Kid Nation

It’s autumn or fall as our friends from across the pond like to call it. That means that the new TV lineup is about to start with each station attempting to gather as many viewers as possible. Reality shows ranging from Big Brother to Survivor and Joe Millionaire have long been part of it and the question as to when the craze of the endless more and more mind numbing shows will end.

In this years lineup is a new show, CBS has already sparked massive controversy with: Kid Nation.

The premise:

40 Kids have 40 days to build a brave new world without adults to help or hinder their efforts. Can they do it? These Kids, ages 8-15, will turn a ghost town into their new home. They will cook their own meals, clean their own outhouses, haul their own water and even run their own businesses including the old town saloon (root beer only). Through it all, they’ll cope with regular childhood emotions and situations: homesickness, peer pressure and the urge to break every rule they’ve ever known.

Official CBS – Kid Nation site

Sounds very much Lord of the flies, doesn’t it?

    Kids on their own, check.
    No adult supervision, check.
    Having to fend for themselves, check.
    Creating a new society, check.
    Drama, shouting and heartfelt moments, check.

Yep, it’s all there. So what happened to the kids in Lord of the flies? Did they manage it? Did they end up creating a society they wanted or did they argue, struggle and end up destroying each other? there was murder, thievery and deceit.

What about ‘The Tribe’? A fairly unknown Australian TV drama show which is set in the present in which a virus killed all adults and the kids and teens had to look after themselves and ended up forming tribes and battling each other. Over the course of the five series people get killed, there is slavery, suppression and a seemingly endless war between the Tribes with a very few trying to build a self sufficient society.

Admittedly the kids in Kids Nation have it easier, they are all ‘prepared’, they know that they will be on their own, assumingly had several psychological evaluations and they have houses, livestock and are being monitored for the case that things get out of hand.

In addition to having to survive on their own, forming rules and living together they also have to decide each day who to give a gold star worth 20000 dollars to. Ideally every kid could acquire one throughout the run of the show, 40 kids, 40 days and 40 gold stars, but I’m sure it will not end up like that. I can imagine that a big amount of the kids there was being pressured to take part by their parents and the parents put even more pressure on them to win those gold stars.

And what about the constant filming?

“When I heard about the idea in L.A., I thought it was great until I got there and there were cameras with me every minute of the day, and it got a little annoying at times,” said Greg, 15, who was recruited by CBS through his involvement with the Reno Rodeo Assn. “After a while, you got used to it. You know? You’d go to the outhouse and they’d wait for you outside and film you coming out.”

Los Angeles Times

Apparently some kids elected to leave, there are allegations of the producers instructing the kids what to say and several accidents. It will definitely be dramatic, but will it be good for the kids?


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2 Responses to Kid Nation

  1. ~m says:

    What amazes me is the fact that nothing is taboo if it has a possibility of generating interest.
    The kid coming out of the crapper serves to illustrate the point.
    Do you remember “Who’s your Daddy?”
    It was a program where an adopted woman is given a chance to pick her birth father from three contestants (one of which was her actual father, obviously)
    I had an interest in the show because I’m adopted myself, but jeeppers, isn’t anything sacred and private anymore?
    Great call on Kid Nation.
    Lord of the Flies for the new millenium? Ayup.


  2. Cat says:

    It doesn’t seem that way, no. The concept in itself seems good, but it just doesn’t quite work, especially not with the constant cameras.

    There was a reality show in I think the Netherlands a while back in which several dying women were competiting for one woman’s organs or bonemarrow. It was later discovered to be fake, but just the idea is sickening.


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