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KID NATION: Contrived, exploitive and, yeah, I’ll watch it next week

By asoglin
Thursday, October 11th, 2007 at 7:19 am in Kid Nation.

kidnationThe focus on religion was a set-up, the departure of another kid was sappy, and Taylor’s bitchy attitude is getting old. So, why did I like this episode better than any of the other Kid Nations?

The kids’ discussion about faith showed how aware they are of the polarizing effects of religion. I initially was turned off because this opening segment was orchestrated, with the idea of a religious gathering coming from the pioneer book the kids consult each episode. Several kids initially blasted the idea of a multi-faith service, citing the battles worldwide in the name of religion and saying they feared that exposing their diverse beliefs would tear them apart. Then to see some of them come around and feel comfortable enough to conduct a multifaith prayer session showed some kind of growth. The cynic in me can’t help wondering what kind of adult coaching led to that touching group session, but the kids’ tears nonetheless seemed genuine.

Cody, a 9-year-old from Ohio, became the second kid out of the 40 to decide to go home. You couldn’t help feeling for the little guy, although it was a bit odd to see a kid who hasn’t even hit double digits yet as he staggered around heartsick, lamenting the separation from his girlfriend back home, waving around her letter and photo and taking swigs of root beer. I hate to see how he handles heartbreak after puberty. What made for compelling TV when Cody announced that he had decided to leave was seeing how upset he and his friends were. “I’m never going to see the friends I made here ever again.,” Cody said. While there were some tears when Jimmy departed in Episode 1, the bonds were much stronger by the end of the fourth episode, when Cody left. “He was my best bud,” Campbell said.

Taylor. Taylor. Taylor. Even the adult dude, Jonathan, may be getting tired of her, asking at one point whether she doesn’t hear all the abuse or has thick skin. Taylor has become so detestable that I’m starting to wonder if it’s a schtick. How do you stand out among the Kid Nation 40 and land an acting roll after the gig is up? Taylor has created an image that she could parlay into a new series about 10-year-old beauty queens.

So, I think I’m in this season for the long haul, and not just because i promised to blog it. However, I can’t imagine any reason to pick it up again if there’s a Season Two.

One other thing: What’s with the kids drinking “shots”? There’s a lot of emulation of alcohol consumption in this show.

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No Responses to “KID NATION: Contrived, exploitive and, yeah, I’ll watch it next week”

  1. AMP Says:

    Just when I was warming up to the idea of these kids learning to build their own society — without parental supervision or intervention — the show blows it majorly. Chuck the pioneer book. The whole issue of religion was absolutely contrived. For the first 10 days, these kids rarely talked about religion (certainly not enough for the producers to show us footage). But perhaps needing a ratings spike, a little drama or just something to fill an hour-long episode, the producers forced the kids to tackle the topic. Yeah, it all worked out. A few tears were shed. We’re supposed to feel better and proud of these kids. Instead, it left a bitter taste in my mouth. The producers should let the kids succeed or fail on their own — truly without adults pulling the strings behind the scenes.

    And I second bouncing that tart Taylor. Here’s an idea: if she won’t work and wants to let everyone else “starve,” why not refrain from feeding her. The kids get to make the rules, and frankly, I’d like to see someone hit her where it hurts.

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