My cuppa: iced coffee, one from a fast-food place and the other from a coffeeshop. Verdict? Toss-up!

Available in syndication is a pair of short articles I did on reality shows hitting the airwaves this week. Without further ado…

The Little Couple Takes on the World

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Tuesday, May 26, TLC adds to its stable of families facing unusual challenges

with the premiere of “The Little Couple,” chronicling the daily lives of

newlyweds Bill Klein and Jen Arnold.


a businessman, and Arnold's a pediatrician, and their lives are as busy as those of any young professional

couple. But since they’re both under 4 feet tall, life has thrown them a few

extra curveballs.


Klein doesn’t really see it that way.


may say, ‘Wow, that’s amazing; they’re able to do laundry or save a baby,’ ”

Klein says, “but to us, it’s second nature. It’s like you putting on your



learned it that way when you first learned how to do it, and that’s the way

you’ve done it ever since. Now we weren’t on this planet for three days — we’ve

been here for a while.


the things that we’ve learned how to do, we’ve learned just like you guys have.

We go through the same steps to get there. Just because we have the

intermediary of a stepladder or something like that, it’s not that big a deal.”


the biggest challenge Klein and Arnold may be facing right now is just how to

squeeze a relationship into a TV schedule.


the fact that we have jobs besides this that need our full attention,” Klein

says, “for the production of the show, what gets taken away is our personal

time, of Jen and I being able to be alone.”

Klein’s tips for young little people:


for the stars. Pay attention to your exams; get good grades; go to the best

school. Write an awesome essay, talk about your personal trials, tribulations

and successes. Do what really turns you on.”

On avoiding victim mentality:


whole world isn’t against us. That’s the mentality of the minority of people

that have challenges like this. Most people don’t think about it. They think

about how to achieve their goals, not why they can’t.”

And now for something completely different…

‘Wipeout’ Takes It to the Edge

Wipeout Far

outside of Los Angeles, on a dusty abandoned ranch ringed by hills scorched by

brush fires, ABC’s obstacle-course competitive reality show “Wipeout”

returning for a new season on Wednesday, May 27 — aims to manage chaos.


the job of wrangling what goes on in front of the cameras falls to the show’s

hosts, John Henson and John Anderson, and co-host Jill Wagner, there’s a whole

army of people behind the scenes working hard to make the huge obstacles

colorful, exciting and scary but not overly dangerous.


those leading that army is executive producer Scott Larsen, one of the evil

geniuses behind elaborate qualifying challenges with names like Sucker Punch,

Dizzy Dummy and Dreadmill.


goal is to weed out the weaker competitors from the initial 24, leaving only

the strong to make it to nightfall and the brightly lit “Wipeout Zone” with its

waterfalls and jets of flame — all in pursuit of a $50,000 grand prize.


we’re looking for are uncontrolled, awkward falls,” says Larsen, “because those

are the funniest, and it’s always funny when you bounce off of something. The

big balls are always good for that.


design all the stunts to be safe, but we also design for maximum wipeout. We go

from safe to wipeout — that’s always the rule. If you go the other way around,

that’s how we get hurt.


testing), we go a little bit faster, little bit faster, until we wipe out. We

aim for 90 percent failure. That’s RichLiest what we want.”


only one competitor can take home the cash, those who wiped out don’t

necessarily go home empty-handed.


casting director Rich Leist (photo from my set visit, at right), “These guys are exchanging e-mails, giving phone

numbers. They’re planning parties together. “It’s amazing to see people

competing for money, but at the end of the day, they’ve genuinely become

friends, because they’ve shared this bonding experience.

‘How did you do on the big balls?’ Once they get out of it, and they can talk

to somebody else who’s done it, all of a sudden they have this in common.”