Family Life

Matt and Zach Roloff Chat Transcript

posted: 01/17/11
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Matt Roloff is the father of the Roloff family. See more pictures of the Roloff family.
John Keatley/DCL
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On May 6, 2006, hosted a live chat with Matt and Zach Roloff of Little People Big World. Over 20,000 questions were submitted for the chat. Here is a transcript of the event:

Matt: Thanks to all of you who are watching our show and learning things from it. We're excited to be here! We understand there are quite a few people here, so we'll get to as many questions as we can, and maybe we can come back to get some we'll have to miss!

heatherrn: Zach, how are you feeling since your surgery?

Zach: I'm feeling great! Back to normal.

ZachForPrez: Hey Zach - do you think you'll go into business, like your Dad (Congrats on your success, Mr. R!). Or maybe politics? Hmm?

Zach: I will probably not go into politics. And probably not like my dad, because our aptitudes are different; different characteristics.

heatherrn: How has your life changed since this show?

Matt: I think that so far it hasn't really changed that much. We still have the same close circle of friends and family. We get stopped in airports more, with people wanting to take their picture with us. Mostly we try to block it out, and carry on as we always have. What do you think, Zach?

Zach: Our life really hasn't changed that much. It may have brought us together a little more because it's brought up more feelings and discussion. Matt: One of the things that's been an unexpected benefit to us as a family is that it's given us a chance to look at ourselves and see what we're doing that maybe isn't so good and things that are good, and maybe improve on things. Everybody should set up a video camera in the corner of their living room and see what they're doing, and think introspectively. We get emails from people who are critical of what we do or don't do, and we try to take those comments in a constructive way, but some of us in the family read and take them to heart and think about how we can improve. Everybody wants to do better in life.

Badgermama: Hi, our entire family LOVES your series and has seen every one. Matt, you mentioned on one episode that you never went to college so I'd like to know how you learned how to design hi-tech computer software systems?

Matt: When I came out of high school back in 1980 there was a shortage of computer programmers, and it was popular to go in and take a logic exam - a special kind of test like an I.Q. test, and if you did well you could be streamlined into programming positions where you learned on the job. I learned and worked my way through the ranks, starting as a junior programmer, and working my way up to a senior programmer in a relatively short period of time.

CyGrrl: Is it a drag having a TV crew follow you around all the time?

Zach: Sometimes it can be a drag because they're always in our face, but sometimes it's kinda fun.

Matt: It's like when you want to go to the just want to make a quick run to the bank and make a deposit, but they've already been to the bank with you, and you don't see any need to do it again. But the crew wants to go, because they never know when interesting interactions will happen. So you might just want to get on with everyday life, but you have to wait while they change their batteries, or the tape - the technical aspects are more complicated than people realize.

CyGrrl: Do you feel like your family life is accurately portrayed on the TV show?

Matt: I would say that the answer is yes. Most people who know us best say it's exactly the family they know. I think sometimes things are shown out of sequence for editing purposes, that kind of skew things a little bit. Like the notion of me pushing Zach quite so hard at the conferences; pushing him to get married. Really, I'm not pushing him to get married by any means; it's just the way it's edited to make a great story that's more humorous. That's not exactly accurate. Zach: I agree. There's not so much fighting. I think it's pretty accurate. Matt: Most of the time we're fairly boring. But there's a much higher percentage of conflict that's being shown than the boring stuff. So if there is a confrontation, that makes it to the final cut, but all the other stuff that goes on that's not that way, does NOT make the final cut. So that's the part that skews it a little bit.

dodo: Matt, what gives you inspiration to build such unique things?

Matt: That's a tough one! I think it's just that I get a vision in my head, and when I get a vision I also tend to get the steps to do it, so I might lay awake at night and think about the steps to complete that vision. If I get passionate enough about an idea, I just go make it happen. The vision for the farm came when we learned we were going to have twin boys, and I wanted to build the ultimate twin boy room. Zach: I think it's a good idea!

sharkyjim: Matt, you seem to have an endless supply of money (and tons of toys). Where did you make the bulk of your dough?!?!?

Matt: (laughing) The bulk of our money was made when I was designing and selling software. There were quite a few years when I bought investment properties and different land, and I was pretty successful improving on real estate and reselling it. That was quite lucrative. But I've lost more money in the stock market than I ever made doing anything else. I've taken Amy through all the ups and downs of the ride in life. I have a pretty good capacity to make money, and also a capacity to spend money, and herein lies the conflict that you see in our house!

wildlotus200: My question is for Zach. If you had to limit yourself to 3 career choices, what would they be and why?

