Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kid Nation-Who (the f*ck) is Guylan?

A few years back, I guess it was sophomore year, still stinging from the fact that Arnold whatever was my governor and that, hope against hope ,GWeeB had been re-elected I was thinking about starting a club-Duke Students United Against Democracy, or DSUAD (pronounced dissuade) to give other angry students a place to think up alternatives. Actually no, I didn't have a course of action for the club I just liked the name, so it was a good thing I got lazy (or drunk) and never actually called a meeting because with all of the leftists and people dissatisfied with democracy on a college campus I probably would have ended up with a lot of people there, just sitting around. With nothing to discuss besides our motto, which would probably have been that great Homer Simpson quote "When will people learn? Democracy doesn't work!"

I said all that because after last night's episode of Kid Nation I'm not sure I like it anymore. I had really forgotten how obnoxious kids can be at times. And Olivia was such a b-i-t-c-h. I can see her in a few years totally being a mean girl. So this episode was all about democracy and electing new council members. I was kind of worried that kids on the Greens (easily my favorite group) would decide to run against Laurel for no other reason than they had an opportunity, and that team is loaded with leaders, but quite happily they all recognized she's the best of the Council members and so she ran unopposed. She was the only one however. As expected Zach ran against Taylor and as much as I thought I liked that kid he kind of annoyed me this episode, not because I love Taylor but rather he was being so political- like practicing his speech and strategizing about needing to get a girl vote from Taylor and going up to hold out votes and telling them he's not asking them to vote for him, even though he was (i think he said Iif you want to vote for Taylor because she wakes you up late that's fine). The one thing I can say about Taylor is she didn't play that game- either she's so oblivious or has such high self esteem or she just doesn't care what people thought about her but her strategy was simply to have her girlfriends draw up posters with overlong slogans (Vote For Taylor, She's Not a Failure something something.) that ended with the hated phrase Deal With It which alienated as many voters as it may have won with her obvious "staying of the course." Anjay, the leader who's just kind of "there" is an easily frustrated and stressed kid, and Olivia decided to run against him. She told him while Anjay was doing something and refused to look at her, with like his back turned and she said something like " Hi Anjay I wanted you to know I'm running against you" in that kind of protobitchy lilt that junior high girls can affect. I think she decided to run against him because he woke her up to go do work. I'm not sure. The whole rest of the episode Anjay was just frazzled and so nervous and at one point while cooking someone asked him about Olivia a conversation which he immediately cut short with "Don't talk to me about Olivia while I'm holding [this knife]." I was certain he would lose- he projected no confidence.
But the just bizarre subplot of the episode was Guylan, a kid I had never seen or maybe just never noticed, deciding to run against Mike for the Reds. Mike was shocked because he didn't see any leadership qualites in Guylan (who at first I wasn't sure was a girl or a boy) a kid who had been homeschooled and decided just to run because he wanted to be a leader and was not, as he told Mike during a conversation frail and fragile. His campaign speech was less than inspiring.
When the posters were hung Markelle from the Reds read Taylor's and then tore it down and hopped up and down on it with a pogo stick. I kept wondering where the hell they got pogo sticks from, if I had missed that challenge but I couldn't remember. A crowd of kids were trying to get him to stop it including Anjay who pleaded for him to stop it saying something along the lines of "is this what bonanza city has become? tearing down people's posters? that's what happens in the real world-we don't want the real world!" it was well said, but it didn't stop Markelle from ripping the poster into pieces which lead the maker of the poster, one of the younger kids, a blonde white girl from getting into the face of Markelle, a bigger black kid (who I was really scared was going to hit the girl), and it was at that moment when I felt Dr. King's dream had finally been realized, when a black boy could disrespect a white girl and not get lynched. He was quite lucky Bonannza City isn't the real world. So she went crying to her cabin and Grege played big brother, which impressed Taylor.
Anyway the challenge was to hit pinatas to find pictures of US presidents, which the team leader would have to put in chronological order. Yellow won because Zach studied his presidents (which did not impress Kelsey who opined that just because someone is smart doesn't mean they make a good leader. Look at George Bush) Taylor knew who is president now but didn't know who came immediately before him, which I laughed at but then realized she was like 3 when Bill Clinton left office. Green came in a close second because they screwed up the order (and some of these were quite hard with like those obscure 19th century presidents that I'm not sure if I could have gotten them.) I think Blue was cooks and Red, workers (though I may be reversing that) but they all did it in enough time to win the reward. And this part was brilliant. The choices were a "presidential barbeque" with like cheesburgers and hot dogs or dental hygiene equipment. The kids when they saw the barbeque were literally salivating and had to hold each other back from rushing it with excitement. They were animals. But the council did the "responsible" thing and got the toothbrushes even though Anjay and Mike wanted the meat to appease their teams who looked very very pissed when the results were announced (a comment overheard in the crowd : "i'm a man I need meat.") Guylan, in his wealth of experience said to the camera "if i was on that council, i would have gotten the meat" to which I said out loud "how?" was he going to do it by force or what?
So I guess the Town meeting came next and the first order of business was the gold star which they gave to Greg who got quite emotional because it would allow him to go to college which he didn't think he could've done before because he had saved no money for college (to which I tried to remember if at 15 I had any money or was even thinking about college.) Then came the election. Anjay somehow won with a few votes to spare, which shocked me. And he tried to give a conciliatory acceptance speech where he applauded Olivia for her campaign and promised to listen to her more (as she chirped back: No you won't.) The Red vote was next and this is when I stopped liking the show. The adult read the ballots off one by one, Survivor style, and after the first vote for Mike everyone else on the Reds voted for Guylan and as each vote was read off Mike started crying more and more and it was so sad as his head fell into his hands. (and I know it is a tv show and they have to do it onscreen and in public for drama but that is so humiliating for a kid to see that no one likes you.) But I was trying to think, as Mike asked the crowd what he had done wrong and I couldn't think of anything. I always thought he was the second best council member- he tried hard and really seemed to want to lead and his district was usually in the upper ranks of their society. I feel so bad for Mike- there was nothing more he could have done or anything he could have done to change minds. I guess the kids just wanted a change and so they voted en masse for Guylan, who I decided is the Barack Obama of Bonanza City a young, unproven, inexperienced candidate who just represents something different. And I'm glad that he's gaining confidence and becoming a leader and developing as a person but...(his acceptance comment to camera was something like "I'm going to take the problems of this city and kick their butts.)
The Yellow vote was a lot closer than I had thought. I assumed that Zach would rout but Taylor's girl bloc actually delivered and it was tied with one vote to go, which went to Zach and was delivered by the girl he approached on the street. As he won he went to the front and thrust his fist in the air and shouted Viva la Revolucion! and I just rolled my eyes. It was just kind of a moment of "really? really? is that what this is? how old are you?"
At was at this point I vowed to never watch again. Though of course I'll forget all about that unpleasantness next week (until I have to see Guylan as a Council member. I am a horribly sore loser.)

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