Is TLC's Little People, Big World Scripted? Here's What The Cast Said

Reality television is known for plot twists and dramatic reveals, many of which are teased right before a commercial break to keep you on the edge of your couch until the show returns. However, it's well-established that editing tricks can completely change the circumstances of a scene and make things seem more life-or-death than they actually are, and reality TV is particularly notorious for this. Jeremy Roloff, from TLC's "Little People, Big World" briefly discussed this phenomenon of forcing drama after dramatically exiting the show. 

Some of Jeremy's wife, Audrey Roloff's, moments on "Little People, Big World” were hard to film, and in July 2018, the couple announced that they were leaving the show after 14 years. During a 2022 Q&A session on Instagram, Jeremy clarified that he and Audrey had actually stopped being a part of it about four years prior, "For many reasons, but I think in short it became something I didn't want to associate with anymore." Jeremy also shared a metaphor about an athlete needing to retire instead of dragging his team down, before tellingly adding, "Audrey and I had other things we wanted to do besides fabricating drama on TV" (via Soap Dirt).

Jacob Roloff claimed the people on TV are 'Roloff Characters'

Jacob Roloff, one of Jeremy Roloff's brothers, also retired from "Little People, Big World." In 2016, Jacob revealed the real reason he left the show. He explained on Instagram, "For the sake of 'the episode' and ratings I've seen a lot of STORYLINES drawn up (loosely) about our lives, and when I was standing here, behind the scenes and watching it from an outside perspective I just couldn't stop laughing." Jacob went on to say that the crew's main goal was to keep the show's ratings high, and obviously, that wasn't always what was best for the family. 

He added, "The family that is filmed is not my family. They are the Roloff Characters and I have scarcely anything in common with them, nor do I want to be a character myself." At the time of posting that explanation, the former reality star also claimed that he could see his family's real personalities shining through once filming for a scene was done.

Jacob also shared a blog post on his website in 2017, lamenting how each member of his family was boiled down to a single characteristic for the show (his being a "brat"), and how this oversimplified view of each person was highly inaccurate. Jacob added, "Although it really speaks to the talent of an editor that can sculpt such believable personalities."

Amy Roloff agrees that editing changes things

Other members of the Roloff family — including Zach Roloff's wife, Tori Roloff — have acknowledged that the editing of "Little People, Big World" warps peoples' perceptions of them and the events that unfold onscreen, per InTouch Weekly. The matriarch of the family, Amy Roloff, also agreed editing can make things seem different, but she believes her family members are their authentic selves even while on camera.

"Granted, here we're filming three hours and then take the one moment that people will say, 'Oh, it's scripted,'" Amy told Us Weekly in 2019. "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." However, her ex-husband, Matt Roloff, admitted on Instagram Live that some arguments between them are overdramatized for entertainment. 

However, "We know that those are the kinds of arguments back-and-forth that create interest and people like to hear," (via The Hollywood Gossip). The producers also convinced Amy to date again post-divorce, and that's how she met her now-husband, Chris Marek (via Access Hollywood). Even if the show doesn't have a word-for-word script, the real Roloffs are exaggerated, re-edited, and nudged along to create captivating television.