high-steps, and running in place. [I'm a little surprised that Brad was ordered to be more active... between the cheerleading, karate, and alleged basketball, I'd figure that he would be doing better than Bri.] Brad does pull-ups, push-ups, and prepares for his green belt test in karate. [when Kristy's dad drives, no carseat for Brad.] Brad passes! [I was kinda shocked at some of the bouts! Everyone being bigger than him was kinda weird.] Bri tries walking the family dogs (one at a time) with her cousin, but she can hardly keep up with the dog, Chloe, who actually gets away at one point. [having never owned a dog and only walking one belonging to someone else about ten times in my life, I never thought about small dogs being too much for small people.]

Big Tiny "Gone Fishin'" (S01E03): Brad and Bri's father lived nearby with his long-term girlfriend, Emily. They've been together for about eight years and she's been part of the kids' lives for three years or so. [I don't know how it works, they didn't get into it.] Well, their father takes the kids camping for a weekend, and Bri is not as excited as Brad, who is thrilled to fish. They have a cabin but also set-up a tent. [why, I don't know.] Brad and Bri gather some sticks for a fire, then Emily and Bri go for a walk. Emily is quite the woodswoman, grabbing a snake and bringing it back to the guys, even though Brad is afraid of snakes. [see, I find that sort of thing mean. apparently they see it as more of a "character-building" thing.] Then, they go to a bait shop, rent a boat, and try fishing... though they don't catch anything and will have to have hot dogs for dinner, with which Bri assists. [it was the same day? I guess I've never only rented a boat in the afternoon... we usually get it for the whole day or just the first half, LoL.] Because Brad is a scaredy cat, his father bets that he can't make it one hour in the tent alone. [what was the point in bringing it, again?] Brad says he'll do it for two dollars, the bet is made, and Brad does last that long, though it probably went pretty quickly between pumping up an air mattress and talking about an experience with a bathroom ghost. [yeah... don't ask.] When it's all over, Bri doesn't feel the need to ever camp again. [LoL!]

 Big Tiny "Little Household Helpers" (S01E04): Kristy is headed to work early so Chastity comes over to help Brad and Bri get going for the day - they have nothing big going on but the house could use some cleaning. [Chastity's job was just to wake up the kids and get Bri's trach straightened out? really?] When they do laundry, they need to use front-loading machines. Bri cleans one cabinet of the kitchen, vacuums a little, and then helps Brad fold laundry and bathe Chloe. [ugh. another reason I don't have dogs... I can't imagine washing one!] We also see how Brad and Bri make a meal for themselves. See, they can't put things in the oven because they can't get close enough, and they can't use the stove well because it's so high. So, they use the microwave to make macaroni and cheese or oatmeal. After Kristy gets home, Brad and Bri make her a cup of coffee. They both know that many people their ages are on their own and they are striving to be the same. [this comment seems rather contrived...]

Big Tiny "Nashville Here We Come!" (S01E05): It's the end of the term and time for Bri's 23rd birthday, so Kristy takes Bri and Brad to Nashville to celebrate. Some family meets them there, and before they leave, Brad checks the oil and tries to pump the gas. [I'm actually impressed here. I'd think it would be pretty difficult to check the oil when you're three feet tall.] In Nashville, they stop and see a Superman statue, go shopping for boots and cowboy outfits, and get a line-dancing lesson. It's much easier for Brad to shop than Bri, as her sizes are much smaller, leading to more "baby" styles. [yeah, I'd think that would be truly awful to deal with after you're 12!] Bri struggles with clothing being too pink or too "young" at the cowgirl store so she finds an outfit at Goody's instead. [I had forgotten about that store! I loved the one in Tallahassee but it has since closed. and, according to their store locator, there isn't one around here for more than 100 miles!] The family goes to a barbecue-type cafeteria, then it's onward to the big event that night: dancing and Western-Wear competitions! [having to lift up a 20-year-old so he can see what the food choices are is a bit different.] They win for clothing.    

Big Tiny "One Size Doesn't Fit All" (S01E06): Brad is in a play at the college, Pirates to the Rescue. Brad wants to be a professional stage actor, but he's stressed between all of the cheerleading and acting. Plus, during a big cheerleading competition on the morning of the final performance, and he falls and twists his knee during the tumbling competition. [if he still won first in that division after a fall, there must be some very sorry gymnasts in that bunch!] They ice his knee and he's told not to do the tumbling in the play, but he does anyway. [typical college boy, LoL!]

To attend the play, Bri needs to find a nice dress, but fit and style are difficult when you're the same size as a two-year-old. [she's 22 years old in this episode, by the way. According to the performance board, it's late April.] After some shopping, they decide to see a designer about having something custom-made. Bri wants to be a fashion designer for little people, so after they discuss the style and Bri does a drawing, they look at some fabrics. When Kristy and Bri go to pick up her dress, she really likes it, though it needs a little hemming. [maybe they act young because people talk to them so patronizingly?]
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1 comment:

Fallon said...

I'm a little offended by the nonchalant attitude of this article. You obviously don't understand how amazing it is that these two are actually alive, not to mention their unwavering spirit. Microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism is such a rare disorder and sufferers have many health, not to mention social and emotional, issues. This condition affects only about 40 people in the US and I think their lives should be documented, if they so choose. I would love to see this show become a regular on TLC.