8:00: This week's episode: "The Root of All Evil". We get right to it, Divad (11-GA) opens a snack bar. So the root of all evil is snacks, guys. Snacks in Bonanza City consist of "cinnamon bread" and pickles. Also, as many slices of canned apple as you can fit on a stick for five cents. Sophie (14-FL) rightly points out that all the food Divad is selling was free from the kitchen. I rightly point out that Sophie has a lot to learn.
8:03: Young Jared (11-GA), the "Prince of all media," decides to open his own store to give Divad competition. His store seems to consist of a bare table and frustration. Divad's goon, Kelsey (11-PA) comes over to shut the place down. As usual, she has nothing but raw brain-power on her side: "Why are you so negative about [Divad making money]? Bill Gates has so much money. He started Microsoft and no one complained about that." That is true. I mean, a couple people kind of complained about it, but they were just, like, you know, the SEC and the European Union, so whatevs.
8:04: Because "the leadership" isn't doing anything about Divad's "snack monopoly," Jared just walks over and pushes her entire store to the ground. Now that's what I call a hostile takeover (rimshot).
8:07: People try to do this (this=knock over your table store), when they're jealous. But when they do this to Divad, it just makes her work harder. She's just going to march right back into that kitchen and whip up another batch of canned apples dumped into a bowl. Just you wait. It will be the best can of apples dumped in a bowl that the world has ever seen.
8:09: The Pioneer Journal informs the Town Council that in the old Bonanza City (which never existed), a miner struck gold (no he didn't), and they should go look in this cave (because a Hollywood cave and a functional mine, same dif) for their own gold (which was placed there ahead of time.) But, the book informs them, they shouldn't make the mistake that the old Town Council made (how can you make mistakes if you never existed?), which was to just make the rich richer and the poor poorer. I knew it. I KNEW IT. Only a bunch of radical Socialists could have invented this show.
8:11: Sophia has decided to run a little social experiment by cooking as many gross things as she can find (baked beans, potatoes, condensed milk, oatmeal, rotting vegetables), and then placed fifty cents at the bottom, and see "how far people will go for money." It is cute to see little Barbara Ehrenreich Jr. trying something new, but if I remember correctly, you could get kids to drink worse stuff than that with a simple "double dog dare."
8:13: The Town Council follows the map and finds a treasure chest at the back of the cave. The treasure chest is filled with...a bunch of nickels. Imagine all the trouble the Goonies went through to find One Eyed Willy's treasure, only to come upon $18.50 in nickels. Directed by Lars Von Trier. That would be a good movie, actually.
8:13: Zach (10-FL) points out that "choice in a democracy is everything, but it's still important for the smarter people to make the right choice." At first, this feels a little too Stalinistic for comfort, but then you think of Kelsey and you're like, he has a point. The Town Council uses the fortune to buy baseball bats, kites, books, and guitars from the general store, to be shared among the town. They are worried there will be revolt, but everyone is pretty content to have something to do.
8:15: Everyone is playing baseball and flying kites, except Nathan (11-IL), who I have never seen before, who sits lovingly next to a tub of laundry in a bomber jacket and starts scrubbing. He has his team-color bandana tied around his neck in a jaunty little ascot. Uh-oh, Jared, looks like you have some serious competition for Favorite Kid.
8:22: Over the next few minutes we find that Nathan's love for laundry is roughly inverse to the rest of the kid's dislike for Nathan, who is home-schooled, and wears the aforementioned ascot, and loves laundry. Ah. I see. In a wide shot we find that Nathan is wearing crocs. Fuck Nathan.
8:22: Divan explains that she is the richest person in Bonanza. With $1.25. I'm getting pretty tired of Divan's self-congratulations over what is quite obviously a sub-par snack empire.
8:24: Showdown time. Because we've been talking about money this week ("how to get it, how to save it, how to share it"), we will be launching golden eggs out of giant slingshots over a wall to be caught in large fireman's cushions. You know, money stuff.
