Taylor_donkey_kidnationWednesday (Nov. 28) was the last night of November sweeps and so Kid Nation pulled out all the stops in the only way it knows how. That meant lots and lots and lots of misbehavior from Taylor, followed by a redemption we can expect to last at least a few hours.

[Oooh. I’m gonna spoil the Gold Star winner! Watch out!]

Although she was plenty bratty last week, the past few weeks had been relatively lite on everybody’s favorite pre-teen terror, so Wednesday’s episode was all about Taylor. It was so dominated by the pageant queen that when it came time for the town council to give out this week’s Gold Star, the producers hadn’t even bothered to set up any possibilities. The Star basically went to the most deserving person who hadn’t received it previously. And no, that doesn’t mean Taylor.

This week’s high points:

KFUC. That’d be "Kentucky Fried Ugly Chicken." The episode began with Taylor and willing henchwoman Leila playing with the chickens, though Taylor quickly made it clear that not all poultry are created equal, saying "I think all the ugly animals should die and all the pretty ones should stay." I wonder if Mama Taylor and Papa Taylor encouraged Little Taylor to believe in selective breeding from a young age, or if it’s a conclusion she came to all on her own.

In any case, Taylor’s ideology ran afoul — Or should I say "A-fowl"? [No, I shouldn’t] — of Sophia’s dreams of a chicken holocaust. Or at least a chicken dinner for the entire town. Although Taylor threw her body in front of the chickens, she relented when Greg told her she could pick which chickens got to live and which got to die. This was very much like Sophie’s Choice only without Meryl Streep speaking Polish.

But imagine if a scene in Sophie’s Choice had featured the heroine cradling one of her kids and cooing, "I’m not going to eat you. I’m going to eat your brothers and sisters. They’re better… To eat." Because that’s what Taylor did.

I wasn’t sure how much I liked Kid Nation in its first couple weeks, but how can you not love a show that features a 10-year-old girl running into a coop yelling, "Ugly chickens prepare to die!"

But things got better.

Taylor_kidnation_240Taylor don’t need no education. After a thoroughly brilliant scene in which Alex, Anjay and Jared discussed pi, the town council went off to see what complications the Pioneer Diary wanted to present this week. Given that it too nearly 20 days before the Pioneer Diary suggested they brush their teeth, it wasn’t a big surprise that the text got around to mentioning school and education after 31 days in the wilderness. They were given four instructional manuals and told to educate their districts.

While Jared was pleased enough to say, "Education is the root of civilization," Taylor countered with "I hate school and I hate reading."

And, "I don’t like the learning part, I just like the recess part."

And, when the council instructed her that if she didn’t study, she couldn’t partake in reward, she added "People stop criticizing me. I can do what I want, so don’t tell me what to do."

Everybody else studied after a fashion, though the Green District — which does absolutely everything better than everybody else — probably was more impressive with their elaborate stage productions based on the reading.

Pop Quiz, Hotshot. Everybody had anticipated that the Showdown would involve knowledge, but when Boring Host Man said that it would literally be a "Pop" quiz, the kids from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit and several other regions starting thinking it had something to do with soft drinks. No, like all fine trivia games not involving beer, it revolved around slingshots. Not only was Green best prepared, but they were able to take advantage of Hunter’s truly awesome slingshooting. They won and the town got reward — either a library or a video arcade. Although Taylor was not-so-secretly rooting for the library, the council finally went with the fun option and reminded Taylor that she wouldn’t be allowed inside.

"If I ever try to go to that arcade and someone tries to kick me out, they’re gonna get backslapped or kicked really hard," Taylor replied.

Friends, either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are unaware of the caliber of DISASTER indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community. The arcade, a free game parlor, really was kinda awesome with pool, poker cards and chips, air hockey and oodles of machines. Soon, kids were ditching work and sneaking into the hall, never mind gettin’ dandelions pulled or the screen door patched or the beefsteak pounded

This would have been the perfect time for Sophia to attempt to mount a brass band. Instead, my favorite Pioneer — "I’m a 30 year-old trapped in the body of 14 year old" — bought up all the books from the general store, threw together a teepee and started her own library.

With a Capital T that rhymes with P and that stands for Taylor. No work and no play make Taylor something something. Go crazy? No more than usual.

Coaxed out of pouting by Zach and given hope of reward by Blaine and Greg, Taylor set to a task with an effort that can only be described as Taylor-esque.

"I really want people’s respect and I really wanna get in that arcade, so I’m gonna wash those dishes like they’ve never been washed before," she announced. "I’m gonna scrub ’em like I scrub my hair."

Taylor was joined in the home stretch by Greg Hunter, who possesses Nathan’s work ethic without Nathan’s scariness. By the time she was done, everybody was impressed and Greg carried her into the arcade, where she was instantly lost in child-like glee.

Hunter_kidnation_240Gold Star. Gee. Could the Gold Star possibly go to Hunter? Yup. That’s six Gold Stars for Green. It appears that Campbell, Eric and Savannah are the only Greenies without a Gold Star. Oh and Jimmy. We miss you, Jimmy!

Respect Sophia’s authority! At the Town Hall Meeting, the council decided that there had to be limitations put on the arcade. They agreed to padlock the doors and they appointed Sophia to be in charge. I’m not saying that Sophia’s extra power might go to her head, but she instantly started firing her finger six-guns in the air and told the camera, "Clint Eastwood, eat your heart out." Sounds like a recipe for a great episode next week.

What’d you think of this week’s adventures in Bonanza City?

Posted by:Daniel Fienberg