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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iKid Nation/i: Bless Us And Keep Us Safe
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Illustration for article titled iKid Nation/i: Bless Us And Keep Us Safe

Hey, children aren't confused enough already, right? Especially kids on a TV show out in a fake frontier town. Clearly the best way to bring them together is to introduce something they weren't thinking about and which wasn't a part of late 19th century America: religious diversity.
But wait… The part of me that immediately thought this was a horrible idea was reversed by the part of me that wants these damn kids to stop being so nice to each other and fight like horrible little brats. It looked like things were going that way at first, with the self-described "Jew Crew" high-fiving in the face of proclamations like, "Christians rule!"
It turns out that these kids are, in fact, more of a microcosm of real American life than I'd previously thought. The intellectual Sophia knows it's a touchy subject, saying "Religion is the main thing that's splitting us up," while the Pentecostal (I think) girl says, "I don't want to be with Jewish people or atheist people or anything like that." Super-smart little Alex wants to focus on the things that each major religion shares. And then Mike, the little tyrant on the town council, speaks for the moral majority: "Everybody shut up!"
And what happens in the end? 80 percent of the kids, at worship time, decide to just do something else. The Hindu kid fascinates a couple of open-minded chums with stories they hadn't heard before. Mostly, everyone sticks to themselves and doesn't think much about God. Huzzah for normalcy!
After the challenge, though, something strange happens: Given the choice between a mini-golf course and a bunch of religious books–a little bit of everything–the kids vote and choose the books. Maybe they're not old enough to like mini-golf yet. This also gives me a little bit of hope: If they take their religions seriously enough, maybe the bloodbath I've been anticipating since this show was announced can happen. (I'm kidding. Sort of. Mostly. But no conflict at all does get a little boring.)
Grade: B-
Stray observations:
— Some of these kids are headed for AA. They know how to drink root beer like shots. They even refer to it as "doing shots."
— Next week could be good. Future sorority girl/trophy wife Taylor is about to get called out for being lazy as hell. Fight! Fight! Fight!
— Producers: Give us more Jared. These little glimpses of amazing nerd-dom are just teases. Follow this kid 24 hours a day with cameras and he'll be the head of his own damn religion soon.
— Kid Nation's second defection: little Cody. A letter from his girlfriend–they're both 9–makes him cry. When he leaves, most of the other kids cry. That damn host hugs him on the way out, which probably makes him wish he'd stayed.

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