Monty Brinton
Alynda Wheat
September 27, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Kid Nation”: The campers kill for food

Don’t even pretend to look aghast — you knew what this was.

How many times have you heard Kid Nation being compared to Lord of the Flies? What did you think the kids would do without parents keeping them from acting like humans? Did you forget that this show was the lead-in to Criminal Minds? We were implicitly promised blood in this episode, and blood we (very nearly) had. We just didn’t actually see any as the kids took the Colonel’s side in the Hundred Years War between KFC and PETA, and dispatched a few paltry poultry to that great chicken coop in the sky. They needed protein!

Seriously, though, I have to agree with my esteemed colleague Doc Jensen that the chicken murder was so no big deal. The hungry urchins found themselves in the Land Without Lunchables and took matters into their own hands — doing that which most of us have had neither the need nor the will to do. Good for them. But while we’re on the subject of a lack of will, how ’bout that Emilie? Umm?hey, I like food. I’m nowhere close to thin — not even in the Midwest, where I’m from — but are we really supposed to believe that this child ever turned down a chicken wing before she set foot in Bonanza City and got all righteous? I — I’ll stop there.

Anyway, we have something potentially far more serious to discuss: Is Kid Nation stocked with ringers? And if so, is that such a bad thing? Because just when (almost) everyone was on board with chicken soup for dinner, Greg was Johnny-on-the-spot with the butchering skills. What is this, 19th-century London? Who apprentices their kid to a butcher? No, even better, who apprentices their kid to a butcher and a plumber? Because when color war popped up and the kids got another shot at reordering their economic system (communism, I tell you!), it was Greg who somehow had done ”a lot of PVC work.”

Well of course some of the kids have particular specialties. Is it a coincidence that Sophia can organize a kitchen to cook meals for 40? That a sizable number of the K-Townies have farm experience? That Greg has skills beyond bullying? No. That’s called good casting. You may not recognize it, because it doesn’t actually happen in reality TV that often. But I tell you what, it’s the only thing making this show possible. How long do you think a group of drama students, computer geeks, and volleyball stars would last under such conditions, O ye of surplus faith?

So I got no problem with Greg’s suspiciously relevant résumé. And you know what? I got no problem with his blind greed, either. So he’s doing extra work, not because he’s overflowing with the milk of human kindness, as Mike would prefer, but for that ”beautiful, gorgeous” $20K gold star? What do we call someone who puts forth effort (mental or manual) in expectation of material or financial gain? All together now: an employee. Doing extra work in hope of even greater reward? Overtime. If the Townies are so put off by the idea of someone baldly striving for the almighty dollar, man, are they gonna hate growing up.

In the end though, the K-Town council voted its conscience and went with Michael, who always knows the right thing to say — even if that right thing is that Taylor and the rest of her shiftless team need to get off their lazy asses and stop playing the runt card. Besides, I fully support paying Michael off for his ability to bring the town together and motivate. That’s what good CEOs, politicians, and cult leaders do. But it was DK who delivered the line of the night when he told Pageant Princess Taylor to ”fix [her] little disrespectful mouth.” That might just be my new favorite insult. (Capitalist note to self: Whip up ”Fix your little disrespectful mouth!” T-shirts. Use profit to buy couch.)

Next week, though?next week looks rough. All manners of horror creep into Bonanza City: wrath-of-God winds and wrath-of-Greg rage (presumably over not getting compensated for doing what he originally signed up to do for free). This is no good. But I guess you called it when you said introducing the cash reward system would ruin this beautiful little social experiment.

But how do you think it’s going now? Is Greg ever going to get a gold star? Does it matter that he says he wants it for college? Should the kids have stayed vegetarian and let the chickens live? Are we evil for hoping there’s a bloodless coup, busting Pageant Princess Taylor from town council to water girl? Will the green team ever win some dignity? Hollaback.

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