Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Little People, Big World: Around the Farm and in Costa Rica

When Little People, Big World premiered ages ago, the episodes spent a lot of time showcasing how the Roloffs manage to do everything that others do. After a while, however, it became more like every other reality family. "Welcome to the Jungle" brought the series back to its roots, however, as it depicted how emotional it can be when Matt just isn't as able-bodied as the rest of the family. Another aspect which really came out on vacation is how Amy's role has changed as a mother since the family first came on the scene back in 2005. In both episodes, she struggles with the fact that she's not as needed as she once was, and although she's still there to provide love and support, she has time to work on her own projects once more, including returning to the workforce. However, although the focuses on parenting and ability were once a great focus for the Roloffs, these specials had very little time devoted to the Jeremy, Zach, and Molly, which left audiences a little unbalanced.
Little People, Big World "Breaking Down the Walls" (Special): Amy tries hard to get Jacob to talk about his life, dreams, schooling, and more. He doesn't have much in the way of aspirations, so Matt challenges him to maintain a B average to be eligible to get his driver's license. He does raise his physics grade, and he is able to start driving. [his attitude toward Amy on the way to the DMV made me sad.]
Matt builds a wine cellar with a tasting room on the farm, and wants Amy to help with this and other projects he has for the property. She would rather return to teaching however, and we see her interview at an alternative school, where she pitches a diversity class. [lots of "ums" but I thought the questions were fair.] She's told to go write up a more formal proposal for the course, and she is very excited to be offered the job. [as much as I love to teach about diversity, throwing "what does diversity mean to you?" at middle schoolers is a bit much.]

Little People, Big World "Welcome to the Jungle" (Special): It's March, and Matt wants a big family trip. Because Molly is studying Spanish, Amy suggests a Spanish-speaking country, and they settle on Costa Rica. It'll be Matt and Amy, their four kids, plus Tori and Audrey, Jeremy's girlfriend of 19 months. [I love watching people rush to take off for trips! it's some sort of morbid pleasure I guess.]

The first adventure is kayaking, but Matt is late getting to the van and then has issues sitting in the kayak for very long, forcing him to get into a boat instead. They see mangroves and iguanas on the outing. They next day, the plan is to hike in Manuel Antonio National Park. Matt tries to do it, as it's only about 3 miles long, but he can't keep up and gives up after a while, waiting for the family and enjoying some coconut. They see monkeys, rodents, and more iguanas. They have a beach picnic, and then Matt takes the boys fishing while the girls go shopping. [and Molly gets a random haircut?] That night, Zach and Jeremy take their girlfriends for a romantic dinner while Matt and Amy do the same.

Next on the agenda is donating a bunch of stuff to a school and playing with kids, as part of a service project. Then, it's on to a jungle adventure, with jeeps, ziplines, ropes to cross, waterfalls to rappel, and even some plunging. [I looked up this activity, as it seemed pretty neat to me. I'm nearly certain this is it, and it seems very reasonable and safe.] Matt makes an effort to follow the family, but it just becomes too steep and he has to turn back. On the bright side, he is able to do some off-road driving and watch the group finish the adventure. [above picture.] The final activity is horseback riding, for which Matt has a custom saddle. [he's never ridden a horse but had a saddle made? seems a bit strange.]
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