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For an hour, we watched Greg keep the community afloat by slaughtering, plucking and butchering two chickens (leading to their best meal in a week) and then lead his team to a challenge victory and upper class status with his PVC skills. Last week, Greg was a bully but this week he seemed to be a jack of all trades (and, actually, master of one or two). As explained to us by superfluous host Jonathan, gold stars are meant to go to the person who worked hardest in camp.

gals to swoon with his David Cassidy hair. It isn’t that Michael hasn’t been working hard, but I get the feeling he’ll work hard again next week and the week after. Greg? All indications are that he’s going to respond very poorly to his denial of the big prize. That proves he’s a little bit of a problem child — the kind who might need to get positive feedback rather than fall victim to petty vendettas — but it doesn’t prove that he didn’t deserve the star this week.

Speaking of democracy, the most important question somebody needs to ask, is how do they replace members of the town council? Since we never saw how any of them were selected and since Taylor has proven to be an ineffectual leader for Yellow, why can’t they hold a revote and select Zach (or somebody we haven’t met) as their new council person? And, for that matter, does anybody know what Anjay is doing for the Blue team? I guess in the Old West, somebody probably would have shot a lily-livered sheriff or a corrupt town official in the back, but that’s the sort of thing that SAG and child advocacy groups frown on.

Most of Wednesday’s episode was actually unbearable. It’s not that I require that the show maintain any sort of Old West accuracy, but producers could have come up with better contrivances. The chance to win a TV last week was silly, but the 45-foot water slide this week was actually far worse. I also can’t abide by the fake settler diary that the council goes to every week like it’s a holy tome, a sacred text that provides the kids with crucial information like noting of chickens "The truth is, they’re good for more than eggs." Would these kids never have realized that the chickens in their hutch were (with the addition of an ample portion of sawdust) the same chicken as in McNuggets?

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Other thoughts on this week’s episode:

  • I wasn’t disturbed by anything last week, but I did have some concerns regarding the conditions this episode, particularly the possibility that they wouldn’t have been able to get water because the pipes were frozen. Then again, they all had very thick jackets, so it wasn’t like they were crawling inside gutted tauntauns to keep warm. A bigger issue came up when Emilie was mulling over leaving early and she said, "When my mom told me to come here, she said to be a rough-and-tough cowgirl." A mother telling a 9-year-old girl to man-up and go on a CBS reality show is of questionable parental fitness, don’t you think?
  • There were more ads this week than last week, but I still saw an awful lot of local spots and also weird specialty meds like the anti-smoking Chantix and one of those disgusting Mucinex commercials where the guy dislodges the talking snot.
  • If there are 39 kids (We miss you, Jimmy!!!) in Bonanza City, why does the camera keep going back to the same ones? Through two episodes, we’ve actually spent time with a maximum of 10 kids and that’s including the bizarre bonus time with Mallory’s stuffed pet grooming facility. That’s a fault of casting.
  • What are these kids doing with their days anyway? Breakfast and soda drinking appear to be the major activities in Bonanza City. That seems neither fun nor challenging.

    So, did anybody come back for this week’s episode? Would you have given the star to Greg or to Michael?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg