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Series / Kid Nation

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Yeah. Me neither, man.
2007 CBS Reality TV show where 40 kids aged 8-15 tried to create a functioning society by themselves in the ghost town of Bonanza City note . Aside from the host intervening by presenting them challenges, there was little interaction between the participants and any adults. The show was very controversial even before it premiered on TV shows (primarily allegations of what appeared to be child labor), and was ultimately canned on May 14, 2008.

It didn't really help that in anticipation of a Season 2, the Grand Finale destroyed the journal and job list so the next group of kids would have to start from scratch (rather than, say, keeping the town and journal as a testament to history).

A similar program, which provoked similar complaints, was produced in the UK in 2009 for Channel 4: Boys And Girls Alone.

This show provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: At varying degrees, depending on which group of kids was in power.
  • An Aesop: The journal often gives the counsel a lesson they have to teach the town in each episode.
  • Animal Lover: Emilie, who was very against killing the chickens for a long time.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Literally. One the showdown rewards was new clothes for the kids in their district colors.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Also, literally. One of the other rewards was a whole truckload of fruit and veggies. There also were food rewards involving pizza, hot cocoa, hot dogs, and burgers.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Alex from Blue District. Was dubbed cute by both the pioneers and the viewers for such classic lines as "Do you think I should trust you with my atlas and my Navajo-English Dictionary?"
  • Big Brother Instinct: Greg, DK, and Blaine were often described as being the "older brother figures" to the younger kids.
  • Berserk Button: Some of the kids weren't too fond of curse words.
  • Blatant Lies: The opening credits inexplicably state outright that there are "no adults" despite Jonathan Karsh's regular appearances, on top of the camera crews and other crew members.
  • Boring, but Practical: The council's reasoning behind most of their reward selections.
  • The Bully: Greg had his moments of filling this Trope.
  • Catchphrase: Taylor. "DEAL WITH IT!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: The microwave the council chose over pizza, to the dismay of many, proved handy for preparing the food for the Bonanza City Bonanza in the finale. Michael also speculated that the library over which the arcade was chosen may have contained books that would have helped with assembling picnic tables.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The four members of the council.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Only chickens.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Jared had moments of going into this trope, but was harmless enough.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: The four districts: Green, Yellow, Red, and Blue.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Cool Big Sis: Sophia and Olivia.
  • The Cutie: Jimmy from the first episode. Mallory and Alex count as well.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Guylan, when he ran for town council and won. He ended up hating it and resigned a few weeks later.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did Colton just play chicken with a wild bull? Yes he did.
  • Disguised in Drag: Both Greg and Blaine did this for the talent show.
  • Don't Split Us Up: Greg is royally upset when Blaine is moved to the yellow district.
  • The Dreaded: When Sophia was appointed Sheriff one kid's reaction was "Someone's gonna die". She actually turned out to be a Reasonable Authority Figure.
    • When Greg, DK, Blaine, and Michael were elected onto Town Council, they were dubbed "The Council of Doom".
  • Drunk on Milk: At the saloon, we see Greg, Blaine, and Sophia chugging root beer. They also made Jägerbomb style drinks with the soda syrup mixed with root beer for the other kids.
  • Election Day Episode: Two to be exact. They had two re-elections for the town council.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When Randi voted for Zach instead of Taylor during the first re-election.
  • Exact Words: After Greg and Blaine overheard the Green district say that they would be better leaders if they just sat in the middle of town complimenting people all day, the next day they got DK, some chairs, and proceeded to do just that. The Green district was not amused.
  • Expy: Jonathan Karsh does his best Jeff Probst impression during the showdowns.
  • Fiery Red Head: Laurel and Sophia.
  • First Snow: Also the only snow that occurred.
  • Free-Range Children: The kids were apparently allowed to explore the land surrounding Bonanza City freely.
  • Gentle Giant: Blaine.
  • Ghost Town: Bonanza City was this, and without the kids, has probably returned to this status.
  • Girl Friday: Leila was often Taylor's right hand girl.
    • Sophia often served as this to Laurel.
  • Girl Posse: Taylor and the girls from Yellow District.
  • Grade-School C.E.O.: Divad and Jared both started their own businesses in town.
  • The Heart: DK, full stop.
    • Michael could also count due to his inspirational speeches.
  • Historical Recreation
  • Homeschooled Kids: Nathan admitted he was homeschooled.
  • Informed Judaism: Jared, Sophia and Eric say that they are Jewish in the religious episode.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Greg was often The Bully but he also had a soft spot for the younger kids.
  • Kid Samurai: Some kids have their moments of bravery or skill: Colton (staring down a bull and WINNING) and Hunter (highlighting his skills with a slingshot during one of the showdowns).
  • Lame Pun Reaction: After Alex and Jared discovered a cow skeleton in the desert, Jared gave this little gem.
    Jared: Pelvis has left the building, Baby!
    Alex: (groan)
    Jared: I know, it's corny.
  • Landslide Election: With Mike on the losing end of it.
  • Little Jimmy: Literally. The first kid to leave Bonanza city was the youngest kid in town and his name was Jimmy.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Olivia had her moments in this trope. Taylor's "DEAL WITH IT" certainly comes to mind. Sophia definitely qualified.
  • Little Professor Dialog: Alex and occasionally Jared.
  • MacGuffin: The gold stars.
  • Morality Pet: The Yellow District (except Taylor) often served as this to Greg. He showed a softer side to them, especially when he saw one of them having a meltdown.
  • Never Land: The Reality Show was based off this trope.
  • Never Split the Party: Laurel decided not to trade any of the Green District members, much to the anger of the other kids since every other district had traded members.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: The kids only left Bonanza if they wanted to go. Surprisingly, only 3 of the 40 kids quit.
  • Noodle Incident: In the first episode, Jared tells Michael that he's not sure if he will participate in the town meeting because "Today has been the worst day in three years," making the viewers wonder what exactly happened to him three years before the show began filming.
  • No-Respect Guy: Anjay. Doesn't seem to do anything blatantly wrong, but his district didn't seem to care for him at all.
    • Nathan counts as well. He didn't do anything to anyone and worked hard, but none of the kids seemed to like him much.
  • Out of Focus: Pharaoh, Maggie, Gianna, Jasmine, and Madison don't get as much screen time as Sophia or Jared. They're hardly shown at all.
  • Preacher's Kid: Hunter. He even ran a small Bible study.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: Divad really liked her potatoes.
  • Small Town Boredom: Sophia seemed to make it her job to find ways to beat this trope.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The show often has uplifting adventurous riff during moments where it seems inappropriate. For example: when the council members are reading about dividing the town into arbitrary teams, which is a transparent attempt to sow discord among the kids.
  • Sore Loser: Taylor, after she lost the re-election for town council.
  • Spoiled Brat: Taylor has been accused of this from her lazy behavior. Whether this is truth or the result of Manipulative Editing is up to the viewer to decide.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: With forty kids, it’s no surprise that some get more attention than others, but the amount of focus on kids such as Greg, Sophia, and Jared can feel a bit much given how other participants are hardly followed at all.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Sophia just about says this verbatim during an interview segment.
  • Talent Contest: In Episode 8, the kids host a non-competitive talent show in the saloon. Participants included Kelsi (who played piano), Jared (who recited a monologue from Henry V by William Shakespeare), and Olivia (who did a stand-up comedy routine).
  • Team Mom: Morgan.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The confrontation between the Green District and Greg, Blaine, and DK seems to fit this trope.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: The kids often accuse Greg of being a bad influence on Blaine.
  • The Trickster: Sophia
  • There Are No Adults: The point of the show.
  • Those Two Guys: Greg and Blaine.