20 September 2007

Kid Nation premiere

As most of you know, I don't usually watch a reality show unless there is dancing, singing, or a celebrity involved. So why did I watch the premiere of Kid Nation last night? Well, most of my parenting group planned to watch it. I knew I would kick myself if they ended up having a big conversation about it and I was left out. Yes, I'm a grown woman and I still succumb to peer pressure :-).

Kid Nation is a mix between Survivor and that PBS show Frontier House, with a pinch of Lord of the Flies thrown in. Take 40 kids, put them out in a desert ghost town from the Wild West days, and see if they can build an orderly society. Actually, comparing it to Frontier House may be stretching things a bit. While the kids did have to use outhouses, they also had ground beef which I suspect was in a refrigerator not shown on camera.

Anyway, the kids aren't building this society completely without guidance. There is a four-member ruling council. These kids are getting secret instructions from the host, like telling them to divide the group into four districts. There are also challenges that help organize things. In last night's episode, they completed a water pumping challenge that determined which district was the upper class and which district was the labor class.

The minimal adult guidance didn't stamp out all the rebelliousness, however. There are a couple of 15-year-old boys who are trying to run rough-shod over the younger kids. Since they are older than everyone on the council, they don't feel that they have to listen to anybody. I wonder how much trouble they are going to cause down the line.

What were the highlights of the show for me?

--When given a choice between adding more outhouses (they started with only one for 40 kids) or a TV set, the council wisely chose the outhouses. What's even more heartening is that the rest of the kids cheered their decision.
--One of the 14-year-old girls, Sophie, was working hard from the beginning to keep things together. It was satisfying to see that the council recognized that and awarded her the first gold star trophy (worth $20,000).
--I had to giggle when the team that ended up as the kitchen staff started making biscuits and grits without a recipe. Sophie, who had been the cook up until that time, kept asking them why they weren't using a recipe. To Sophie's surprise, the meal turned out fine. There were at least two southern girls on that team; I knew they didn't need a recipe :-).

Will I continue to watch Kid Nation? I don't know. It isn't my cup of tea, but if nothing else shows up in that Wednesday timeslot that I like better then I probably will. I can say that the show has renewed my desire to teach my kids how to cook!
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