Oh, Kid Nation, one week you offer a glimmer of hope, the next a lesson in why you should be 30 minutes instead of 60. Don't you know you're on the T.V. Club chopping-block shortlist? Why you gotta treat me so boring sometimes?
The title of this week's episode offers an easy target for potential Kid haters: "Starved For Entertainment" refers to the fact that the kids are bored, but it also provides a perfect summation of this episode, one of the least entertaining of the season. The kids have been in Bonanza for 23 days at this point, and they don't have anything to do. (Nevermind the fact that if they were really doing all the work necessary to keep themselves alive, they'd be plenty busy.) So what does the ancient wisdom of 1885 instruct them to do (via meticulously calligraphied notes beamed through time)? Have a talent show.
Okay, I'll admit, there's some cable-access potential in a bunch of children acting goofy, and the actual portion of tonight's show dedicated to the talent show was pretty entertaining, especially Olivia, whose stand-up comedy surpasses Neil Hamburger's in terms of badness. ("I could make up a million jokes about Greg and Blaine, but look at them! They are the joke!") Jared reciting Shakespeare was also pretty funny, but at the same time you could imagine him reciting it before he drills a hole in your brain and keeps you as a pet. Blaine and Greg, the two older toughs, dressed in drag a bit, too. Outrage!
But that was about it for good times. Again this week: Tons of new faces who hadn't spoken yet. (Aside: New York magazine posted a Kid Nation drinking game that involved downing one every time a kid who hasn't spoken before shows up.) One of those, super-nerd-girl Kennedy, goes on to win the award. Two more, Migle and Natasha, are known to the other townies as Paris and Nicole, because they don't do any work.
But then, sigh, they do some work. And there's lots of feeling good about each other. And then it occurs to me: I'm planning on watching through the end of the season to see who wins–and there's no competition. Sure, there will be losers: Grade-grubber Divad won't get the gold star, I won't get back 40 hours of my life, host Jonathan Karsh will never fulfill his fantasy of hosting a revamped Supermarket Sweep. (Okay, I made that last one up.) Sure, kids at home might learn to be a little nicer to each other, but we adults are just getting diminishing returns. Maybe they know they're teetering, since the teaser for next week has Greg saying, "Anjay, I will hit you in the face." Fine, I'll watch it.
-- If Savannah is so Goddamn cute, how come they've never shown her before?
-- When will we see Sophia's dark side?
-- I believe this week's episode marked the first time the kids didn't get the "big reward," which was an easy choice: paint or an "all-night block party." Neither, suckers!