Zach: Teaching, because I like to hang out with little kids and teach them stuff. Or coaching soccer, because I like soccer, and teaching. Or a news reporter, because I like finding out information, and telling the whole world about it.

brooke: Hey...what's the hardest part about being little? My cousin is and she thinks that the hardest part is telling people she can do things on her own rather than people thinking she's helpless.

Zach: I think the hardest thing about being a Little Person is being physically not capable of keeping up with my friends. I'm pretty active in sports and all that, but I'm not able to run as fast, or be as tall, or do the whole teenage girl thing. Matt: I agree with Zach. As an adult, one of the hardest things is that you do always have to be proving yourself. In every encounter you're always having to work a little harder. That can be rewarding, but also tiring and exhausting at times.

Squirly Spice: How did you, Matt, take your wife's reaction to the helicopter?

Matt: I don't remember Amy's reaction! But I'm pretty much used to getting Amy's reactions, so I expect them, and try to take them in stride.

Trudie: What was the most surprising thing about doing the show?

Matt: How many people seem to be interested in it! We had thought in our best judgement that this was going to be a fairly boring show to people. We just did not realize that people cared about seeing us. We kept saying we're boring, and who would want to watch us? But people keep sending us all these emails and things!

amma1201: Zach, how's the driving coming?

Zach: Driving is going okay. It's not as fun as I thought it would be, but I'm getting the hang of it.

Matt: Driving is not supposed to be fun! We'll have to talk about that later. ;-)

Squirly Spice: Zach what kind of music do you like, like what bands?

Zach: I like country music. My favorite band is Alabama. Or Faith Hill, or Toby Keith.

Brandon1980: Zach do you like video games and if you do what game systems do you have and what do you like?

Zach: I'm not totally addicted to video games, but Jeremy and me have an XBox, and we play a lot of soccer games, or Halo.

mac-101: Dude I got a question for Zach: how come on the show it never shows you going to school?

Zach: Half the time our principal feels that it's not the best atmosphere for the other students for the cameras to be in the school.

Matt: One of the biggest challenges of the last season (the episodes everyone's watching now), was that it was filmed during the school year. If we film another season, it will be filmed during the summer. The difference in the Roloff activity from the school year to the summer is just going to blow people away. It will be very interesting for people to watch what our typical summer is like, in terms of activities and excitement, and the things that we do.

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Matt Roloff from Little People Big World chat transcript.
John Keatley/DCL

dAdwarFgUrL: Zach I'm a dwarf too. Do you ever get depressed about it?

Zach: Yeah, sometimes I get depressed about it, when I hang out with my friends and like that, I can't really keep up with them. And like my dad said, having to prove myself all the time can get depressing also.

laurie346: Matt, it's great to have role models like you and Amy as wonderful parents. Question is, what are your future goals for your family? Do you have a dream you have never accomplished that you want to? Zach I like your personality I wish you and your siblings the best.

Matt: I think as Zach and Jeremy are getting through high school, Amy and I are starting to think about their future education, what schools they may go to, what they want to study, and setting aside enough funds to help them through that process. I say, often, that if my life was to be taken today I would feel pretty content with what I've accomplished. We feel content with where we are, but we want to have the kids get a good education, and see the farm become self-sustaining. Those are some of the goals we have right now.

candygirl623: Your house seems very messy. Is it due to the construction, or having 4 kids?

Matt: The messy house is a constant source of contention among the family. Amy's mother was a complete and absolute neat freak. And for some reason Amy has resisted that. She has memories in her childhood of her mother being very, very focused on cleaning the house, and that has put Amy in the space of not really wanting a housekeeper. I have hired many, many housekeepers, all of whom were basically run out of town when Amy got home and realized they were there. We do a big clean up whenever Amy is out of town, and the kids need to help out when they can. I'm talking with her now about getting a housekeeper, now that she may be old enough to see the wisdom in that. It's dangerous for me walking through the house! It was one of the original conditions of the show though; Amy said she had to be true to who she is, she wasn't changing for anyone.

Zach: It's not like she tries to make a mess on purpose.

Matt: It's just not a priority for her.

bonyoman: I absolutely LOVE this show. What's the most important thing you've learned about your family from the entire show experience. You are educating the rest of America on so many things, what have the Roloffs learned?

Matt: As we've said earlier, we learned a lot about ourselves, seeing how we behave in various situations. We've learned we have a messy house. We're not perfect and we've got things to work on and improve on. We love each other and are committed to each other as a family. We've learned a lot about the TV-making process, and how that works!

hannahbelle: Mr. Matt, Did you and Mrs. Amy want a big family from the start, or did it just happen?

Matt: I think we always knew we wanted a number of kids. I don't know that we figured four exactly, but we wanted a number. We almost went for a fifth one, and then decided we had our hands full with four. As the family grew it became more and more exciting, and more rewarding. Each and every one of our kids has their own personality.

heatherrn: Zach, has your life changed a lot at school?

Zach: Not at all. A lot of my friends don't even care. They say, "Oh, Zach's on TV. Oh well. Life goes on."

Brenda M: Matt, did you ever think that a show about your family would be come such a huge hit? My daughter and I watch it every week!

Matt: We never in our wildest dreams imagined that a show about a regular, everyday family would be as popular as it's proved to be. It's still baffling to us.

SchumiF1: Why is Jacob not on the show so much?

Matt: That's going to change in the coming episodes. In the next season we've got a lot of activities ahead. The producers have sat down with Jacob and me and talked about his activities this summer, so you're going to see more Jacob in the coming season!

lauriep772: Do you have a fan club that I could write you at?

Matt: The best way to write to us is at the TLC website. Even though we're not able to answer all those emails, we do try to scan them from time to time, and we appreciate everyone's comments and the dialogs and suggestions. I'll sometimes forward them on to the various family members. But unfortunately if we spent all our time answering all those questions, we'd never get on to our real life!

carjake: Are you planning to build any new projects on your farm, or finish up an old one or two?

Matt: (laughing) Yeah, we have a lot of projects planned for this summer: finishing the the castle, maybe finishing the Volkswagen project, and some new projects that will basically reinvent the farm all over again.

Lauren_xo_13: Hey Zach, did the surgery hurt?

Zach: The surgery did not hurt. Before the surgery I was hurting really bad. But for the surgery they put me to sleep with medication so it was not that bad.

lingarner: What is the most annoying thing that someone has done because of your height?

Matt: Maybe pat us on the head.

Zach: Or when they ask me my age and I tell them, and they say "I don't believe you."

RodeoJoe: Hey Matt I was wondering how the new job is going?

Matt: So far the job has been really, really rewarding. I have already been involved in a number of very significant sales engagements. I'm a lot more involved than when I first started, but it's going very, very well.

xo_KDON_ox: I don't understand. What is a shunt and what happened to Zach that he had to get operated on?

Matt: A shunt is a very small tube (like the size of a small straw) that starts up in your head and runs down your neck and into your belly. Sometimes with people with dwarfism the spinal fluid doesn't drain out of your head as well as it should. Zach had had a shunt since he was a baby, and the shunt failed. So they had to go in and replace it.

Brian: This question is for Matt: My family just saw the episode on (lack of) health coverage for little people. Would you ever go into politics to lobby for health care access for little people? My mother thinks you'd make a great spokesperson.

Matt: It's definitely been on my mind, and it's definitely a consideration. I've been very involved and active in Little People Politics and on the board for a number of years. The challenge with politics is that you can spend your whole life and energy on something, and you need to have balance in your life. It's definitely a consideration, but right now I have no plans to jump head first into something that's so hard to change. If any Senators or Congressmen want to invite me to their offices, I'd be happy to share my ideas on the subject!

tooliangrl: Does Zach's school make any accommodations for him?

Zach: My school doesn't do any of that. I don't really need it. I can reach everything pretty good. If I need help, I can just ask a friend. I do have a stepstool in the bathroom though.

Mitch_56: Zach, who is your favorite celebrity and your favorite sports star?

Zach: My favorite sports star is probably either David Beckham or Raul from the Real Madrid soccer team. My favorite celebrity is probably Bruce Willis.

William1965: How is Dudley the rooster doing?

Matt: He is alive and well and crowing every morning, to our delight! Matt and Zach, thank you for being here answering so many questions tonight! Do you have any final thoughts before we have to close?

Matt: I understand that there were thousands of questions, and I wish we could have gotten to more of them. We appreciate your enthusiasm for our show, and our family, and we're thankful that people seem to be learning things, and connecting with our triumphs and our struggles and our ups and downs. We're very appreciative of all the folks who are tuning in! Well, thanks for joining our live chat. In case you missed anything, look for the transcript of this chat on the fan site later this week. And don't forget to check the "Little People Big World" site for exclusive video and other exciting interactive features!

Make sure to watch more new episodes of "Little People Big World," Saturdays at 8/7c.

A production of LiveWorld, Inc.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

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