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'Little Couple' Jen Arnold and Bill Klein on the Show's New Season

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 1st 2010 2:02PM
Jen Arnold and Bill Klein of 'The Little Couple' on TLCJen Arnold and Bill Klein, stars of the TLC reality series 'The Little Couple,' are unique in the universe of cable reality, but not because of their size. The couple, who begin their third season on June 1 at 10PM ET, are unique because they're so unrelentingly normal. And, considering Jen is a prominent neonatal physician and Bill owns his own training business, showing their "normalness" was very important to the both of them.

"I... wanted to make sure that overall the show was positive and not sensational, because the last thing I wanted to do was to negatively affect our careers," said Jen, "which always is a risk you take when you put yourself out there in the spotlight."

I spoke to Jen and Bill while they were visiting New York to attend TLC's summer press party; they were also doing some press and shooting for the show, including Bill's upcoming stand-up routine at Caroline's. Read on to find out how that came about.

You guys doing anything interesting in New York this week?
Bill: Let's see here. Well, we've done a few pieces of press. We did the 'Wendy Williams Show,' we've been doing some ABC stuff. And then we're also doing a little bit of shooting for the show.

What stuff is being shot? Is it stuff like the Wendy Williams appearance or some other activity?
Bill: Oh it's other stuff. It's actually, you know, I do a decent amount of public speaking. So as part of the show, they're going to be covering one of my speaking engagements coming up in June. And so in advance of that, they're covering my open mic night opportunity at Caroline's Comedy Club. They have a school that they teach average Joes like me how to try and be funny, which we'll find out how well I did tonight. But that's basically the thing that they're covering here.

Have you done the graduation performance yet? Has that taken place?
Bill: Um, I'm not quite sure. Because we're doing kind of ad hoc to squeeze in some education, and then perform and basically two days... On stage will be a little lackluster compared to some of the other people, but you know, we'll do our best. And hopefully that'll give me enough confidence to ramble one joke off while I'm doing speeches. That's the main objective.

Jen, do you think he can pull it off?
Jen: Oh, I think he can do great. He'll be great. He's a funny guy, if he can relax. (giggles)

So how was Wendy Williams by the way?
Jen: It was so fun! I mean, she's very engaging, and easy to talk to. I mean, I can see the two of us going out for a cocktail. (giggles)

Going into this third season, what part of your lives do you want to show that you haven't shown before, what have you learned from doing the first two seasons that carries over to this third season?
Bill: I think from the perspective of stories that continue on, you know, obviously, we're working towards having a baby, and we're working towards building a house. And I don't know if the payoffs will necessarily be completed on both of these things, as in having a baby and having the house completed, by the end of the season.

But I think what you'll see is a lot of the progress that goes into both of those things. It's a heck of a lot of work. And between that and juggling the regular career stuff, it should be interesting to see how we do.

When did you guys finish filming season two?
Jen: It was January.
Bill: Yeah, I think we finished up in January. So typically, our show is fairly up to date. Like maybe the viewers are, maybe 2 months, you know, a couple months behind.

So when did you start filming season three?
Jen: We started in March. Right after I finished my (medical) boards. I had to take a little reprieve.

So there's not this big gap in time or anything like that then?
Bill: Yeah. And basically, you know, where they're seeing is where we left off. You know, as far as the house is concerned, where we have the development of the foundation, now we're starting to get to the framing and all that fun stuff.

And as far as the baby is concerned, we did a couple of things that actually I think some of them will be highlighted in the premiere episode. There's a lot of like small steps that need to be taken, that I think the culmination of it is the delivery of us being able to actually get somebody pregnant.

So hopefully we're successful in making all that work. Ideally, and it has nothing to do with the timing of the season, because obviously we can't dictate the builders ability to complete a project, or rush a house or anything like that. And from a baby perspective, well, there's some things you can't dictate its innovation in that regard.

But are we hoping that it happens quickly? Absolutely. We're as anxious about our baby as anybody is. And our viewers are certainly interested in finding out where we're at. But I'd love to be able to say that we're pregnant already. It's just unfortunate that there's so much involved. But it does take time.

Jen, can you talk about what you guys finally decided to do with regards to the baby?
Jen: Sure. I think I can, I think it's safe to say that we chose surrogacy. But you know, we're pursuing surrogacy right now. Of course, it's too early to know if we'll be successful. We don't have a baby yet. But we are going through the process. And with the Center for Surrogacy Parenting, doing all the parts that are needed, and sort of figuring out OK, how do we get a surrogate, how do we get a surrogate pregnant.

