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December 19, 2014

Kid Nation: We've All Decided to Go Mad (season finale)

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Dec 12th 2007 11:19PM
Mega gold star on Kid Nation(S01E13) It's been noted in press reports that the alleged charges brought against Kid Nation have been dropped and the state of New Mexico won't be pursuing them. After watching the entire season, I can see why. For whatever flaws the show might have had (and it had several), it didn't seem to measure up to any sort of child abuse or violation of child labor laws.

The pre-season brouhaha cited the lack of adult supervision as a big problem. Alas, for me, it was all of the adult intervention which became the biggest issue I had with the show. It wasn't the kids -- they were overall a fantastic bunch!

There hasn't been an announcement whether there will be another season of the show or not. They had been accepting applications on the CBS website, but the deadline is long past and the link for applying has vanished. I think if they do have another season, a tad less blatant direction of the kids is in order. I know they can't just let the kids go wild -- maybe some ground rules, but I personally think that journal should be buried under the not selected Kid Nation monument.

Tonight's finale opened with kids waxing eloquently about their fellow kids. Once again, I keep wondering about the editing and time frames of some of the scenes. Throughout the season, Greg's chin scrape has appeared and disappeared. Kids wear jackets and it seems very cold, then the next scene they're looking comfortable in short sleeve t-shirts. What's up with that?

Markell from Kid NationSo, what happens to the "pioneers" when structure is removed from their lives in town? Mike discovered the job board moved to the center of a street and on fire. And, then it started. Absolute chaos reigned as the kids were told they had no more jobs or responsibilities for the remaining two days. Uh-oh.

The candy and dry goods stores were looted. It reminded me of outright looting seen during riots, the blackout of 1977 in NYC, and such. Oh, without the danger or anger in those situations, but certainly with the wanton destruction of property and the theft issues.

But then there are those kids. You know which ones -- the kids with a conscience. I'm talking Zach, Sophia, DK, and others. Even some who initially got taken in with the idea of all the candy they could barf came around to their senses.

The next day, the kids all came together and cleaned up the mess from the madness of the night before. Aw, such a perfect little world they have going on there, don't they? I don't think that happened after many of the real life lootings. Sure, friends and some volunteers help out, but you don't see the looters return to clean up their mess.

Then adult host Jonathan Karsh announced there would be no showdown and the council had to decide right then and there (after a brief discussion) who would be the last gold star recipient. DK, who might be a bit too sensitive for his own good, cried because he didn't want to make such an important decision. Now, I like DK, but he does need to toughen up just a bit. I think the council made a good decision is choosing Zach. He cries sometimes too, but on the whole he controls his emotions a bit more than DK. He's a good worker, has great moral values, and was the perfect choice for the final golden star, I think.

Migle from Kid NationBut, of course, it wasn't the final golden star as we would find out on their Day 40. In the meantime, Migle ended up getting hyped up, as did Morgan.

That's another faux pas with the show. I realize they feel they might have to remind us of the value of some kids. After all, there were 40 of them (37 in the finale). No, we can't remember them all by face and name. Sometimes I'd see a kid and wonder where they were all season. Sometimes kids who were featured prominently in an episode or two vanish into the woodwork. Divad is an example of a woodwork child.

But it's always a dead giveaway when the show focused on a child or two other than some of the key players like Jared, Greg, Zach, Laurel, other council leaders, etc.

With no real showdown, they kind of had a showdown. The kids had to prepare for a Bonanza City Bonanza party by completing three tasks in an alloted time frame. The reward would be three huge $50,000 gold stars awarded as opposed to the ones throughout the season which were merely $20,000.

Looking at it from my jaded adult view, I could see that the whole thing was set up to make the kids all work together as a team to accomplish their goals. Heck, even some of the kids there could see it. But work together they did -- making a huge spaghetti meal from scratch which included making the pasta and crushing tomatoes for the sauce. Then they had to build picnic tables and finally, they had to bury all of the trash from their dump.

They made it within the time frame and got an added treat. Their parents all came! Woohoo! Tears of joy all around and lots of hugging. I noticed that Alex seemed to shun physical hugging ... interesting. The kids got to show off their town and a good time was had by all.

