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'Kid Nation' recap: Taylor's new 'ugly equals death' mantra

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Kn_lFrom the desk of Alynda Wheat:

Lazy? You bet. Easy? Like Sunday morning. Pageant Princess Taylor (pictured) makes it so simple for the Nation’s producers and editors, that all they have to do is prop a camera in front of her and she’s Old Faithful, Halley’s Comet, and the flooding of the Nile Delta*—reliably good for an episode.

But they’ve stumbled onto something here: This child has issues. Not just the bossy, stubborn, sit-on-her-pampered-butt dramas we’ve come to know so intimately. Noooo, this is a little girl who justifies murder of the ugly. “Ugly chickens deserve to die!” says, PPT arguing that attractiveness should be a precondition for life. And how, pray tell, do “ugly” humans escape the ax in the Taylor Solution? Mascara. Bottom line, pageants have warped this child’s brain. Go ahead, do your defense of kiddie pimping—how it teaches them self-esteem, how they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t love it, blah, blah, blah. I don’t buy it. Your kid may be fine, but this kid is not. To argue otherwise is just putting lipstick on a pig (and don’t you know she’s tried that already?).

All right, enough of me and my soapbox, because the rest of theepisode was funny as hell. It started with the Nerd Convocation (Tooth,Jared, and Anjay) talkin’ mad smack about bacteria on Mars, andthrowing down Pi digits on each other like so many decimal disses. Mockthem if you must, but one of them is going to invent some sort ofInternet thingie that will make them Google rich, so I’m staying ontheir good side. Like Jared says, “If a person’s not educated they’llbe flipping burgers at the supermarket.” (Hush up with that gigglin’!You know what he meant.)

Then it was onto the reward challenge, where all of you GreenMeanies got schooled. Just accept it: Green is the best district, byfar. They’ve had the most gold-star winners (including this week’sHunter), they’ve got Sophia and Laurel, and they’re the only districtjust-gay-enough to know that learning is funner when you turn it into athree-act play. And oh, for the love of Sondheim, what joy they’d havehad if only they’d had time to make it a musical! (“Bonanza City, it’sa hell of a town, the water tower’s up and the Comanches are down. Thekids are alone, no adults to be found. BC, BC!…”) Green rules.

Unfortunately, so does anarchy. Yes, they’ve picked way too many ofthe responsible rewards over the fun ones, and they were due. But wasthere ever any doubt that once the doors of the arcade were thrownopen, the entire town would lose their minds? I’ll bet that’s whathappened to the original Bonanza City. They got themselves awhorehou—er, “Old West Arcade”—and went completely to seed, just likeCouncilman “I got money on this game!” Blaine. In the end, only theforce of will that is 14-going-on-30 Sophia got him and his surfer hairback on the job. So they made her sheriff.

Let’s pause and give thanks for the look of sheer ecstasy, thetranscendent heavenly glory that lit Sophia from within when she wasappointed the Town Heavy, reminding us of the Beatitudes (Blessed arethe nags, for they shall inherit the big stick.) It was the momentshe’d been waiting for her whole life—to be validated. That kinda joyusually takes a Superbowl win or a very expensive purse (you find yourbliss, I’ll find mine), and it warmed the cockles of my shrinking,grinchy heart.

It was almost as sweet, in fact, as Jared’s desperate, crazy sneakback into the arcade for one last round of Dance Dance Revolution, tolive out his Billy Elliot dreams. It’s cute how he’s so clearly in thewrong district.

*To all you Tooths, Anjays, and Jareds out there: Yes, I’m awarethat since the damming of the Nile, it no longer floods, thus ceasingthe annual torrent of fertile silt so excellent for crops and bad forparquet floors. It’s an expression.