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Nerd Alert: Blessed are the geeks, for they rule 'Kid Nation'

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Alex_l

Alex_lZzzzzzzzz, hmm? What? Sorry, y’all, between the near-snoozefest that was last night’s episode, and the half-bottle of red wine I’ve downed, I’m halfway to my beauty sleep. Lemme explain, because I don’t usually drink on the job. (Well, not this job.) But I’m in New York this week, hanging with my EW colleagues at HQ, and alcohol is something of a necessity—not so that I can deal with them, mind you, but so that they can handle me. (After 11 weeks of Nation building with me, I’m sure you can empathize.)

Anyway, with but one episode left, the Nation delivers a truly sad entry. There were only three things we took away:

1. The town council is irrelevant. With the elder boys off in the wilderness getting a lesson on the difference between igloos and teepees (hint: one’s frozen), Sheriff Sophia took control. And damned if she didn’t run that place—singlehandedly—better than any four on the council. Not that everyone was rooting for her. “We didn’t elect her!” they shouted. “Nobody would’ve voted her in,” offered Olivia, in a snotty tone we thought she reserved for Anjay (and clearly missing the realization that the feeling was probably mutual). But Sophia tamed the beasts, got them to do dishes, and opened the arcade on time. She even had that fabulous sense of drama and staging to make the arcade-opening announcement Evita-like, from the balcony. Always make sure the little people know they’re little, honey.

addCredit(“Kid Nation: Monty Brinton”)

2. Nominating oneself for gold stardom is a seriously heinous idea.Bad enough when Jared did it, excruciating when Zach—our sweet, belovedboy—pulled the same move moments later. It’s not that neither of themhas a point—Zach, especially, is overdue for some recognition. It’sjust that it put them in the position of genuflecting before lessermortals for what should’ve already been theirs. Essentially, it wasbeneath them. And for Zach, the humiliation of Greg’s dismissal wasalmost too much to bear, even for a cold-hearted snake (she don’t playby rules) like me. BUT! How brilliant was it when DK called Greg outfor his phony condescension to Zach? Some days I wonder whether DK’s onthe side of right. Last night I wondered no more.

3. Nerds rule.Whether it was Tooth id’ing a femur by its ball and socket joint,Jared’s scary comprehension of the Homestead Act, or their mutualregret that they didn’t have the means to carbon date a dead cow, thenerds stepped up as the most delightful denizens of Bonanza. Then, asif we even needed it, Jared dropped the now-classic “Pelvis hasleft the building!” Even better: He had the comedic sense to know itwas corny. You’re all so right, they should totally get their own show!Only without the dimmer bulbs among the rest of the kids acting ascounterpoints, such a show might just be an endless string of Pi dissesand cellular debate. Sigh…it’s what Tooth would call a paradox. He isso very wise, that little gold star winner. And he’s probably rightabout hanging onto it—from what I hear gold’s rising.

Butbetween this penultimate episode and the pretty, pretty monument Sophiasooooo wanted to pick (alas, a good leader knows when to appease theunwashed masses and give ’em the damned balloons), we have to startthinking about the L word. Not Jennifer Beals nekkid (though I admitshe’s totally smokin’), no I mean legacy. What are we to take away from our glorious 40 days in Kid Nation?I know, you’re getting weepy just thinking about it. Me too. But in theend it can’t just be about the kids we liked, the ones we barely met,and the whipping post we totally used for cathartic rage release(thanks, Pageant Princess Taylor!). We have to answer the question: Didthe kids create a better society? By this time next week, we’ll know.