Friday, September 21, 2007

I'd Like to Secede Please

Well, it sure isn't Lord of the Flies, but it is slightly more entertaining than watching flies. Kid Nation, the new reality program on CBS is a hopeless bore-fest. What did you expect?

Forty kids ages 8 to 15 are secluded in an abandoned New Mexico ghost town (OK, really a movie set used for Legend of the Lone Ranger and Silverado) where they will spend 40 days creating a new community with their own little hands. There has been the pre-show hoopla regarding the possible skirting of child-labor laws and 14-hour shooting days. And yeah, it appears that four of the kids accidentally drank bleach during the filming of an episode (bet that doesn't make it on the air).

CBS pushed this show with "kids forming a better society" trappings, but what you really have is a Survivor clone for those dancing around puberty. And not a good Survivor clone either, more of a Pirate Master type of clone, with fake mythology "the adults couldn't make a go of this town and it died, maybe you kids can do better." Too bad it is really a movie set, which is built near the foundations of what was once Bonanza City.

As in all Survivor clones, the kids are divided up into teams and compete against one another. They don't vote anyone off, but at the end of each show, kids can request to go home to their Mommy. The smart ones, eight-year old Jimmie in the first episode, will do this quickly.

Like Survivor there are camera crews all over the place generating reel after reel of film. Unfortunately all of it is dull and insipid. What is scary about this show is that what they are showing you is the interesting part (and if you figure 10 film crews filming for 14 hours a day, that is 140 hours of film a day or 560 hours of film they had to work with for just the first episode)! That the show lay there like a turd slowly turning hard as the sun bakes it is a sure indication that there is something horribly wrong with this show.

I think the real problem here is that 1) the pre-show hype talked about "kids forming a better society," but in reality it's just a reality show using fake competition and reward and punishment to get the kids to do things 2) the kids are just not very interesting, and 3) they're kids. You know how on every season of Survivor there are one or two really whiny players that you can't wait for the others to vote off? Well, on Kid Nation there are 40 of them and after one episode I'm voting them off my TiVo.

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