December 12, 2007

Kid Nation

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Here's To You!,Idiot Box,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:18 pm

And now, for an inspiring, reality-based edition of…

Here’s To You!

So I raise my glass and say “Here’s to you, Kid Nation!”

When I first heard about this show, I figured they were just recreating the original Boys’ Town for reality TV. Give some kids a town and say “here’s a town, run it”. No one is there to pick them up when they fall down. They have to pick themselves up. No mommy and daddy to do everything for them. It’s up to them to keep things going themselves.

Well, in KN’s case, there were also lots of cameras and that host guy who was in every episode for the town meetings and showdowns. But they were out of the way pretty much.

Before the show began, some people were all up in arms over the idea of “exploiting children for reality TV”. Never mind that two years ago, Brat Camp did the exact same thing as well as glorified abusive wilderness camps, which is a ZILLION times worse than anything that even could have been on Kid Nation. In this show, the kids were having a good time, even with all the hardships and fights.

I watched every episode (well, I missed the second one). Every single episode, when it was over, I had the biggest smile on my face. I’ve never been into reality shows, since they’re mostly a bunch of jerks making fools of themselves, but this one was special. Maybe it is because they’re kids. The feel of the show, you just want to see them succeed. You want to see them do well. You want to see them prove themselves. And their tasks weren’t anything really outlandish (well, maybe some of the showdowns, LOL). It was just running their lives without adults telling them what to do, unless you count the journal thing, but even that was very indirect.

Also fun to watch the kids grow and change during the run of the thing. How the experience affected them. Many of the kids who were annoying and selfish and immature at the beginning really stepped up by the end.

And seeing the season finale tonight, I was pleasantly surprised at how the show turned out! When we at NYRA first heard about the show earlier this year, we were sure there was no way it would turn out pro-youth. We were sure it would end up showing only kids fighting and living in a mess and the ending would say that kids need adults around at all times or they’ll suffer.

Well, truth is, they did fight and have a lot of mess. But that was part of it. You are never going to have a group of people living together like that, regardless of ages, who are never going to have some major conflicts and fights and yelling.

Which brings me to another point. While many things about the show were pro-YR, for the most part they were things only youth rights supporters would notice. We see the kids working out their differences, getting past conflicts and solving problems. Others just see a lot of kids screaming at each other for an hour. The fact that adults have these exact same conflicts never crosses their mind. Such is the mindset of most people, sadly. They see adults and kids on such separate levels. When adults scream at each other, it’s just because of a nasty problem. When kids scream at each other, it’s because they’re immature kids, and any idea that adults do the same is momentarily forgotten.

But I have to say I liked it. Just goes to show that the kids can do it when situation calls for it. I mean, true, they chose to go there, there were cameras and crew around at all times anyway, and in some cases obvious script was obvious, but much of it isn’t much different from the myriad of real life situations where kids must step up and take charge when the adults around them have failed. They’re able to do it time and again.

The neat thing, though? These kids took on all sorts of responsibilities and ran this town in spite of adversity, yet in all of it, they were still “kids” at heart. Having fun “like kids” even while living with very “adult” responsibilities. And I’ll bet so many people thought this was impossible.

Just a shame they finished the 40 days only to go back home to live lives where they still have no say in anything and are ignored because, well, they’re just kids. :irked:


  1. Watch Who Wants to be a Superhero?. It’s good too.

    Comment by Junulo — December 13, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  2. […] recently reread Alex’s piece from 2007 about that old show Kid Nation (which I wrote about a few months later), and how, before the show ever aired, adults got all up in arms about “oh noes, this show is […]

    Pingback by Sure, Why Not? » Offensive Independence — January 5, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

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