8PM: The premier of Kid Nation. CBS reminds us that it's the "most talked about series of the fall." Yes, because of the whole bleach drinking thing. Oh, and the circumventing of child labor laws. "Judge for yourself." Too late. I judge it a winner.
8:01: OK, I'm sorry, but the leaders of Bonanza City (Bonanza City?) did not run it into the ground, because it was clearly built by set designers. That ghost town is in amazing shape! Only the richest, most fabulous Hollywood ghosts live there.
8:01: 40 kids. "They are every type of kid imaginable." Not quite. Here are some kids I can imagine that were not seen on the Kid Nation bus: Ethiopian extended-belly kids, kids with only one arm and only one leg. Kids who perform break-dancing on the subway with their older brothers for spare cigarettes. Kids who have first-hand experience with land mines and/or sulphuric acid. Also, nice work on having the voice over say "city kids" right when it stops on the black one. WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!
8:02: Jimmy from New Hampshire thinks he's going to die out here. Gabe from New York thinks Jimmy from New Hampshire is going to die out here.
8:03: The kids are going to spend 40 days in Kid Nation. Why? 12 days seems like enough to get the point across. 30 would be a solid month. The only significance I can think of for 40 days is that Josh Hartnet movie about trying not to masturbate (and don't say Jesus because Jesus is not real.)
8:03: Up until now, the host has been bland and genial as a host should be, but when the bus full of lonely scared kids pulls up in the middle of the desert and he yells "GET OFF THE BUS," you realize that maybe there's more to Jonathan Karsh than we realized. Checking The Smoking Gun now.
8:04: HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAH. Some kids just showed up by helicopter because they have been chosen by the producers as "leaders" for the "Town Council." The spirit of Stalin lives!
8:04: The Indian kid (a leader because he is a "genius spelling bee champion," well we will see how well your familiarity with latin roots HAULS WATER THROUGH THE DESERT) just said that only three adults have ever done a "good job." George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Muhammed Ali. Sorry, Mahatma Ghandi. Hooray for cultural indoctrination.
8:04: Another leader, Laurel, says "I believe in my true beliefs and nobody's going to make me feel like I'm lying." She is a natural born leader, because that makes no sense.
8:05: The kids have been dropped off a FEW MILES from Bonanza City, and then forced to haul wagons full of supplies and livestock. Jonathan Kersh has no problem with this. Also: the leaders have been instructed to go to the chapel and find an old book for more information. The Koran?
8:06: Each week, the "top kid in town" will be awarded a gold star worth 20,000 dollars just as soon as they can find someone willing to melt down a gold star into counterfeit Sackajaweas.
8:08: City Kid (Black Kid) pulled a muscle in his leg. He is placed on top of the sacks of grain and backpacks in the wagon. This is teamwork. Teamwork for absolutely no reason. What is this fucking show, you guys?
8:10: There are no beds in this city, finally teaching kids what it is like to be in charge? They find a cookbook inside of an old wrought-iron stove and what does the Indian kid suggest they make? Rock candy. I predict scurvy and dysentery within three days. Oregon Trail!
8:15: Taylor, the beauty queen, is crying because she misses home, and by home she means "getting to eat protein, and healthy meals." Taylor, it should be noted, lives in a Whole Foods and is raised by professional dieticians.
8:16: Another kid points out that today has been the worst day in 3 years. Some serious shit went down back when he was 7, apparently.
8:17: Three of the leaders, two of whom are crying, reassure each other that tomorrow will be much better. I'm guessing the reason they think this is that one of the producers lied to them and told them the show had been cancelled, because if things keep going the way they are clearly going, tomorrow is not going to be much better.
8:18: The kid who just had the worst day in 3 years? He said, and I quote, "I'm very hungry, and as Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'I have a dream.'" His dream was apparently of having unpasteurized goat's milk and one pancake, which is breakfast.
8:21: The first attempt at a group meeting goes really badly and everyone is arguing and one kid is a bully and he pushes the over-bearing "leader" who is main political platform seems to be yelling and whining. Then this would-be surfer kid stands up and reminds everyone that this is not just about them as individuals, it is about showing that kids can get organized and work cooperatively. These kids don't actually think that if they succeed at this, whatever success would mean, that they'll be put in charge of everything, do they?
