September 28, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Kid Nation

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
Reality TV

A ”Kid Nation” Face-off

Love It
Now that we’ve all seen the sweet, energetic Kid Nation premiere, let’s stop being offended (faux-fended?) by the ”child abuse.” We’ve got 40 kids, just being themselves. Is this parental exploitation? Only if you apply that same standard to plays, pageants, and overenthusiastic T-ball leagues. The network, directors, and weird host Jonathan Karsh may all have ulterior motives, but the kids don’t. They just want to hunt jackrabbits and skip showering and eat candy and yell really loud all day and, for once, have a say in what happens to them. Tell me, cynics: What’s not to love about that? —Whitney Pastorek

Loathe It
Who is this ultracontrived child-empowerment propaganda meant for, other than kids looking for backup in their argument that they’re old enough to decide to eat ice cream for breakfast? Kids can’t do anything they put their minds to, nor should they be made to. Plus, a child-size sadism hangs over the kids-are-people-too-scape: Cameramen gleefully zoom in on a homesick, weeping 8-year-old when they should be giving him a cookie, and Karsh tells the kids that at any time they can ”give up and go home.” He had to stick ”give up” in there, didn’t he? Well, I give up too. —Josh Wolk

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