For fans of Dr. Jen Arnold and Bill Klein — better known as TLC’s beloved The Little Couple — the show’s sixth season was equal parts harrowing and uniquely uplifting.
Having traveled around the world in the span of mere months to become Mom and Dad to son Will, now 4, and daughter Zoey, 3, the couple learned they would face their biggest challenge yet — Jen’s mighty battle with a rare form of cancer. Though she bravely shared that journey with the TLC cameras, the new mom most memorably displayed an inspiring determination to not let the disease affect her joyful first steps into parenthood.
And when she finally got to step up to the hospital’s ceremonial bell and officially ring in her remission, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room — or in millions of TV rooms across the nation.
As the show’s seventh season premieres, Jen and Bill are happily catching up on all the accouterments of having kids — baptizing Will and Zoey, enrolling them in preschool, enjoying family days in the garden and at the beach, and looking forward to their daughter’s first birthday at home. With her health woes under control, Jen also puts on her lab coat and heads back to work, making a side trip to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the rights of medically complex children as part of the Children’s Hospital Association’s Speak Now for Kids initiative.
But just as life truly feels back to normal, another crisis emerges. No longer able to manage his back pain, Bill travels to New York and learns he needs a spinal surgery that could hobble him for months. While it is definitely a challenge — at a time when the family was really hoping for a bit of peace — the couple has long been prepared for situations such as this. Especially now that there are kids to consider.
“We don’t cover a lot of those issues on television anymore because the show has mostly morphed into our personal situation with a touch of our careers and stuff like that,” Bill told us at the start of Season 6. “It doesn’t touch on the future and the forward thinking that you need to have when you have a disability to make sure that you can provide for your family if and when — and normally it’s when — you get to the point where your body can’t keep up with your mind anymore. … But I think it’s a good balance and it will afford us to be able to continue to pursue our career goals and achieve some of them and hopefully allow us to retire before we are in a hospital bed.”
So, with legions of devoted fans cheering them on, it’s a good bet that another triumphant outcome is in the offing for this resilient, realistic and optimistic pair.
The Little Couple Season 7 premieres Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 9/8CT on TLC.