8:23: The leaders find an "old "book in the chapel left by Bonanza City's pioneering settlers, and Production Assistants that provides the kids with important information. It tells them how to organize and run the community according to traditional values. In the 1800s, everyone divided up into Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green teams to survive.
8:27: Two of the older boys grafittied "blue" all over the town with chalk, and it's making the kids upset. It's kind of adorable. Mad about chalk! THERE IS A WAR GOING ON, GUYS. Maybe this isn't a fair comparison, but I don't think the children of Iraq would be too concerned by "go blue!" being scribbled on a doorframe.
8:29: Jonathan Karsh is a monster. He asks one of the kids "do you miss your parents?" and when the kid gives a sniffly affirmative, he responds "I think we all miss our parents." You know how sometimes you wish you could go back to being a kid, knowing what you know now? I wish I could go back to being a kid and get on this show and knuckle-punch Jonathan Karsh in the throat.
8:30: OK, so the kids are going to get paid for their jobs, but on scale. Laborers get 10 cents, Cooks get 25 cents, Merchants get 50 cents, and the "Upper-Class" get one dollar. Their jobs are decided by a "show-down." Someone's going to die.
8:40: The challenge involves Kool Aid oil derricks, physical exhaustion, and shame. Since all the teams finished within the one hour time limit, the town gets a reward. They can either have 7 more out-houses, OR they can have a TV. (The TV is from 1962, btw.) HAHAHHAHA. OK, so one kid has a dynamite reason to choose the TV over not-even-sanitary-but-better-than-what-they-have-toilets: "What if there was a tornado coming? How would we know?"
8:41: They choose the bathrooms. Amazing. Kids could RULE THE WORLD.
8:43: Sophia (14-FL) feels like she is surrounded by a lot of dumb people. No, Sophia, you are surrounded by a lot of 8-year-olds. It's close, but it is different.
8:44: There is a candy store, a pogo stick store, and a root beer store in this town. Which I think goes really far in explaining why the original settlers of Bonanza City failed.
8:46: Sophia is dancing in the middle of the street hoping to get some change from the other kids, as she is only a Laborer making 10 cents a day, and wants the three dollar bicycle from the Pogo Stick Store. Dancing? Just wait until she discovers how lucrative BJs and HJs are.
8:47: Wow! She gets enough money for the bike. Seriously, she's one fuck away from a Ferrari.
8:53: The first Town Council meeting. Sophie is unhappy with the work the council is doing, but her main complaint seems to be that the yellow team didn't wash the dishes after cooking breakfast. Well, guess what Sophie, you can whore yourself out all you want for a bike, but at the end of the day you're still a Laborer, so clean up my shit and sit down. Right?
8:54: Jonathan Karsh asks the all important question, which he says he will ask in every Town Meeting. "Does anyone want to go home?" I'd like to offer the producers a suggestion, if anyone doesn't want to go home, shoot them, because they are retarded. (And you should shoot retarded people, apparently.)
8:54: Oh, no, it gets better. He singles kids out and asks the how they are feeling and if they want to go home. Because one thing that Jonathan Karsh knows is that kids benefit psychologically by being singled-out in front of their peers and made to feel week and inferior. Look out Dr. Spock!
8:55: Sad moment, guys. Jimmy wants to go home. On the plus side, no need to shoot him.
8:57: Jonathan Karsh holds up the gold star trophy. The council awards it to Sophia. It's worth 20,000 dollars. The kids are amazed. That is so much mac and cheese. So many Nintendo Gameboy DS Lite games. But the real reward is that she is given the key to the "only building in Bonanza City that has phones." As a reward, she is allowed to call her parents. This show is way more fucked up than we had realized. As they show Sophia talking to her mother, we are given our first glimpse at one of the world's 40 worst parents.
9:00: The kids all scream "Bonanza City!" and do shots of root beer. Nice. The credits roll to two kids having a wicked bandana slap fight that honestly doesn't look playful or fun at all. It's only harmless because there weren't any baseball bats or tire irons in the Old West. When they cut to commercial, the bandana fight is still going.
9:00: Next week: running! Scheming! Bad parenting! Kids!