(Don’t think I can write 1,800 words about Kid Nation? Well, you’re about to be quite wrong.)
So, the other day, I’m in class trying to solve the world’s problems. You know, things like cancer, MySpace profiles that throw the spacing of your browser out of whack, Darfur, etc etc…and I thought to myself you know what would really start saving the world off on the right foot? A column about a soon to be cancelled show on CBS! Two and a Half Men! Drew Carey on the Price is Right! Big Brother! America’s most watched network!
So I did some searching around and found what I thought would be the perfect show. Kid Nation! Since I’ve already gone over my quota of exclamation points for this column let me say this: This show has me excited. It seems as though, after watching ABC/ESPN do it on the Little League World Series for the past 20 years, CBS has decided that it too should exploit children for money…and, of course, my entertainment.If you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is Kid Nation, let me explain it to you using only what I’ve learned from promos that have run incessantly on CBS:
The concept is simple…I mean as simple as a kid run society can be. There are 40 kids who take a bus into this old west town and then set up shop. Along the way there are challenges where the kids can win like immunity from doing dishes or taking out the trash or some shit. But here’s the kicker in case you haven’t caught on…THERE ARE NO ADULTS! The kids award the prizes too (we’ll get to this later)! CRAZINESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Basically, it’s just a bunch of kids coming to terms with what life is like with no parents around and doing crazy (read: stupid) things. It’s supposed to remind you of the old west or something like that but in reality, it just reminds me of my freshman year dorm.Anyway, let’s get on to episode one.
The first 5 minutes: The kids arrive and they also meet 4 other kids that the producers picked to be their council.
I will now explain the rest of the episode in excruciating detail.
I’m a little annoyed that they didn’t give the kids the chance to elect their own town council. Instead, the producers just picked some kids to represent the town based on their age and geography. While this may be good in terms of being fair, it definitely doesn’t make for good TV. I think a good old fashion election would have done the kids some good. I know when I ran for Student Council of my Middle School I used the inner-city school teacher method to try and get elected. And by that, I mean that I just threw candy at my classmates until they voted for me…or learned to read.
The council leaders are:
The other two members of the council are 12 year-old Anjay (who claims adults have done a horrible job with the world) and a girl that looks kind of like Axl Rose when she’s wearing a headband, Laurel (12).
I’d also like to highlight two of my favorite kids we’ve met so far: Jimmy (8), who is the youngest resident of Kid Nation and DK (14), who seems to be filling the token cool black kid role. According to him, something like this has “neva, neva, neva happened in Chicago…neva.”
The first task at hand for the kids is to wheel all of their supplies a couple of miles to their camp. Councilman Mike plays the role of Coxswain as he yells at DK to pull one of the carts, which is, considering racial undertones, wildly inappropriate.
Young Jimmy is already feeling the heat and other kids are getting pissed at Mike because they think he’s doing no work. In reality, he’s just working towards his next gig I don’t know what that’ll be yet, but holding the flag at a construction site seems like a safe bet.
To make a long story short, the kids arrive in Bonanza City and go to work on making dinner. And that’s when I realized something…KID NATION IS FUCKING DANGEROUS. They literally gave these kids nothing except a cookbook, some food canned food, and paper to start fire with. Have you ever seen a kid try to open a can without knowing how to properly use a can opener? It’s like watching an abortion.
Anyway, Sophia (14) takes charge and gets some pasta boiling.
The food is taking a while though, and Jared is not psyched. Speaking of Jared, I really should have mentioned him before. He’s like a little Jewish mother. The 11 year old has already provided us with such gems as “Oy vey this is gonna be tough.” and “I’m so starving I could eat my own leg!” The kids finally end up eating some mushy pasta which to their credit-Easy Joke Alert-looks better than what was served in my dining hall last night.
Night falls and Taylor is already home sick because she misses her own bed and eating meat and protein for dinner. That is a direct quote. Seriously. Is this bitch on Atkins?!?
At breakfast the next day, the council tries to hold a meeting to get things up and running but the oldest member of KN, Greg (15), gets in Mike’s face and makes him cry. I’d like to congratulate Mike on his “Little Bitch” merit badge.
And then, all of a sudden…
Did you hear that?
By gawd! That’s Shaggy Haired Michael’s music!
Michael (14), not to be confused with Mike, hoped on stage and gave the Kid Nation version of the “I Have A Dream” Speech. The kids are now motivated again.
The group then divides into 4 different sections (blue, red, green, and yellow) and picks their sleeping spots. All is going to plan except that Jimmy is off crying about how he’s too young to be on the show and can’t handle it. Someone needs to give him a juice box.
During the night, Greg and his friend Blaine vandalize the town with chalk. This is not only contrived by the producers, but stupid.
It’s probably worth noting that all 40 kids are all using one outhouse. I think Jared (my man!) sums up what all the kids are thinking best when he says “I hope that I don’t have to take a poo, because I am not ever using that thing.”
Luckily, they ended up winning a challenge that allowed them to get 7 more outhouses. Also during the challenge it was decided what kids would be upper class, merchants, cooks, and laborers. I’m like 1,200 words into this so I won’t bore you with the details.
The next morning all the kids started their jobs and got some money to go out and buy candy and shit.
And that’s when Sophia did something weird.
She wanted a bike that was too expensive to afford, so she started dancing to raise the money to buy it. I’m not kidding. Sophia, within 45 minutes of the program starting, became the Kid Nation version of a stripper. And of course the small western society proved why selling yourself for money has been around so long. Because it works! Needless to say, she gets the bike.
Finally, it’s time for the town meeting where the kids get together to discuss the going ons in their town as well as present the gold star. For those of you who didn’t watch this achievement in American television, the gold star is presented once per episode by the council to a member of the community. And, oh yeah, it’s worth 20,000 dollars. Although I’m sure that most of the kids would rather just have a holographic Charizard card.
The meeting begins and the host (whose name I haven’t bothered to learn yet) asks if everyone is satisfied with the council’s work. Everyone except Sophia is. She’s mad about how the dishes are dirty back in the kitchen and she tries to blame it on The Town Council. She’s also probably mad because her parents sent her out to the desert for 40 fucking days. Regardless, they all talk it out and we’re on to the next important issue…does anyone want to leave the utopian kid society?
Allow me to transcribe my reaction to what I was watching…
“Jimmy, don’t raise your hand…please Jimmy don’t raise your hand! Stick it out Jimbo! Stick it out! Jimmy? Jimmy? JIMMY?!? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!”
After the somber moment, it’s time to present the first gold star. The council has an internal debate about whether to give the star to Shaggy Haired Michael for his speech or to give it to Sophia for her cooking and acting like a whore. They end up going with the girl. And Sophia, who hated The Council a minute ago, has her emotions easily swayed by money…just like every woman ever.
Sophia gets the chance to call her Mom about her win who is conveniently waiting at home with a camera crew. The magic of television, baby!
The show ends with the kids taking shots of Root Beer. It’s ironic because taking shots may be one of the only ways you could actually enjoy this show.
-Greg, just like any high school freshman, is a douche bag.
-Laurel needs to use some buffalo nickels to buy some Chapstick. By day 4 her lips were friggen’ gross.
Like Santa, I have lists:
Good Kids: DK, Jared, Taylor
Bad Kids: Mike, Greg
NEXT WEEK: Sophia gets even more annoyed with the council and Greg tries to win a gold star. Hopefully, Jared continues to say funny things.
I know this was long, but thanks for sticking it out. See you next week.
And, oh yeah, check out my website at //markzito.com or my radio show on Saturdays 12-3p on WJPZ 89.1 Syracuse.
P.S. LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!