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Kid Nation: CBS

"Kid Nation is hardly the first TV program (or group of stage parents) to exploit kids in dubious fashion. Indeed, at times the criticism became so shrill and myopic as to nearly engender sympathy for CBS. Yet if this doesn’t qualify as a crime against television, nobody associated with it — from the producers to CBS — merits anything close to a Gold Star." (Variety) "Kid Nation raises questions, but whether children as young as 8 should be separated from their parents and made to work long hours is not one of them. The real puzzle is whether the carefully selected bright little faces can really be considered children — essentially, they are child actors with an usually demanding first gig. And even that is questionable — is making pancakes and pulling wagons any worse or different than posing for hours on end for a United Colors of Benetton ad? If any more $20,000 stars are handed out, it might actually be more lucrative." (NY Times) "It’s a good kid show, but frankly, as an adult I’ll lose interest faster than it took these kids to make gourmet biscuits and grits. Now if I were 11 that would be a whole other story." (NY Post) "In the end, though, it was just an average reality show, yet one that deserves another look, especially for families searching for something to watch together." (NY Daily News) "Television has been exploiting children virtually since it began; a pioneering TV personality named Art Linkletter made hay and plenty of dough proving that Kids Say the Darndest Things by interviewing tots and toddlers on his program. The latest chapter in the saga is a long way from the relative innocence of those early days: an appalling monstrosity called Kid Nation, unveiled on CBS last night amid a flurry of hype and controversy." (Washington Post) "The appeal of the series is rooted in the fact that adults habitually underestimate the sophistication of children, while children don’t recognize the degree to which their sophistication is tempered by inexperience. Whatever else it is, or may be, it is adorable; to the extent that it’s disturbing onscreen, it’ll be an 8 p.m. on CBS kind of disturbing: revolution will not be televised. This isn’t The Lord of the Flies — for better or worse, just offscreen, the grown-ups are still in charge." (LA Times) "Despite the fact that it’s all manufactured, the show still unfolded poorly. The kids blurred together, for the most part. And the producers failed to choose especially articulate children, generally speaking, so the confessional interviews weren’t compelling. In fact, they were silly. Rather than analysis, the kids deliver flat lines to the camera such as "It’s tough work but it has to be done" or "I personally think this is gross." (Boston Globe) "Part of the fun of any reality show is having a laugh at the adults who participate. But even though Kid Nation presents its players as smart, spunky and resourceful, it’s not very amusing to see them get teary over missing their moms or to watch them being edited into the familiar stereotypes — the bully, the earnest leader, the class clown — that populate reality TV." (Detroit Free Press) "With the popularity of reality series on the wane, Kid Nation was the last shameful series. And it wasn’t even fun to watch. If only the kids of Kid Nation had been left alone they could have come up with a better show than this." (Toronto Star)

To see a preview clip of Kid Nation, check out B&C’s video section.