Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kid Nation [s1 ep02]: "To Kill or Not to Kill"

*** Spoiler Warning ***

Having just gotten around to writing the review of last week's series premiere of Kid Nation, I've already gotten to see tonight's 2nd episode. I have to say, I'm a little more concerned about the 2nd episode.

Chicken Issues
For starters, the title of the episode comes from the fact that the pioneers were given a choice to make: kill two of the egg-laying chickens for meat or go without protein a little while longer. First, the Town Council put it to a vote. The vote was close, but the need for protein won out. Some kids were so upset, they locked themselves in with the chickens out of protest. Eventually, they gave in.

I never would have thought they'd let kids kill their own chickens, but Greg, the oldest pioneer, happens to have worked with a butcher. He rattled off about a half dozen different animals that he's butchered. It was kind of creepy but made him well qualified. Greg not only did most of the work killing the chickens but calmly instructed his assistants on what to do and talked onlookers through the process.

Tough Gold Star Choices
You could tell Greg was working really hard for the $20K gold star. Unfortunately for him, everyone else could tell too. While he worked extra hard for the gold star, Michael worked extra hard just because of his attitude that hard work is best for the town. Work plus attitude won Michael the prize. From a preview for next week's episode, it appears Greg reacts badly to his loss, and his rage may ruin any chance of him winning next time.

Cold Again? Then Why More Wet Stuff?
The other bizarre thing is that the 2nd challenge is once again a water-based activity, with even more water splashing about than last time. And, it's so cold that when the pioneers woke up one morning, their one water pump and buckets of laundry were all frozen. Later that day, they were doing a plumbing challenge that got them all soaked. These kids are going to catch pneumonia.

Even worse, the two prizes they got to choose between were a 40-foot inflatable water slide (albeit heated) and several modern non-freeze water pumps. This time around, the 4th place team wasn't fast enough, and the town won neither prize. So, now they're still all soaked, cold, and forced to use boiled water to thaw out their only water pump whenever the temperature gets below freezing. Why did they not film this show during summer?

The Town Council Needs Term Limits
I'm baffled by one more thing... The show has not yet introduced a way of switching out their Council members. Taylor, the Councilperson from the Yellow District, is acting like a little queen, not wanting to do any work. Her district was responsible for cooking, but one morning she woke up cold and stayed warm in the cabin with a friend. When a fellow Yellow team member came by to ask the two of them to come help with the cooking, Taylor refused with attitude.

When the problem was addressed at the Town Hall Meeting, Taylor used the excuse that her district consisted of many of the youngest kids and that it was so cold the morning she refused to work that the town would "just have to starve." Taylor is *not* working out as a Councilperson. There needs to be an election, and Taylor needs to lose her seat, plain and simple.

I still respect the kids for their hard work, their determination, their genuine support of one another, etc. I like most of the kids we've been introduced to so far, especially Michael, Laurel, and DK. Even Greg has his likable moments. So, I'm still giving the show a chance. However, I do feel some caution going into next week's episode. The previews show the pioneers having to deal with a sand storm, since they're basically in the middle of the desert, and I again feel that their location may be too extreme for this social experiment.

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