Thursday, November 08, 2007

In Defense of "Kid Nation".

I've always had a love|hate relationship with reality shows. Mostly because i feel most of them are scripted and fake and have very little to do with actual reality. A few of the creativity based ones are ok like Project Runway and Top Chef. The contestants are actually learning valuable skills to help them succeed after the show is over. But shit like The Bachelor? or any show where men/women are competing to snag other men/women? ridiculous and a waste of television air time. Or even Big Brother/Real World type shit. Why should I care about their lives?

So here comes Kid Nation. The premise is hokey and contrived (40 kids live "alone" in a desert and join together to "re-build" a "ghost town" called Bonanza). I used so may quotations because 1, they are not alone...there are plenty of adults around off-camera; and 2, the town is a just a set. But forget all that; these are real kids. With real emotions. And real talents/skills. They range in age from 8 to 16. And yes, they are getting a stipend to participate in the show (5 grand) but that doesn't change the fact that they are leaving their families behind for 40 days. some of these kids had never been away from home before (and they have the option to go home at any time) They have to cook, clean, manage a store, govern/lead each other, entertain each other...Shit is real for them.

Even before the show started airing, media and parents were screaming "EXPLOITATION!!!". Please. There is absolutely nothing exploitative about this show. I watch it with my children every week and they get so much out of it. it has given them an entirely different attitude towards work, it creates many teaching moments about teamwork, tolerance. they adore those kids.

yes the kids are getting what? do you think that children who are actors are being exploited? and what's even more interesting about some people's complaints is that they wish the kids actually were completely on their own with no adult supervision at all!!! THAT would exploitative. you basically want to tune in each week to see a bunch of kids kill each other and starve to death? They are in a controlled environment, forming bonds, learning the value of hard work, learning important lessons about leadership and personal responsibility. all of those things will impact them far more than a couple of rootbeer shots for the camera.

as pampered, lazy, fat and apathetic as American children are these days, i can't believe that so many people are hissy fitting about 40 kids leaving their televisions, imacs, ipods and nannies behind for a month. These children are NOT being abused. There are plenty of adults there, they are just off camera. There is an entire camera crew, a medical staff, counsellors etc. For anyone to assume otherwise is just pure ignorance.

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