Friday, October 12, 2007

Things I've Learned From Kid Nation

Every new season of TV shows begins kind of like a new sports season. You start out with some fresh new blood, and that group slowly whittles down to only the best and brightest. Some shows barely make it through the season and usually find themselves on the chopping blocks come next Spring. Some turn out to be break-out hit sensations that go on to last 10 solid seasons, ending in a "better-late-than-never" sliver screen treatment. Well, rounding out my list of new shows this year that I'm keeping an eye on (along with NBC comedy/drama--or cramedy--Chuck) is the controversial new CBS reality show, Kid Nation.

Now, I know a "Survivor" type show when I see one, and this is definitely not one of them. Sure, it may look like "Survivor with braces", but trust me, there is so much more here than artificially engineered friction among the kid-aged contestants town residents and competitive mini-games physical challenge events. These kids are trying to recreate a better society through their own means and that's no easy task, if you ask me.

So here it is. The list of things I've learned from watching Kid Nation:

- Kids cry. A lot. Judging from the footage, you'd think they're always playing that Bambi's Mom death scene every time they point a camera at these kids. To be fair, I also frequently cried at times when I was younger. But that was because clowns are evil. Also, that Greg guy can be really hurtful sometimes.. Fuck him. That's right, he's on TV now, so I can say whatever I want about him and it's perfectly fine. Like criticizing that YouTube Britney sympathizer chick.

- People who do volunteer work will always do their work more willingly than those that are required to do that type of work. Like when the lower class kids are forced to do their jobs, it feels to them like a bunch of chores to them. But when the upper class team pitches in, they're making a difference for the community. Therefore, if you want to get a bunch of work done, just tell them it's volunteer work for a good cause. That way, they feel good about themselves and you get the job done at little to no cost.

- The kick-ball method of picking teams is the best way to divide people into groups. Like a fantasy-basketball draft ritual, the best people are picked first, leaving the real losers of the bunch to be picked by a random number generator. Oddly enough, these seemingly random divisions usually spawn a healthy amount of rivalry. Which explains why in multiplayer First-Person Shooter games, the people on the red team are usually bitter enemies of the people on the blue team, and vice-versa.

- "Deal with it!" is just about the most effective thing you can shout at people to get things done. In fact, simply yelling out "Quiet!" at the top of your lungs can solve practically any dispute. I think the folks in the Middle East could really learn a thing or two about diplomacy from these brave young souls. Settling their differences, despite the difference in color of their designated teams' neckerchiefs. Just think, someday these kids will be the ones running this country when we're on life support in some hospital. Who am I kidding? Old people run this country, and by that time, it won't matter too much to us who's running what.

- Incentives will only push a person so far, but it's what's in your heart that really determines a person's motivations. Take for example, the $20,000 ($10,000 after taxes) gold star prize that is awarded each episode. Based on the show's current recipients of this honor, it's really more about doing what's right, not about the positive reinforcement that's being shoved down their throats to get them to do shit. It's just like that "Leave Britney Alone" chick, who I hear is getting her own show of some kind. She's doing it because that's what she believes in, no matter how backwards and twisted that may be. Wait a minute.. That's not a chick, that's a dude? No way.

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