Fancast Fall Coverage: Kid Nation

by | September 20, 2007 at 1:09 PM | General

The kids of Kid Nation

For cast information, episode and channel listings, video footage, recommendations and more check out the:
Fancast Info Page for Kid Nation

On An All New Episode
Forty days, forty kids ages (8-15), no adults and an attempt to establish and maintain a functioning society from the ground up in a deserted Wild West town. With the parallels to Lord of the Flies and Deadwood, it’s a premise that should appeal to even the most ardent Reality TV haters.

The town operates under only one form of social structure. There are four leaders, each in charge their own 10-man-district. The four districts compete in a competition (the first involved drilling for water) for the assignment of jobs.

First place are the ‘upper class,’ paid $1 and without responsibility. Second place become merchants, operating a saloon, grocery store and dry goods shop for 50 cents. Third place will work as cooks getting paid 25 cents and fourth place is designated the toughest job of general laborer, making only 10 cents.

Outside of that, there appear to be absolutely no rules. Kids cry, kids eat candy and kids take shots of root beer. It’s the wild west.

Best Character – Unidentified
Having only been introduced to a handful of the characters, it’s impossible to determine who’s the best of the bunch. Personally, I’m holding out hope that a young Al Swearengen will distance himself from the pack, take over the saloon and be running the town by the fifteenth day..

Here are some characteristics to look for in the best character:

“Why do today what someone else will do tomorrow?”
While it’s vital to avoid the appearance of laziness, this is a 40 day marathon, not a one week sprint. Given the oppressive conditions it’s imperative to conserve your physical and mental energy.

“The real money’s in commerce.”
Secure the job of merchant under any and all circumstances.

The upper class won’t last a week before the entire town resents them for the fact they get paid the most for doing nothing. At the same time, being a laborer must be avoided at all costs. Feet to the fire, the upper class can always go Marxist and distribute their wages to appease the masses. The laborers have no outs and given their horrendous responsibilities, they’ll probably be dying to go home after ten days.

While the cooks control the food, they are paid poorly, have to do dishes and receive no financial compensation for their goods. Unlike a merchant, they can’t withhold assets or gauge prices without causing a violent uprising.

On the other hand, with control over the essential items, the merchants are in charge of all the town’s commerce. As the days go on and things become scarce, the economic structure of the town will be in their complete control.

“Don’t forget to tip your waters”
Bribery is essential. A good dictator needs to understand the fact that they must placate the lower class. Not so much that the balance of power will be shifted, but enough that those cleaning the toilets and doing the manual labor don’t start slacking off.

“Every town needs a good saloon.”
Control of the saloon is huge. For starters, because it’s filled with perishable goods, it probably has better heating than anywhere else. And if it’s a well crafted saloon, it’s likely got places to sleep. Given the condition of the bunks, setting up camp in the saloon should be the key to a comfortable stay.

Best Quotes
“I feel like I am surrounded by dumb people.”
-Sophia

“He’s just trying to be a leader y’all!”
-Mike

DVR Factor
Season Pass – Low Priority – Save Until Space Needed

The first episode didn’t have much of the social intrigue that would put it over the top, dealing more with melodramatic conflicts and homesickness. So while it’s yet to be seen whether Kid Nation can tap the full potential of its premise, the hope is that once they settle into their jobs, the ball will start rolling.

Still, there’s plenty to like (of the guilty pleasure variety). Some of the kids are genuinely funny. Certain moments, for example, the kids first attempt at cooking pasta or one kid’s rationale for choosing a TV instead of seven outhouses (“If a tornado comes we won’t know about it cause we don’t have TV!”) shatter the unintentional comedy scale.

Even if it ends up being nothing more than mindless fun, Kid Nation is still good for a chuckle and worth a watch if nothing else is on.

Critical Reaction

The Good
Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, Time

The Bad
USA Today, Variety, Boston Globe, Washington Post