, or as I’m calling it, The Reality Show I Have On In the Background As I Mostly Watch The Red Sox. Forgive me if I’m not 100 percent engaged by Kid Nation tonight; Red Sox Nation prevails.

[The following contains spoilers for a show you probably aren’t watching.]

Really, there was only one candidate for tonight’s Gold Star and that was Josh Beckett, he of the four-hit, zero-walk Game One shutout of the California Angels (of Anaheim and to a lesser degree of accuracy, of Los Angeles). Unfortunately, Anjay, Mike, Taylor and Laurel saw it a different way.

No, the Bonanza City council — after actually polling the electorate this week — determined that the race came down to three people, none of whom pitched their third career postseason shutout. Weenies.

For the second straight week, a leading candidate was Greg. Sure, the 15-year-old bully led the kids in a night of faux-drunken revelry at the bar and then woke them up the next morning by banging pans and rolling on top of several of the smaller kids. Sure, his relentless obscenities reduced several of the younger kids to tears. But he also, once again, did an entire town’s worth of heavy lifting including leading the charge to restore the town’s outhouses after a storm left bodily waste oozing through the streets. Beauty Queen Taylor remained Strongman Greg’s leading advocate.

There was also a lot of support for Morgan, a leader for the green team. Only the editors know why we hadn’t seen Morgan in the first two weeks, because suddenly she was everywhere — working hard and serving as a den mother for the younger kids. She earned points for standing up to Greg about the swearing (like all bullies, he backed down almost immediately), but I dock her points for the "Oh, everybody deserves a Gold Star, so choose wisely" answer when asked by the council. Always vote for yourself, kid.

Coming in under the radar was little Mallory, perhaps the tiniest kid in the camp, but wise beyond her years (or at least morbidly mature, except for when it comes to swearing). Mallory ran the town store (refusing to let Sophia bargain her into giving away a really ugly bag) and served as a calming influence. You want to know why Mallory won the Gold Star, though? She celebrated her ninth birthday at the camp and the members of the council couldn’t bring themselves to not give her a $20,000 birthday present. It helped that Mallory had the support of her sister Olivia (the Dakota to Mallory’s Elle Fanning).

In addition to the three-way Gold Star battle, the episode’s other drama centered around the increasingly autocratic Taylor, who managed to do my job for me by comparing herself to our current president, while also ignoring the advice of all reasonable advisors, making autocratic governing choices, championing the town bully and celebrating her new-found upper class status by becoming complacent and lazy. Then, when faced with the ire of the community regarding her "Deal with it!" attitude, she burst into beauty queen tears, promised to work harder and earned a standing ovation. For the record, I’d also like to emphasize that Taylor was clearly in the right on the whole "microwave versus pizza" reward debate and that her "Zip It!" sign for everybody to shut up was the episode’s funniest moment before Sophia knocked Jared off of of his rope hammock over the closing credits.

Other quick thoughts:

We assume that Colby’s apparent proximity to the bull was the product of a well-utilized telephoto lense and that he was probably many yards from the beast he was staring down, right? He’s a wild one that Colby.

  • TBS needs to stop running the baseball promos starring Dane Cook. It takes a lot to make me hate the greatest game in the world, but Dane Cook may be the man to do it.
  • Is it cute or sad that Taylor appears to actually believe that the journal the town council reads from was really written by genuine 19th century pioneers? And how ridiculous and contrived was it that the morning after a rowdy all-night party, they got to read an entry on law and order and the importance of curfews? Though for all the discussion of law and order, I half expected this week’s reward to be four six-shooters for the council to keep down the rebel element.
  • Yes, it’s good that the editors can always count on Jared and Sophia and one or two other kids to give good cut-away quotes, but I was just glancing on the CBS press site and they have images of around 20 kids who haven’t been seen or heard yet. Their parents must be really angry.
  • Is it odd that we had a revolt against Taylor this week, while Anjay continues to be carried by Greg and Blaine? His leadership in this week’s showdown was yelling "Run, you idiots!"

    Thoughts on Josh Beckett, Big Papi and Youk? Or on Kid Nation?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg