KID NATION: Let It Out Y’all

kid nation

After a summer filled with internal investigations, angry parents and media outcry there was no way this TV Addict was missing last night’s series premiere of KID NATION. Yet as I watched the extended [practically commercial free] premiere I couldn’t help but speculate — brilliantly executed reality television or the end of the genre as we know it?

But first, a few words about the forty settlers. These kids were awesome. Knowing full well how I adapted to being shipped off to summer camp at age seven, I could only imagine what it must have been like to spend forty days in a practically deserted ghost town with no parental supervision. Although the Grocery Candy store and Soda Shoppe would have made things a touch easier.

Overall the show was utterly fascinating to watch because kids — unlike adult contestants who ‘play the game’ on SURVIVOR — gave us genuine emotional responses. Like when Laurel consoled little Jimmy or when Taylor decided to stay [so saw that coming], Michael’s spontaneous big speach and the moment when Sophia told her mom about winning the Gold Star. Yup, in terms of tear factor, KID NATION’S just hovering below EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION.

Which brings me to my only concern. What’s life going to be like for these kids now that the camera’s stopped rolling? We all know how cruel kids can be [see: GOSSIP GIRL!] and I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to walk into class this morning knowing full well that your entire school just witnessed you crying for your parents on CBS.

No doubt opinions are divided on the show, feel free to post yours below. The only thing this TV Addict knows for sure… I would have chosen the TV!

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  • Linda B.

    I’m thinking the lack of comments on this article means no one out there (myself included) bothered to watch this lame looking show ;)

  • theTVaddict

    Linda.. I have to say I’m surprised. I would have thought more viewers would have tuned in last night. Only 9 million did… I expected more.

  • Todd W in NC

    I’ll stick my neck out there…

    This was my most anticipated new show early in the fall TV buzz. After the controversy my enthusiasm slipped a little, making this my 2nd most anticipated new show, after Bionic Woman.

    I watched it. And, I liked it.

    Does it have a few problems? Sure. Was mixing the social experiment of 40 kids on their own with the challenges of inhabiting a dead old west town going a little too far? In a few small ways, maybe.

    What Was Good:

    * As TV Addict said, the kids show real emotions. It’s not like adult competition shows that revolve around deception. These kids have nothing to gain by lying, they aren’t old enough to hold back the tears when they’re necessary, and they get twice as excited as adults do when something good happens.

    * I liked Michael’s speech that helped get the town organized. Town Councilperson Mike had a little bit of a power trip during the caravan to the city, but when he realized he needed help, he was actually appreciative of Michael stepping up and helping out. An adult competitor might have resented Michael’s assistance as the stealing of thunder, but Mike knew he and his fellow Town Council needed help, and he accepted it.

    * I loved it when Laurel stepped up and told homesick Jimmy (the youngest one there at 8.5) that she would do her best to look out for him and substitute for his parents while he was there.

    * I like Sophia’s maturity, initiative, responsibility, and inventiveness. I liked how genuinely excited she got when she was awarded the $20,000 Gold Star and got to call her mom to tell her about it.

    * I was a little worried during the chaotic start, but I liked the organization that came later with the four Town Districts, the divided responsibilities, the town meeting, and the opening of the merchant stores.

    What Was Bad and/or Over the Top:

    * 40 kids, 1 outhouse? Thank goodness all four teams finished the challenge in less than hour an (with only seconds to spare) or else they wouldn’t have had the choice of prizes: a TV or 7 more outhouses. I think when it comes to bathrooms, they may be taking the old west theme too far. I wonder what they have as far as showers?

    * The 1st challenge looked a little too physically strenuous (hauling great big pump towers), too messy (colored water), and too long (an hour???; I doubt Survivor challenges even last that long). It also seemed weird that the challenge invovled water when the wearing of blankets and coats later on made it seem like the weather was cold.

    * The kids have to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags, despite it being cold. Again, possibly taking the old west thing too far. Maybe the buildings actually have central heat & air.

    * I think the kids could have been given better instructions ahead of time about food preparation. Just leaving them a stove, some food, and a cookbook didn’t seem like much guidance (although no one starved thanks to Sophia’s cooking skills and later the 10 people of the Yellow District who became the town cooks after coming in 3rd in the challenge).


    I’m okay with this show, and I really look forward to seeing more.