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Series / Kid Nation

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2007 CBS Reality TV show where 40 kids aged 8-15 tried to create a functioning society by themselves. 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 (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 town 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).


This show provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: At varying degrees, depending on which group of kids was in power.
  • 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?"
  • 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.
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  • Boring, but Practical: The council's reasoning behind most of their reward selections.
  • The Bully: Greg had his moments of filling this Trope.
  • Catch Phrase: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • First Snow: Also the only snow that occurred.
  • Free-Range Children: The kids were apparently allowed to explore the land surrounding Bonanza City freely.
  • Ghost Town: Bonanza City was this, and without the kids, has probably returned to this status.
  • Girl Posse: Taylor and the girls from Yellow District.
  • Grade-School C.E.O.: Divad and Jared both started their own businesses in town.
  • Historical Recreation
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Greg was often The Bully but he also had a soft spot for the younger kids.
  • Kid Samurai: YMMV, but 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).
  • 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.
  • Never Land: The Reality Show was based off this trope.
  • 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.
  • Preacher's Kid: Hunter. He even ran a small Bible study.
  • Small Town Boredom: Sophia seemed to make it her job to find ways to beat this trope.
  • Spoiled Brat: Taylor has been accused of this from her lazy behavior. Whether this is truth or the result Manipulative Editing is up to the viewer to decide.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The confrontation between the Green District and Greg, Blaine, and DK seems to fit this trope.
  • The Trickster: Sophia
  • There Are No Adults: The point of the show.
  • Vagabond Buddies: Greg and Blaine. YMMV.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: But what do you expect with 40 kids?
  • Wild Teen Party: A couple of them happened at the town saloon. Similar atmosphere in the arcade.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years
  • Workaholic: Nathan.


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