Okay, first a little honesty. I’ve been hearing about this show on talk radio for a while now and none of it has been good. Stories of pushy producers and absent parents. What parent would sign a waiver that said they could not sue the show if their kid caught a STD? The oldest kid is 15, the youngest is eight.
But I watched the show’s premiere nonetheless.
The Premise is that about forty kids are packed off to a ghost town and left (more or less) to fend for themselves. They cook the food. They empty the shitters. Oh wait… THE shitter. The show cooks off like Kiddy Survivor.
As I watched the show, skeptical at first, I found it totally engrossing. If you’re a parent, you’ll be hooked. It let’s you explore the “What would they do without me” question that has been milling around in your head.
As they get organized, the producers introduce a class system. Workers at the bottom, then cooks, then merchants. The Ruling class (with the most money and no jobs) are at the top of the food chain. They are to “Pitch in ” where they can or want to.
Yes they get paid. Ruling class gets a buck a day. The workers a nickle.
They can spend their money in the grocery store, or dry goods. There is a soda saloon to get a tall cool one. They can buy tools and candy and books. A ten year old got a nickel copy of King Lear.
A 15 year old girl spotted a bicycle in the dry goods store. She’s a worker and it’s $3.00 price tag seemed high. But she wanted the bike. Soooo… free enterprise kicked in on the second day and she took it to the streets.
She asked for a nickel if you wanted to watch her dance. I think she charged ten cents for dance lessons.
She was riding the bike before sundown.
I’ll be watching next week and rooting for the “Yellow District”. They are the youngest of the four groups, ages eight to ten. They beat the Greens ass to become the “cooks” and not the workers. I think my heart is with them because my daughter is seven.
In a surprising move of maturity and practicality, they voted to select more outhouses over a T.V. for their prize.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Each week the “Ruling Council” will choose a “Star Pioneer” from among the group. The chosen kid gets $20,000 and a phone call home.
Do I have your attention yet?
2 thoughts on “Kid Nation”
We love love LOVE this show!!! We’ve become addicts. I knew there was a lot of skepticism about it leading into the premiere, but I knew from the beginning that it was going to make for great TV.
It’s not just about the entertainment factor. I think Americans can learn SO MUCH from watching how these 8-15 year olds learn to work together, and learn to work out their own problems, without adults interfering.
Week before last, when the green team lost yet another challenge, all three other teams were cheering for them, and there were hugs all around. It was never really about competition at that point. It was about lifting up their peers and celebrating them to make them feel better. THAT is a universal lesson we could all learn from.
And the green team’s leader, when asked why she was smiling after another defeat simply said, “How could I not smile when I’m surrounded by these wonderful people?”
If you’re not watching this show, TiVo it, people. It is engrossing television.
UPDATE: Apparently the producers broke all kinds of child labor laws while filming this epic. Armed with charges of child abuse, Arizona lawmen literally chased the show’s crew to the border. Although they (the crew) escaped, I don’t think there’s going to be a second season.