One Nation Under Kids


The new greatest television show on Earth has arrived. CBS debuted Kid Nation tonight, and it was glorious. I teared up maybe 6 times, and laughed out loud even more. For those unfamiliar, Kid Nation takes 40 kids, dumps them in the desert and for 40 days, they need to run their own “unsupervised” society at an abandoned town. City kids, rural kids, older kids (as old as 15) and younger kids (as young as 8) are transplanted to New Mexico and there are SOOOO many likeable characters, from rooster boy, Jared, to the eloquent Michael.

What happens is that there are 4 kids designated as the town council. They try to lead the rest of the kids towards building a life in the rundown town. Eventually, the kids are divvied up into districts (blue, red, yellow and green) and compete for different status in the town. For winning a challenge, a district becomes the Upper Class (and earns $1 for pretty much nothing), second place are the Merchants (earning .50 cents) who run the shops and the saloon (where kids can buy soda and eat candy), third place is the Cooks (earning .25 cents), while in last are the Laborers (earning .10 for hauling water, etc.) – and the money can be spent on candy, books, toys (even bikes).

Of course, the idea behind Kid Nation isn’t to pit kids against one another but to extract the best out of everyone, and with that said, at every town hall meeting (which I think happens every 2 or 3 days), the ruling council will award a gold star (worth $20K) to whomever they feel deserves it the most. I can’t wait till they go all corrupt and just award it to themselves.

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Highly enjoyable and recommended across the board!


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  1. junky says:

    Well while I acknowledge that this is one of the first steps toward running-man becoming a reality, I OF COURSE set my tivo to this show.  Christa refused to watch it with me, but then again she really has zero tolerance for any reality television. 

    I myself don’t really enjoy seeing people with opposing personalities forced to attack one another (Big Brother) but I have always enjoyed challenging gameplay (Survivor) and the occasional tragi-comedy of where-are-they-now shows (Osbournes, Coreys, Surreal Life, etc)

    But Kid Nation has my interest because if I can just turn off the part of my brain that should be outraged (Which as an American, comes easy) it appeals to my love of documentaries on kids (UP series, etc) and The Little Rascals.

    I love kids, love the simplicity of thought and emotion, mostly because I yearn to re-live it.  The concept of children needing to function together despite differences is interesting and loving social experiments as much as I do, I am eager to be entertained by the personalities of the kids.  As you pointed out, there are already some strong ones – you forgot to mention that amazing girl who cooked for everyone, she’s my favorite.

    But I also just think that anybody who would send their 8-year-old to what amounts to little more than a work camp for 40 days should be fucking shot.  I can only assume these kids are better off AWAY from parents like that.  Wolves could raise them with more dignity.  I really think anything younger than 13 is fucking criminal, more because of the emotional impact this could have on a developing mind than anything else.  It’s a risk not worth taking.

    What might work is if they told me that the parents were all in a nearby camp, watching EVERYTHING that took place without the kids knowing.  Now THAT would be a show.  I guarantee 100% more drama as the parents tried to fucking kill one another.

    Anyway, I am also watching this show closely, trying to tell myself it has not been greatly manipulated by editing in order to illicit the proper emotional responses from me, and telling myself I’m not part of the social decline simply because other than this article there is no way anybody will ever know I’m watching.  It’s times like this I’m proud NOT to own a Nielsen box. 

    (Though I wonder if Tivo is recording my data??)

    I just wish there was a kid named Piggy and that all members of town council had to hold a conch shell.

  2. Fat Ass says:

    Having worked in post on a reality TV show, I can tell you that it’s completely manipulated, sometimes as brazenly as with cutaways shot later and ADR. Last night there was a whole thing about a pot boiling over that was shot later on a soundstage.

    Beyond the moral outrage, I found the show somewhat interesting, but the truth is that the kids were just too young to really accomplish anything for themselves. It seemed clear to me that dozens of producers were always right off camera, telling them what to do or say.

    The one thing I found really interesting and sweet was how easily they cried. I cry maybe once every three or four years, and for these kids, it’s just a way of life. That was neat. And sad. And maybe I’m a little sadistic.

    I’ll probably watch more, but I don’t see myself watching the entire series. At some point, the outrage over bad parenting and overproducing will fade, and I’ll be left with a show that just isn’t all that interesting.

  3. Eros Welker says:

    I’m not getting caught up in the whole “is this child abuse” angle and I’m so used to Survivor manipulating me for years that I can live with it in Kid Nation.  I realize it’s not a documentary, but a tv show, so if it’s engineered to make me tear up or feel happy for these kids, who am I to complain?

    Most reality shows are all about the folks in them, and in this case, I genuinely enjoy watching a variety of these kids.  Whether it’s a 10 year-old “beauty queen” and her “I don’t do dishes” sentiment or little town council Mike trying to get people to listen to him, it’s got me and I’m shutting off the part of my brain that says, “they’re surrounded by adults filming their every moment” or “what parent would let Jimmy, an 8-year old kid, alone for 40 days” because 1) it’s supposed to be entertaining, and 2) they’re not my kids. wink Poor Jimmy!!

    Bleach bottles and burn grease aside, I really don’t think these kids are in any more danger than in Bug Juice (Disney’s camp reality show).  And if I ever found out my folks had an opportunity like this and chose otherwise, I’d be upset.  It’s not like I’m being sent to Dog Island (which I hope comes out in 2012).

    Now excuse me while I go father triplets and send them to space…

  4. bake snaker says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I find “The 2 Cories” to be incredibly entertaining.  I haven’t seen a whole show but I’m editing an A & E clip reel and the clips I’ve seen are great.

  5. Cybergosh says:

    I like the Two Corey’s and I tivo’d the kids…so i’ll watch it later on and see what’s up.