I think there's going to be a lot of steps in the process that will come out in season three. It'll be educational and interesting for people. But I think not a lot has been done on what's really involved with that process. There's a lot that I'm learning, and I'm like in the field. (chuckles)

What was the biggest surprise about this whole process that you found out about as you were going along? Especially from your perspective as a physician in the neonatal field?
Jen: I think the medical side of things, I kind of knew about. You know, there's the risk for multiples, and some of the extraction process, and fertility medication. But for me, the legal side of things was really new. I really didn't quite understand that some states, it's not legal, and all the sort of the risks that are involved with getting a surrogate and working with them. And a lot the psychological side of things, you know, what different considerations that CSP has been preparing us for. I mean, we're going to to go through a psychological evaluation, the surrogates all go through that. I mean, there's so many aspects to consider besides just the medical, that we didn't really even realize until we were in the middle of it.

Is this the type of thing that like, I forgot, is this something that you can do in Texas?
Jen: TX is one of the states where surrogacy is legal. But not in all states is that the case, yeah. It's hard to believe that it's not legal in certain states. Like why not? I don't understand.

We see a lot of what you do at Texas Childrens hospital, Jen. When went to sign on to do the show, was that a condition of you guys signing on to do it, to show the two of you at work?

Jen: Well, you know, I think one of the things, at least for me, was that if we were going to agree to do this whole TV thing and put ourselves out there, that we wanted it to be educational and hopefully breaking down barriers, and all those really good things. But I also hoped that it would show that, you know, no matter what size you are, or what disability you have, or what issue you have, you can really pursue your dreams.

And I wanted them to show part of our careers, because I think that's a big part of who Bill and I are. You know, we met later in life, and up until we met each other, I think our primary focus, other than our families, was work. And we worked really hard, both of us, to achieve our goals. So I did want them to show that. I also wanted to make sure that overall the show was positive and not sensational, because the last thing I wanted to do was to negatively affect our careers. Which always is a risk you take when you put yourself out there in the spotlight.

So it was definitely a condition in terms of making sure that it was done with a very sensitive and positive feel. And thankfully, our production company has done a really good job of working with the hospital, working with us, to achieve that.

When you're at home, how long are the cameras there?
Bill: Well, you know, typically, without giving away the secret sauce that LMNO uses to produce the show, typically the way it works is, you know, they will pick a day where there's an event that they feel is TV-worthy, that we're doing. So for instance, if we're going to the beach, they're going to follow us from the morning til we wrap at the beach. So typically, I would say, you know, we try and do it where we're not working that day. So it's typically weekends or evenings, because we can't really mess up a regular work schedule. So we jam it in when we can. So long and short of it is it'll be a Saturday when we have something going on in Houston, or if we're traveling, they'll follow us with the travel.

And as far as the rest of it, it's like interviews and things like that where they'll see the other portion of the show where they have us sitting down in an interview type style setting. There's things we do when we have time after the content's been taped.

What is the feedback you've gotten about the show from people that you've encountered out in public?
Bill: I think it's, from what we run into, is people are thrilled to watch what's going on. But we get a lot of the inspirational messages, that they're inspired by what we do, that they're amazed that my wife has been able to accomplish what she has, that I've been able to accomplish what I have, that our relationship is what it is.

They see it for, I think, for what it represents, which is, you know, we are a normal couple that's doing the absolute best we can in a world that, I don't think it's built specifically for anyone, and you know, everybody's got their issues, their challenges, and we're no different. And you know, we're very fortunate to be in the position that we're in. We've had some great success, we've had some failures. We've worked hard to get to where we're at, and you know, I think we're just happy with our situation. So that's all worked out well.

Jen: It's nice... I don't know if Bill mentioned this or not...but people really already know who we are. So instead of getting a lot of attention because we're just little people and people are sort of wanting to stare or ask questions, somewhat out of ignorance or just curiosity, it's now, "Oh my gosh, Jen and Bill, you know, we love what you do, we love the show." I mean, it's all very positive.

So I think for Bill and I, we were kind of used to getting a significant amount of attention, just because we're little people, before the show. So that's not all that different. But it's refreshing in that it's all been really positive, and it's no longer more voyeuristic, let's say prejudice type of stuff. I appreciate the fact that it's positive and it's breaking down, hopefully, some barriers, and people are sort of looking at little people like everybody else.

Any examples of someone going "Hey, like when you guys did this, it reminded me of what me and my husband or wife did?"
Jen: Oh yes. A lot of people say "Oh my goodness, when you and Bill go shopping, it reminds me of me and my husband, or how we shop." The shopping thing people definitely relate to. And husbands relate a lot, they tell me, you know, that Bill's buying the right car, and doing some of those very guy things: football, lots of football.

Obviously, I meet a lot of people who are in the medical field, and they relate to that (aspect). I had a woman who was a surgeon come up to me last night at dinner and say "Oh my gosh, you're doing a wonderful thing for women, I'm so glad you're doing your show, as a woman in medicine." I mean, the fact that a surgeon is watching our show is just pretty neat. And I think people do relate because, you know, we're like everybody else, and you're just kind of seeing bits and pieces of our lives on TV. So hopefully, people do relate.

