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‘Kid Nation’ kills its audience (read on for status of the chicken)

By asoglin
Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 at 9:25 pm in Kid Nation.

kidnationWarning: spoiler alert (for those who Tivo’d it). … So much for the drama of the chicken slaughter. The standoff between the hungry carnivore kids on Kid Nation and the animal lovers fizzled, resolved in the first 15 minutes of Wednesday night’s show. Too bad. It had the potential to be a great storyline. Guess that’s the reality of reality TV.

The only really interesting scene was seeing the reaction of kids who witnessed the slaughter. Although I’ve been quite cavalier about the whole chicken killing debate, that scene troubled me because I wondered whether the kids who were present really wanted to be there or were influenced by peer pressure to watch the head chopping. On the other hand…


if they succumbed to peer pressure and wished they hadn’t, it’s a lesson learned; lots better than a peer pressure lesson that kills brain cells, causes injury or worse.

The reaction in my living room from the 10-year-old, who wants to be on the next Kid Nation: “Oh, my gosh. Why are they showing chicken being killed on national TV?” (This from a kid who last year declared she was a vegetarian when she was with mom but ate meat when with dad. What’s up with that?)

Anyhow, I’m bored with the show after two episodes. I’m tempted to bail. I do like much of what it teaches kids. Not to take natural resources for granted; teamwork and sportsmanship; the importance of good leadership. So, maybe I’ll stick it out to watch with my kids.

A couple decent storylines are piquing my interest in Week 3: If Greg continues to be a hard worker, does he deserve the 20k gold star even if that’s what’s motivating him? When will the Yellow team mutiny against Taylor, who can’t get her butt out of bed and into the kitchen early enough to make breakfast?

But if those storylines get resolved the way the chicken slaughter was, well, baseball playoffs are coming up and I may be outta here.

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No Responses to “‘Kid Nation’ kills its audience (read on for status of the chicken)”

  1. AMP Says:

    Maybe the word you’re looking for is too melodramatic. We’ve all seen our kids experience their minor meltdowns. Now we get to see it 40-fold. Up until now, the kids have rallied around each other when one was upset. Last night, we saw how they were starting to turn on Emilie (though her chicken standoff lacked genuine punch). The reality of this being a reality “game” show came to a head when Emilie decided to stay — “When my mom told me to come, she told me to be a bucking cow girl.” Her mom TOLD her to come. No wonder the kid felt compelled to stay despite the chicken beheading.

    Which brings us back to the gold star. Hello, you expect us to believe these kids — even someone as motivational as Michael (who frankly is starting to sound too preachy) — are working their butts off for the greater good of society. Come on! It’s about the money. Suddenly the educational value of these kids actually learning something is smothered by simple greed.

    The show is really starting to show its true colors, in that regard and these so called “show-downs.” How much of a beating can one team take? The green team is back to scrubbing toilets and this time couldn’t even win the town a reward. Sure, the other kids tried to make them feel better. But the whole thing felt contrived. Even Michael’s “emotional” phone call to his mom was painful to watch considering the stiffness of both as we, the audience, got to peer in.

  2. Ari Says:

    Great comments, AMP. It does feel contrived. Jonathan Whatsisname (the adult) is getting way too much screen time. I wish he’d go away.

  3. chris kid Says:

    i think you both are missing the message here. this is not an ‘adult’ survivor show. kid nation’s young people are making adult decisions and actually getting along pretty well considering they all probably miss their families. yes, they might be motivated by the potential to earn the gold star but isn’t that society as a whole? reward for a job well done? the only recent person i know that seemed to do good deeds from their heart and not the their wallet was mother theresa and there aren’t very many of her kind around these days. i say lighten up, the kids are probably away from their families and in front of the cameras for the first time in their short lives. watch the show and see the amazing personalities devolop (hello? jared from florida? what a character!) as they figure out how to get along with each other and run a town with their own intelligence and ingenunity.

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