Then it got down to business. The parents went with the children for the last town hall meeting. Sophia was the first one selected to win one of the big gold stars. Like the Zach choice, I think it was well-deserved. She's been a rock through the whole show and a good worker, too. And, another thing I like about her is that she will speak her mind. She really held concern about the town on the whole and her own personal work ethic was admirable.

Then it was Morgan and Migle, not unexpectedly at all due to the build-up. I'm sure they're deserving kids. But I would have liked to see Mike get one. That excitable boy tried so hard throughout the season that I thought he might pop blood vessels in his excited phase.

Jared from Kid NationMy main little man Jared never won a gold star, but I think he won a lot of hearts over out there. He wasn't always a hard worker. He also didn't always behave like an angel. But he's such an oddly delightful and intelligent child that I'm sure he could very well win that Nobel Prize sometime in the future. For me, he's one of the reasons I enjoyed the show so much.

Will there be another Kid Nation?

I really don't know at this time. But if there is, I'd be tempted to watch it once again just to get to know the kids.

How about you? If they return, what changes would you suggest?

Would you watch another season of Kid Nation?
Yes818 (88.2%)
No62 (6.7%)
Depends on the kids chosen47 (5.1%)

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Barbara

This show was a sucess in my book. My kids looked forward to watching it each week. They even watched the same episode a few times. It made parents realize what children are up against with getting along with their peers and also what they are capable of accomplishing. I thought that this was very educational and brought up issues that the kids and I could discuss. There needs to be another season of the show. I know that my daughter would pack her bags in a minute to go.

February 19 2008 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lixxygirl

I soo agree with you on about everything you said....at times i would see kids and think,who are they?Mike should have gotten a gold star also.Next season there should be alot less structure to see what happens..i mean,there's adults there...the camera crew and all...soo why soo much direction?Just to make sure there's a topic for each episode i suppose.But what i'm wondering is which of the kids ended up in Hospital after show...or was that all hype by CBS??I loved the show and yes Sophia deserved to get both stars,i agree...she's going to make a name for herself...that young woman has big things in her future i think!

December 17 2007 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat

Next season why not let the kids figure it out for themselves! After a few days together let them elect a President and a Congress, and divide themselves into States rather than classes. I bet, once they see what needs to be done they can do it! Sure, you will need smart kids who can be leaders. Teachers can recommend those!! Let's have another season!

December 14 2007 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amanda

I really loved this show. It showed how well kids really can work together and survive without a parent constantly telling them what to do. Sure they had some guidance, but adults have guidance in everyday life as well. I thought this show was so good, and I really hope they come out with a Kid Nation 2. Also I REALLY feel they should do a Kid Nation reunion show, because it gives the kids a chance to see everyone again and see how the show changed their lives for them. Great show!

December 14 2007 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Randall

I liked this show better than any other reality show because of the kids. I hate how adults are always scheming and being annoying with their alliances and backstabbing.

December 13 2007 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
andre

Big Brothers and Survivors are my favourite shows, . . . when they're real. I hate it when producers organize the challenges to favour specific participant or when episodes, or the shows altogether, are fixed in a way or another by them, as they’re more and more doing. That is why I stop watching Kid Nation after the first episode. I knew it wouldn’t be real. The producers were doing everything I hate about reality shows. And, reading some of your comments throughout the season, I'm glad I didn’t.
E.g., I don’t think I’d watch a “Reality all Stars” either. There is no such thing, in reality, as all-media-stars interacting with each other for thirty-some days. No doubt that it would be a good show, but it would not be “real”. . . I would like to see a show where new contestants are chosen for whom they are, and than allowed to freely react to the other “unknown-by-any-of-them” contestants for the duration of the show. We would learn a lot more about human nature. No doubt that it would be dull at some points, but in reality life is sometimes dull also. And no doubt that it would be harder for the producers, but in reality producers of reality shows (news) are not allowed to manipulate the news either, to make them more entertaining.
AG

December 13 2007 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Becky

I was impressed with this series, and with so many of the children who took part in the show. It makes me wonder where they will be in the future. I think Greg changed so much during the season. He came in a boisterous, rather loud, could be mean, normal kid for his age. Before the show was over, he became a very good leader, who could admit when he was wrong. I think his life will be much different in the future.

Some of the children in the show did not change at all. In an instance where they could have changed for the better, Taylor remained the little spoiled brat until the end. Her little clique's telling Emilie she couldn't stay with them that night made me uncomfortable. Their being gracious enough to offer to LET her spend time with them the next day was a slap in the face. I wish Emilie would have told them to kiss off. I would hope that Taylor's parents will make a big effort in guiding her in a different direction, but I doubt it. They will blame everyone else but their darling for the way she was portrayed.

Some of the kids were delightful the entire show. Jared, the little boy genius and some of the others amazed me.

Sophia in her own words is a grown up in a 14 year old body. It was heart warming to hear her say in the end, that after being with this group for 40 days there is hope for her generation doing well in the future. She is not as worried about the world being in their hands.

I hope there is another season and I hope that there is not as much "guidance" from adults. Divide the kids into four groups and let them rotate to the different classes. See how each group adapts from being Labor class to Upper. Set the ground rules and then let them govern themselves. Set up guidelines in the beginning -- trash needs to be hauled, privy holes dug, dishes washed the surroundings kept clean. Here are books if you want to read and if you don't, then here is what you can do to entertain yourself. Adults should only step in if there is a danger.

December 13 2007 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
~~A

Cory B said: the children were portrayed largely in sterotypical gender roles.

Cory, they weren't "portrayed" that way; it gradually *became* that way on its own. Gender roles are stereotypical for a reason: lots of people (yes, even chlidren) naturally act and feel along traditional gender roles because that's just they way they are made. I'm not saying ALL girls want to be nurturers and not ALL boys are leaders, etc., but enough that, yes, it's more typical than not.

CBS didn't plan it that way; the original council was two girls and two boys. Obviously they did their best to make sure the genders were treated as equally as possible.

But basic human nature is still what it is, despite all rhetoric to the contrary and if a group of human beings are left to themselves you are probably always going to see more girls becoming the peacemakers, nurturer types and more boys stepping up to be the strong leader, heavy-worker types than not. How many Survivors and Amazing Races have shown that even although no one plans it that way, many/most people *still* tend to fall along traditional gender roles *most* of the time. (NOT saying women cannot kick ass, NOT saying men cannot be nuturers; just saying that, most of the time, when left to our own devices, *most* people end up along what you call "stereotypical" gender roles.

December 13 2007 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Torry Zenk

Is it me or is DK always trying to be the center of attention? He was going to leave and got upset and was talked into staying and then received a gold star. Last night, he cried about give a gold star? Then he couldn't walk and the whole town almost lost the gold stars. Give me a break! (this has nothing to do with black or white either).

Also Jonathan Karsh TALK ANY LOUDER?? He screams even at the council meetings.

Even though most of the new council had already received gold stars, I think it would suck to be on the council. What's so great about it? You have no chance of getting a gold star and no matter what you do, you have to deal with a lot of crap from other town folk.

I wish they would have put the kids together with their parents and show the audience. I think that would be nice.

If CBS does do another Kid Nation, I'd probably still watch, but they definately have to make some changes and not be too predicable.

December 13 2007 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kosmicki

Migle was first featured last week, and they had several of the kids, including Migle in one of her interviews, that she had changed the most of all the kids. She was lazy when she first got there (she said that about herself). The other kids, starting last week, were referencing how much she had changed and started working and helping the other kids. I thought they were setting her up for a regular star, but when she didn't get that, it was pretty clear she was going to get one of the big ones.

As for the big star winners, Sophia was an obvious choice since she was the rock of the whole town (and had won over their respect too with her leadership as sheriff). Migle, if she did improve the most as we were told by the kids, was also a legitimate winner, since personal improvement is supposed to be part of the reason for doing a show like this. The one that surprised me was Morgan. She's always been there, but mainly in the background since she won her gold star. I do remember the rules being that two of the three had to go to previous gold-star winners, while the third could go to anyone. Since four of the gold star winners were on the council, it really did limit their options.

What impressed me the most was that the all older boy council picked three girls. That tells me that they really were picking based on some criteria, not on who they liked the most. but then again, it was three older boys picking three older girls, so maybe it's not that surprising.

Mike did deserve something, heck if nothing else, he should get paid by the producers for being the real host -- he definitely had the most screen time and commentary.

if there is another season, it will be interesting to see if people angle to NOT be on the council at the end, since it would be awkward for the council to reward themselves with the big prize.

December 13 2007 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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