8:31: This is actually a pretty hard challenge because the people launching and the people catching can't see each other. Altogether, they need to catch 48 eggs to win the reward, which considering how some of the teams are doing (Guylan's strategy is to have the people launch it and the other people catch it. Joe Torre replacement?) it seems impossible. But Blue District seriously just crushes this one, catching 38 eggs all by themselves. They win Upper Class. Yellow is the Merchants. Green are the Cooks. Red District are the Laborers.
8:37: The reward choice this week is between a coin-operated Laundromat that costs 20 cents a load, or one free outfit for each pioneer and some old wring-style hand-crank washing machines. This choice doesn't seem very tortuous (where's the sauna? What about the lifetime supply of pudding pops?), although considering the fact that at my Laundromat, 25 cents buys you five minutes on the dryer, I'm strongly considering a move to Bonanza City. They choose the new outfits and hand-washers because duh.
8:39: OK. Stop. I have made a big deal about how Jared is the best kid on this show, and so have a lot of other people, but he just announced that he is opening his own business, and that business is making necklaces. Bing bong, we've got a winner (sorry, Nathan). Supposedly he uses a magnifying glass to burn the words "Bonanza City 2007" into these little scraps of wood that he then hangs from some leather cord. He didn't do that. That is impossible. But I would totally buy one of his necklaces, and so does everyone else in town. Kelsey proclaims him a genius, which is like the pot calling the kettle white.
8:40: Jared made $2.90 off of his necklaces. That is so much money, right? Guys? He even calls himself "the Bill Gates of Bonanza City." He uses all of the money to buy clothes that make him look like some kind of Gap Kids laundry pimp from the 1800s outback. He is the most dashing entrepreneur in all of Waterworld.
8:41: Pharoah (12-PA) makes a touching pledge for the gold star to Zach over a root beer night cap. But it seems a little, what's the word I'm looking for? Oh, right: calculated. Meanwhile, outside, it is the middle of the night and Nathan is doing laundry by moonlight. This kid loves laundry. Everyone is worried that Nathan grew up and stopped being a kid too soon, leaving him unable to enjoy the worry-free pleasures of having your life taped in a make believe town doing ridiculous Double Dare challenges for money and a shot at a starring role in Good Burger 2: Here's the Beef.
8:42: Even Greg apologizes to Nathan for being so hard on him. It's a really gentle, sincere apology. I am back on Team Greg. FOR NOW.
8:44: Everyone has been called to offer their nominations for the gold star. Divad brings snacks to the line. Over the course of the episode, her list of snacks has dropped to just fried potatoes. She is constantly frying potatoes. Here, she offers fried potatoes. Also, her face is completely splotched with burns from flying grease. Jesus. Everyone loves delicious fried potatoes, that is a fact, but they are best served without bodily injury. Inside, a handful of kids nominate Pharoah. Divad nominates herself because of her important work in the potato industry. And Greg nominates Nathan. I am Team Greg Junior Varsity Captain.
8:50: Town Hall meeting. No one wants to go home. Greg tells Divad she needs to stop frying so many potatoes. I only just realize that DK and Taylor have been virtually absent from this episode after being so crucial and/or horrible up until now. What? There's no way this show has been manipulated via calculated editing to reflect a TV producer's idea of "reality," so I'm just confused. The gold star goes to Nathan. He is going to use it to play piano? I don't know quite how to describe it, but he talks like he's selling cereal.
8:54: On the only phone in town Nathan tells his mom about the gold star and says that he can use it to pay for "college, boarding school, candy, anything." Haha. Right. Anything. Anything of value. Like school, or candy. Whatever. Just, you know, piano lessons, candy, whatever everyone candy decides is candy in his candy best candy interest.
8:55: What is the first thing Nathan does with his newfound wealth and glory? Hint: it rhymes with laundry.
NEXT WEEK: The kids are bored to death, so they throw a talent show and the reward is a gold star. Finally, young people embarrassing themselves for money on television. Groundbreaking.