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The 'Nation': Taking off the Kid Gloves

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Okay, so I’m late! Sorry, PopWatchers, it being a holiday and all, I got a little behind. But! There is decent news: Because it’s a holiday, I’m at home with the family, which means that for the first time ever I watched Kid Nation with actual kids! My brothers Christopher (14) and Nicholas (12) have never seen the Nation before (I know! It’s so cute!), nor have they ever read these posts (I know! I feel so defeated!), so they’ll provide unbiased, unfiltered commentary.

Mainly Nicholas wants to know things like “Why is it called Bonanza City?” (Me: “I don’t know.”) Or “How much does the stuff in the stores cost?” (Me: “Why does that matter?!”) “Well, if you sell stuff in the stores do you get the money, plus your salary? Because then why would you want to be upper class if you could just get the money from the stuff you sell? Because you could make more that way.” (Me: “What? No, you can’t keep the money, that’s the store’s profit, you only get the…[insert boring 40-second lecture on capitalism here.]) [Insert brother’s and-why-are-we-related-again? stare here.]

Christopher, on the other hand, is more of an acerbic, almost snarky, viewer of the scene. (I have NO IDEA where he gets that from.) He sat silent as Guylan made his best decision yet, asking the red district to vote him off the Council, then watched as the rest of the incumbents — including Good Laurel Hunting — went with him. But when Greg opened his mouth (“I know half you guys are thinking, ‘Oh my God, Bonanza City is gonna burn”), Christopher did the same: “That’s what I think. These kids are out of their minds.”

Kinda yes, little brother! That’s the beauty of the Nation! It’s a place where the normally solid Laurel spazzes after her election loss, and suddenly reveals she has serious control issues. This is a town where the government — or at least the militant wing known as Greg and Blaine — spies on its citizens, then uses the ill-gotten intel as a big stick against the very people they’re meant to represent. (Heyyyy, that sounds eerily familiar). It’s a land where there are new bosses every couple of weeks, and they all have insane, unworkable ideas about how to communicate with their plebes. (Again with the uncomfortable sense of recognition.) It’s the sort of “authentic” “Old West” experience into which my brother can parachute, check out Blaine and Greg for half an episode, then ask in utter befuddlement, “How did THEY get gold stars?!” I have no words, my brother. I have no words.

By the end, Christopher and Nicholas — along with the new Council — had lost all innocence. They’d seen what a problem the Pageant Princess still was. They could not believe how off the Council leaders were in putting together their communication timelines (Christopher: “Did that Greg guy just put television first??”). They even soured on love. Because when Good Laurel Hunting took home the Most Inevitable and Well-Deserved Gold Star Win in the History of Bonanza City, and Greg wanted a little squeeze, Nicholas popped up to offer his heartfelt benediction: “Oh sure, hug for the cameras.”

Awww… we are related!

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