We do see when you guys have little tiffs, you know, like most couples have. If you guys ever have like a knock-down, drag-out type of fight when the cameras are there, what would happen?
Jen: I guess if we did, we do have some creativeways that we could say that. And you know, they know that if we really don't want it, obviously if it's going to negatively affect our careers or whatnot, we're going to stop the show. But I think, you might say, for Bill and I, we really don't have those knock-down drag-out kind of fights. We may give each other an argument, but that's about it.

That's good that you don't have the knock-down, drag-out stuff.
Jen: I think so. Have we had a knock-down, drag-out, Bill?
Bill: No.
Jen: I think something's wrong with us.
Bill: No, we kind of have a cardinal rule that we don't go to bed angry.
Jen: Yes.
Bill: So if we do get into an argument, you know, or I guess a fight or whatever, you know, they don't last 24 hours. Ever.

I'm with you on that one.
Jen: We think that's a good rule. Don't go to bed... I mean, one time I think I fell asleep and we were angry at each other. But you know, like most couples, he woke me up in the middle of the night and said OK, we can't sleep through the whole night angry.

Are you guys fans of any of the other shows on TLC or Discovery?
Jen: Yeah, we have. I have to say probably not recently, but I think particularly, obviously when we started, when we were approached by LMNO with everything, we definitely started investigating a little bit. You know, I had known about the Roloff's show ('Little People Big World') before any of this happened with us. And obviously, being a little person and knowing (Matt Roloff), because he used to be president of Little People of America, just through social meetings and conferences, I was curious to watch it. And was really happy with it, really impressed, thought it was doing a great thing, raising awareness. So I definitely watched that show a good amount. And then after we had our own show, we thought, well maybe we better see what this is all about.

When all the Jon and Kate stuff went down and all that kind of stuff, were you ever worried about doing the show?
Jen: Well, I think the thought crossed our mind, and more so, other people kept asking us, "oh we hope you don't get the curse of reality TV and get divorced" or all that kind of stuff. But I think for us, we really, we kind of just laugh about it.

I mean, honestly, we're really not so worried about it. Because as much as we're enjoying the show and it's a great thing to be doing, it's not the focus of our lives. So I just think that for some reason, Bill and I, we're best friends first. So there's really no risk. I mean, there's other things that would likely lead us to divorce before I think a TV show would. (laughs) (to Bill) Way to sell it, huh, honey?

Anything else you guys can tell me about the season coming up?
Jen: I think you got the big storylines and the big lifelines I guess I should say. And we're excited to be doing this. We hope it continues to be positive. You know, who knows how long it'll last? It's one of those things that you know, maybe we don't have enough drama and the ratings will fail one day, and I'm sure that will happen. (giggles) But that's OK. Still, we hope people enjoy sharing our lives with us, because we're having fun doing it.

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Carol Wiegand

when you you and bill be back on i love wacthing your show

February 16 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh,I do hope you return to TLC, I so enjoyed your show, Jen & Bill are such an down to earth couple, you make me laugh with your little sayings to each other, & how Bill can get so riled up about something & Jen just keeps her cool. I think its so ironic that in the Dutch language "Klein" means little, who would of thought?? Please say you'll return.........

May 03 2011 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love the little couple and I want to see you again

March 25 2011 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marlene Howard

I love the little couple and waiting for the next season. Can you the me when what time so I can set the DVR.

March 05 2011 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wanda Rooken

Here in Holland the 3th season just aired its last episode. But I do hope it's gonna get a 4th season.

Bill and Jen rock!

btw Klein means little in Dutch. So you have a really appropiate name...

January 26 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

will there be another season in 2011?

January 14 2011 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Claire Kohler

I don't see the show as often as I would like...but I do enjoy it and I hope Bill and Jen can soon become parents. That being said, whoever planned that scene walking down the hall with the comment, ''I don't know if we can afford it...'' (after them finding out the price tag for a surrogate parent) if they can't with their careers and the money made from the show...maybe there needs to be a pay raise!!

August 19 2010 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marsha McDowell

I only recently discovered your show and have to say it is my "absolute favorite" on TV. You both are wonderful people and I look forward to each and every episode. I applaud you Jenn for all you have accomplished in the medical field!! My goodness, those premies are lucky to have such a caring and skilled person looking after them. You also sound like an AWESOME teacher. I hope this series continues for a long time because it's educational value is what this world needs more of. Thank you for sharing your story

August 05 2010 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
madelene garza

...jen and bill..you guys are an amazing couple..its just goes to show that life starts...with dreams and goals..and accomplishments...and how we are all the seeking the same ..

July 27 2010 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kay: Thanks for your comments about Michael Dunn! Have you googled his biography - The Big Life of a Little Man, Michael Dunn Remembered? There is a lot of excitement about the book. If you liked Michael you will especially like reading his life story.
I sure hope that Bill is okay. I just watched the episode about his hip giving him trouble.

June 24 2010 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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