Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 at 9:16 pm in Kid Nation.
If only that were possible. Taylor on “Kid Nation,” the CBS reality show, is really getting on my nerves. She’s lazy, screams at everyone and flaunts her spoiled rotten attitude, living up to the stereotype of a pompous junior beauty queen. It makes you wish this show were more like “Survivor” so we could vote her out of Bonanza. At least then we’d have something to root for with this show, because frankly, the gold star doesn’t cut it.
Quick background for those who haven’t experienced “Kid Nation” yet. Forty kids (now down to 39) are living in a ghost town for 40 days wtihout parents. At the end of each episode (every three days), a four kid town council convenes to award a gold star, worth $20,000, to the hardest working kid. The winner also gets to call home.
For starters, let’s lose those cheesy phone calls home. It’s supposed to be a sweet, tug-at-the-heart strings moment, but with cameras peering over the kid’s and parents’ shoulders the moment is more like awkward voyeurism.
The stars themselves have removed any sense that this movie-set town is really a society in which children learn to rule themselves. Heck, they needed a fake pioneer book to convince them a curfew was needed to cut down on late night partying. And forget democracy. In this town, the council gets to decide who wins the star and what reward to accept after show-downs. Clearly, the kids wanted pizza over the frontier microwave, but three of the council members — led by loud-mouth Taylor — didn’t care what the majority wanted. Ditto dispensing the star. They went with one of the youngest members — tug, tug at the heart — rather than Morgan, the majority’s clear favorite.
And don’t even get me started on Greg (aka, Give Me a Star Now). This kid is only in it for the money, and even knowing a gold star’s on the line, he can’t stop himself from being a first-class jerk. Cursing in front of little kids. Banging on metal trays. He has hardly endeared himself on this show or with his peers, perhaps because at 15, he’s not exactly a peer to the much younger majority. This has and remains one of my biggest issues with the show. It’s unsettling to see a 15-year-old boy in a position to influence 8 and 9 year olds with NO adult to haul him back in line.
But this week’s major gripe begins and ends with Taylor. Every reality game show needs a B—– (rhymes with witch). I just don’t want to see it wearing kid’s clothes. At one point, on the receiving end of a tongue lashing from the other kids, Taylor broke down. Her tears earned him a moment of sympathy. She claimed she would try harder. Five minutes later, the previews for next week show a bossy Taylor at it again. Sorry, but if producers want us to put aside our parental indignation over this show and view it as entertainment, then let’s see a little more “Survivor”-like tactics.
– Ann Tatko-Peterson