Zach_kidnation_240_2Golly, world. It took less than a half-hour on Wednesday (Oct. 10) night’s Kid Nation for the 39 remaining children to solve all of humanity’s spiritual differences, proving that all we need to end war and bloodshed is the incentive of a $20,000 gold star.

Nobel prizes have been given for less profound realizations.

[The following recap contains spoilers for a show nobody’s really paying any attention to.]

We’re just over 10 days into life in Bonanza City and you’ll notice that the kids are onto the producers. Look at the way the townspeople rolled their eyes when the council told them they’d been reading from the fake pioneer diary. In almost no time, they’ve realized that that darned diary is a troublemaker.

This week’s entry cautioned the council that while it was important to nourish their bodies, nourishing their spirit was equally important. The diary warned that the reason Bonanza City failed was because of the lack of faith. Last week, if you’ll recall, Bonanza City failed because of the lack of law and order. If the scenes from next week’s episode are any indication, we’re on the verge of discovering that the reason Bonanza City failed was lack of properly instituted democracy.

Won’t somebody please tell these poor kids that the real reason the town collapsed was syphilis? That would make for an interesting episode.

Morgan_kidnation_240Anyway, the members of the council decided that the best approach to religion would be to have a all-faith service where any kid who wanted to express their beliefs could do so, in the spirit of enlightenment and whatnot. Based on the uproar, you’d have though the council had dared suggest that SpongeBob SquarePants doesn’t really live in a pineapple under the sea. The ignorance wasn’t hostile, but it was loud. Certainly the prize went to Olivia, who said that because she’s proud to be a Christian and she doesn’t plan on changing her religion, she didn’t want to have to hear anything from anybody else. The Pentecostal girl said that she likes praying with other Pentecostals and not with Jews or Muslims. For good measure, at least one Jewish kid said that people are most comfortable observing with their own kind.

It turns out that what the kids really resented, all of them, was having religion forced on them by Yappy Taylor and her Council Posse. While nobody attended the original multi-faith services, Morgan went door to door kindly telling people she was holding a vigil and attendance was strong. Not only did people show up, but they even let self-described Progressive Jew Zach sing a few words of "Adon Olam" without any noticeable flinching. For her trouble, Morgan won the Gold Star this week, which means that CBS gave primetime airing to a game show in which spreading the world of the Lord to underaged kids earned a $20,000 reward. Try to remember this, conservative activists, when CBS programs Swingtown for midseason.

Oh and after successfully completing a challenge that involved church-raising, the kids were offered a choice of rewards: Either a mini-golf course or a collection of religious tomes. And the kids chose the Holy Books. Try to remember this, conservative activists, when complaining about the weekly sexual torture of women on Criminal Minds. Actually, maybe you’re right on that one.

Cody_kidnation_240The week’s other major development was the departure of a second kid from their dystopic enclave. Little Cody followed in the footsteps of Little Jimmy in bidding a tear-filled farewell to all of his friends. He will also, for better or worse, be remembered as the nine-year-old who cried on national TV about missing his girlfriend. I offer no commentary on that, except for to note that Cody left his BFF Campbell crying alone in his root beer. At what age is "Bros before Hos" taught in our public schools?

I eagerly anticipate next week, because it’s time for the Yellow Team to take Taylor down.

Other thoughts on this week’s episode:

  • New favorite kid? Unquestionably Alex, the nine-year-old who attempted to inspire unity by doing a survey of town religions.
  • Favorite Taylor line: "If y’all don’t like our food, y’all can just starve yourselves, because too bad."
  • Favorite Jared line: "I am not the kind of person that does the cheering stuff. I meditate."

    Anybody still watching? Any thoughts about the way the show handled the sticky topic of religion this week?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg