Monday, September 24, 2007

KID NATION -- Just Kidding

SPOILER ALERT Plot points from the pilot are revealed below. But face it, you aren’t going to watch this show anyway, so why be concerned?

First, the controversy around KID NATION. There has been much brouhaha over sending these kids out to a ghost town with absolutely no adults around. What if there’s an emergency? A kid could die before any adult even knows about it!

Of course, this all assumes two things: 1. Cameras and sound equipment run by themselves and 2. Networks don’t have lawyers.

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but there are more adults than kids in Bonanza City.

There is an army of cameramen, lighting guys, sound guys, script supervisors, pa’s, producers, etc. As well as caterers supplying food for all those adults (and don’t you go believing that the best boy’s union is going to allow him to live off sticky pasta).

And there is an on-site medic, if not a team of on-site medics.

Being in Kid Nation is no different than Boy Scout Camp – except safer and more overrun with adults.

I actually like the idea of Kid Nation; it seems more interesting to me to watch a group closer to innocence try and tackle surviving than their more insidious actor wannabe counter parts on the grown up shows.

Seriously, would leaders from an adult show give Sophia the award for being the hardest working member of the team – just moments after she publicly criticizes the leadership? Even the White House knows that you reward incompetent loyalty over capable detractors.

Watching this flock of kids rally around their youngest member when he wants to quit (survivor of the fittest this ain’t) could give one hope that our species deserves survival. (Also priceless: Jimmy refusing the offer to be Greg’s wingman – choosing loneliness over alliance with someone he considers “not nice.”)

But the show ultimately doesn’t work, because the (adult) producers are dishonest about the premise.

You see, it is sold on this concept: In a century past, grownups couldn’t make this town work. If kids could make their own society, would they do any better? (The pilot even features quotes from the kids about how our current world/government is screwed up.)

Great concept. Would the kids devolve into LORD OF THE FLIES, or create a better world that only the eyes of the innocent could conceive?

Of course the adults that rule the show aren’t about to let kids have that much power; so by the end of day two, the producer enforce their own community structure on the kids – including a social order guaranteed to create unnecessary conflict (they create four classes, the top one doesn’t have to work and gets paid the most; the bottom does the brunt of the labor and gets paid the least).

And speaking of pay, that is another area of social science forced on the kiddies – a monetary system, with prices and goods determined, not by the society of kids, but by the invisible adults.

I get that this is the way the real world works – the privileged get more privilege on the backs of the lesser born (“them that’s got shall get…”) But isn’t the whole point to see if the kids are smarter/better/more ethical than the adult world?

In what way are we seeing if the kids can survive (or even thrive) if they are being forced to do so in flaws not of their own choosing?

So if you want a mini-version of SURVIVOR, here you go.

If you want the show promised by the KID NATION promos, you’ll have to wait for another time.

Just my thoughts,

Sean

2 comments:

Matt Singley said...

I was just curious enough about this show to be...well, curious, but not enough to watch it. Thanks for the great summary! I wonder how it will turn out?

Linds said...

Hmmm... maybe the social experiment's not whether or not the kids can make it, but to what extent the adults must corrupt their plans...