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Archive for the 'Kid Nation' Category

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

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.

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Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2007
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Kid Nation: Boot the little beauty queen

taylorIf 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.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
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‘Kid Nation’ kills its audience (read on for status of the chicken)

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…

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Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2007
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Chicken dinner tonight before ‘Kid Nation’

kidnationIt’ll be chicken tonight for my kids as we get ready for the second episode of “Kid Nation,” and the big battle over whether to slaughter a few of the feathered ones. Not sure if we’ll barbecue or pick up one of those pre-cooked birds from the supermarket. I am thinking that of setting their places with some big honkin’ steak knives. Just want to set the mood.

Don’t forget to vote in our poll, “Is it OK for a child to kill a chicken?”

See ya back here later, as Ann Tatko-Peterson and I give our take on the show.

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2007
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Kid Nation poll asks ‘Is it OK for a child to kill a chicken?’

kidnationThe younguns’ on Kid Nation, the new CBS reality TV show, will be contemplating the slaughter of chicken in the episode that airs Wednesday.

According to the Kid Nation web site, “As the town debates whether or not to kill chickens for protein, a group of kids protests by locking the chickens–and themselves–in the coop.”

So, we’re asking in a poll, Is it OK for a child to kill a chicken? You can vote here. The options:
– Sure, eat or be eaten.
– It’s OK if it’s for food, not sport.
– No, it’s wrong to kill animals.
– No, it’s too dangerous.
– No, I’d have Michael Vick do it.

OK, so if I’d killed a chicken when I was 8, I probably would have been traumatized. But the adolescents probably can handle it. Some of ’em come from farms. They can help the kids from the cities and the ‘burbs get a lesson in where their dinners are coming from. I’m more worried about the axe and the need for a post-slaughter finger census than I am about mental scarring.

C’mon back here Wednesday night and Thursday morning, when Ann Tatko-Peterson and I will pick apart the episode. Our take on the first episode.

Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2007
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Kid Nation a mixed bag, for this parent

kidnationTV critic Chuck Barney gets partial credit for my television viewing habits tonight. I’ve been one of the loudest opponents of CBS’ new reality show, “Kid Nation,” which puts 40 kids in a New Mexico ghost town for 40 days without parental supervision. But as Chuck pointed out earlier this week, I was among the critics “slamming a TV show, sight unseen.” So, I decided to tune in.

Admittedly, I had preconceived notions. Everything about this screamed exploitation of kids, starting with CBS calling them “participants” instead of employees, even though these kids were sometimes filmed 16 hours a day. Most alarming was the contract in which parents essentially waived away their kids’ rights – and seeing the show tonight did little to lower that red flag. That said, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. In fact, some things surprised me.

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Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
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Kid Nation vs. Sex in the City for teens

GOSSIP GIRLBetween the debut of “Kid Nation” – 40 kids building their own society in the Wild West – and the launch of sexy “Gossip Girl” (pictured above, courtesy of the CW) tonight should be a hot one for parents. We’ve been listening to colleagues Ann Tatko-Peterson and Chuck Barney weigh in on the Kid Nation conceit – Ann was horrified by the contracts parents signed that gave up all oversight of their children’s safety to a bunch of money-grubbing television producers, while TV critic Chuck is taking a wait-and-see approach. And the Times’ parent poll, which asks the question “Would you let your kids do this?” is running 72 percent against. So now we’re really curious…which is exactly what CBS intended.

As for “Gossip Girl,” the series is based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s popular YA novels that young tweens started snatching up a few years ago. Apparently, their parents saw the nice pastel covers and didn’t bother peeking inside or even reading the jacket blurbs, which called it “Sex and the City” for the teen set. And sexy it is, but what’s more concerning is the amount of alcohol the sexy teen prepsters blithely consume in the pilot episode tonight – champagne, limoncello, and vodka – with little in the way of consequences…

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Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
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Reality TV show is child abuse

kidnationReality television has gone too far. In the spring, CBS taped “Kid Nation,” a reality show in which 40 children, ages 8 to 15, try to build a society for 40 days alone in a New Mexico desert “ghost town.” That’s right — no parental supervision. (Adults were on hand, CBS says. But they were only supposed to intervene in emergencies.)

Officials in New Mexico are investigating whether CBS and the show’s producers broke state laws. The show never obtained work permits for the kids and allegedly refused set access to a state inspector. CBS lawyers argue the kids weren’t employees, just participants.

We will let those two duke it out. Our censure is for the parents who exploited and endangered their children. Worst yet, they did so knowingly. Proof of that is in the 22-page contract in which they signed away the rights and potentially the lives of their children.

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Posted on Friday, August 24th, 2007
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