I had rather given up hope that CBS' "Kid Nation" would be anything like I had imagined it - more "Lord of The Flies" and less behind-the-curtain string pulling. Sadly, this is exactly how it is turning out, as the kids consult the magical "old settlers journal" which tells them exactly what they should do to prevent total chaos by allegorically telling them what the settlers of "Bonanza City" did and should have done to prevent disorder. Its a rather lame way of getting the producers to control the kids, but from the looks of it, the kids take the suggestions as if they were commandments from Moses and whip their dusty community into shape.
But let's get something straight here:
Bonanza City was a real town that was founded in 1880 and died out about 5 years later. However most- if not all- of the original buildings were torn down and hardly anything original remains. The town the kids are living in is about as authentic as "Frontierland" at Disneyland.
The "town" is actually a movie set, called "Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch" located about 8 miles South of Santa Fe, NM. It was built in the 1980's, not the 1880's. Some of the films that have been shot there include "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Silverado," "Lonesome Dove" "Young Guns" and "All the Pretty Horses." Its got running water and a full power grid. It can hardly be considered rustic.
I just cant get past the fact that these are supposed to be kids on their own, but they are shadowed continually by a camera crew. Its not even like Big Brother style, with stationary cameras and ambience mics. It looks like the camera guys and sound guys are inches away from them at every turn, documenting every stupid thing they say and do.
Hollywood has always been about suspension of disbelief. And if you believe that CBS would toss 40 kids into the wilderness completely on their own, I've got a great money making opportunity for you based out of Nigeria.
I'm still watching the show, but I am really starting to think about what other things I could be doing with my time when its on. Unless there is some serious plot developments that keep the audience interested, this show will continue its decline into ratings obscurity. And now that New Mexico has removed the loophole that allowed the producers to throw these kids into the environment in the first place, this will probably be the end of the road for the concept.