Sunday, December 9, 2007

10 Reasons I Love 'Kid Nation'

My favorite new show, Kid Nation, is sadly coming to an end this Wednesday. But before it bows out, I'd like to give you a little insight as to why I enjoy this show so much.

10. Laurel's Accent- There is no mistaking where Laurel (12, Massachussets), one of the original town councilmembers, is from. She has a true Massachussets accent through and through. Luckily she recently won the gold star and we were privileged to see a phone call between Laurela and her Maaa. Let's just say there's not doubt where she gets her accent from! Take a look at the clip below and watch Maa get excited that her dawtah won twenty thousand dawlas!

9. Jared- There are no adequate words to describe the hilarity that is Jared, an oddball 11-year-old who performed Shakespeare for the town talent show, tried to explain the possibilities of teleportation to the saloon, and finds new ways to be weird every week. He's just awesome, but I think I'll let this little montage of him speak for itself:

8. Kid Nation Church- In the episode "Bless Us and Keep Us Safe," the topic of religion was suddenly a hot button issue. The kids are advised to have a religious service together, and the council attempts to make everyone show up to the chapel for a little service. Predictably no one comes, and it looks like religion may end up falling by the wayside. But Morgan steps up, and that night some of the kids gather around a fire for an impromptu prayer service. It becomes a very moving experience for some of the kids, and proves that a little respect toward other religions can go a long way.

7. Taylor the Pageant Queen- Little 10-year-old Taylor started out on the right foot as part of the town council and someone who appeared to be willing to work hard. But soon enough she could be seen shirking her duties and barking her trademark: "Deal with it!" to anyone who dared to cross her. She was voted off the council after the first election, which served to only give her license to work even less than before. Asked to haul water, she stopped to set the buckets down and then kicked them over, snotting, "Oops. My bad." Repeatedly asked to do dishes, she loved to answer that pageant queens do not do dishes. Finally threatened to be kept out of the new arcade unless she did some real work, Taylor finally stepped into the kitchen and proceeded to do hours and hours worth of work. Whether this new-found work ethic is here to stay or not is still to be determined. If it is, I just hope we'll still be treated to her catchphrase.

6. Bonaza Politics- Just like in the real world, polictics are of the upmost importance in the Kid Nation town of Bonanza. Despite a town council being pre-selected before even arriving, the kids were able to elect their own government by the fifth episode. Since then they've had yet another election, meaning out of the 40 kids who started on the show, 10 of them have had a seat on the council. The interesting part is how seriously the kids take their government and the power that has been bestowed on their council members. The council recently appointed Sophia as town sheriff and left her in charge while they were out of Bonanza. The kids were soon up in arms over the decision, partcularly with the idea of Sophia being given so much power. Eric asks if they can vote on their new temporary leader instead, but the council is quick to nix that idea. Then Nathan joins in the protest, saying, "You're giving Sophia a lot of power- we didn't elect her." The kids treat the council and the prestige of that job with the upmost importance, something that is integral to building a society, and I find that utterly fascinating.

5. Sophia's Social Experiments- Sophia, the self proclaimed 30-year-old in the body of a 14-year-old is constantly finding ways of using the other kids as her own entertainment. In the most recent episode, she used a rope to mark off a small portion of the town and proclaimed it as her own. The theory, she explained, was that once she claimed the land as her own, everyone else would want it, and the kids would be fighting just to get in or walk through it. She was right, of course, and it didn't take long before a small crowd had formed around her and her new piece of land. Another time she simply lay down in the middle of the street without saying a word, and before long she was joined on the ground by at least half the town. My favorite, though, was when she got a group of kids to dig around in a disgusting pot of rotting food. Here, you just have to see it:

4. Showdown Teamwork- In each episode there is a showdown challenge, which pits district vs. district, playing for the town jobs and salaries. Everyone wants to be upper class, and no one wants to be laborers, so the competition can get pretty heated. However, the districts are also playing as a town, and if everyone can complete the challenge in a certain time limit, they will win the town a huge reward. After the first, second, and third place teams have placed, they all turn from competing for their status as a district to competing as a town for their reward. When the time is running out, the teams that are already finished with the showdown can be heard shouting encouragement for the last place district. While their movitation is mostly due to their desire for a town reward, I like to think the kids are also encouraging the other teams out of friendship and pride for the town. So when Yellow District is lagging and the rest of the town has rallied behind them, I believe that their cheers and acclamation are for their friends and fellow Bonanzians.

3. Olivia vs. Anjay- Olivia is definitely the town stick-in-the-mud, there is just no doubt about it. Constantly disapproving of the council and of her fellow townspeople. Where there is a joke not funny enough, where there is a statement not agreed upon, generally there is Olivia. Also without question is the fact that Olivia's nemesis is Anjay. From day one Olivia has struggled with her district's councilmember, never missing an opportunity to put him down or rub his nose in his mistakes. He in turn doesn't hide his hatred of her very well, especially when she annouces she'll be running for his seat on the council. Funnily enough, she turns out to be the only challenging candidate to lose their election, but that doesn't do anything for her mean streak. Olivia and Anjay will likely be at each other's throats until the day they leave New Mexico, but until then I will relish in every delicious insult.

2. More Jared- I swear, he would be reason enough to watch this show. This whole video is hilarious, but skip to 1:30 if you're in a hurry.

1. "We Got the Port-o-Potties! Yea!"- It's rare in the real world to hear kids cheer for port-o-potties, or for washing machines, or fruits and vegetables, but this is what Kid Nation has done. Each week that the kids win their showdown, they must choose between a practical and a fun reward. More often than not, suprisingly enough, the kids go with the smart choice, and the whole town is more or less happy about it. Nowhere else could you see kids jumping up and down at the idea of some hand-crank laundry machines, but that's just what this show is about. And I get the biggest kick out of the kids yelling and screaming for bathrooms and toothbrushes.

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