Official CBS Episode Recap
Recap: (cut and pasted from the CBS version with my own twist) Welcome to Bonanza City, a mining town that failed in the 1880s. In the next 40 days, 40 new pioneers will attempt to rebuild the town. But these pioneers are all children.
These kids are dropped off by a school bus. Yes, a school bus. These 36 kids from across America, range in age from 8 to 15. They're greeted by their host as the bus drives away and told of what their new life will be like. He assures these kids that they will have support in teh form of a four-member Town Council. The Town Council arrives via helicopter and they are:
- - 11-year-old Mike, a capable Boy Scout
- 10-year-old Taylor, a competitive pageant queen
- 12-year-old Anjay, a smart spelling bee champ
- 12-year-old Laurel, a respected student leader
Most of the kids aren't impressed by these leaders, neither were I really, and you know they're gonna butt heads. Our host points the kids to a group of wagons with the supplies they’ll need for the next 40 days. Bonanza City is several miles away, and they’ll have to haul everything to town themselves. Before they leave, he pulls the Council Leaders aside and tells the Council that, when they arrive in town, they should head to the Chapel to find an old book that may provide some useful advice. He also reveals to them about the "Gold Star" that is worth $20,000 to whatever kid they award it to.
The Kids begin their grueling hike across the hot desert, pulling the heavy wagons filled with 40 days’ worth of pioneer supplies and managing their goats and chickens. Greg, who I loathed in this episode, questions Mike's authority from the get-go. Honestly, I seemed to agree with him, but still. He didn't have to be that annoying. Greg did prove to be a good guy because he helped DK up off the ground when he got leg cramps from working (city kid!).
The kids arrive at Bonanza City and are stunned by how barren it is. I was stunned myself. There is electricity there so they do have some comforts that will keep them from burning the place down. Their bunk houses contained no beds. I didn't expect that. Figured they'd at least have something.
After they arrived, the Council decided that it would be best to cook because everyone was hungry. It was total chaos. Nobody knew how to cook, but everyone wanted their hands into it. "Too many cooks in the kitchen" kind of thing. They did find an old cookbook and were able to light the stove. They tried to cook mac and cheese, but over-filled the pot and wasted a lot. Thankfully, Sophia took over and dumped the mess. She got the kids some food together and they had a decent dinner.
After dinner, they were going to have a meeting, but everyone decided to head to bed. Laurel, the cry-baby-pagent-queen, was crying in her bunk and I really wish she'd go home.
The next day, Sophia is in charge of breakfast again since everyone knows she can cook and they work on pancakes for breakfast. The rule was one pancake per kid, but the orders weren't followed and some of the younger kids and cooks didn't get any food. Sophia yelled at everyone and started an argument (I really dislike her attitude). They Council tries to take control for a meeting and Greg tells Mike that he needs to take control. This starts a brief "I'm bigger than you moment," but it's Michael that gets everyone to shut their mouths when they start their meeting. He's the man that really rocks right now. He's totally sincere about this gig. He stands up and implores the Kids to give their leaders a chance. The Kids cheer Michael’s words and carry out the rest of the meeting in order. The Council is impressed by Michael’s leadership and takes note of him as a possible Gold Star candidate.
Eventualy, the Council Members make it to the Chapel and find the old book that our host told them about; it’s a "Pioneer Journal," which explains what went wrong with Bonanza City back in the 1880s and offers "advice to future generations."
The journal tells the Council to divide the town into four more manageable Districts:
- - Anjay picks many of the older kids, including Greg, for his Blue District.
- Laurel chooses the kids she feels are emerging as leaders, like Sophia and Michael, to make up her Green District.
- Taylor takes many of the younger kids, to whom she can relate, for her Yellow District.
- Mike picks the kids he gets along with best, like super-smart Jared and charismatic DK, for his Red District.
The four districts branch off into their colored bunk houses and Laurel discovers Jimmy crying and being homesick. He's a cute kid and she reassures him a bit. Taylor makes a visit to the goat pen, petting the animals to help her through her homesickness. I want her to LEAVE.
The thing that makes me dislike Greg so much is that he and Blaine tag the town with "Go Blue." Don't get me wrong. I love blue. It's my favorite color, but that was disrespectful. Mike also believed the older boys were responsible and was determined to teach them a lesson.
The pioneers gathered around the chapel where the host is ringing the bell for the first challenge. Here's where the four classes of pioneer living come into play: Upper Class, Merchants, Cooks, and Laborers. Each District will be responsible for chores related to their specific Class and will be paid accordingly in buffalo nickels.
- - The Laborers will clean the outhouse, pick up garbage and haul water for the entire town, for the pay of just two buffalo nickels.
- The Cooks will be paid twenty-five cents each to cook for the town, do dishes and care for the town livestock.
- The Merchants will be paid fifty cents each to run a grocery store, dry goods store and a saloon that sells soda for a nickel.
- The Upper Class gets an entire dollar and can do whatever they choose.
Every three days the Kids will determine their class in true Wild West fashion: with a Showdown. The kids are greeted at their very first Showdown that concerns teamwork and leadership. The goal of that showdown was to collect water using a giant pump that looked a lot like an old oil well. You had to fill the gigantic bottle with water that was your district's color. The leaders had maps and had to lead their team to victory. They had to pump up the water, catch it in the bucket, and fill up their bottles. The goal of the showdown was to place the kids into their classes, but if they all finished, they would be given a prize that can benefit the city. Winners were:
- - Upper Class: Mike's red district
- Merchants: Anjay's blue district
- Cooks: Taylor's yellow district
- Laborers: Laurel's green district
I hated that Laurel's team got last place, because Sophia was in there and she was the cook.
The rewards: A television set or seven additional outhouses.
For a pioneer city, that's a great thing. The council decided to go with the outhouses for good reasons. They figured that the kids would sit around and do nothing with the TV and they NEEDED the outhouses.
That next morning, the kids woke to their new jobs. The yellow district was in charge of the kitchen and were actually able to put together a good breakfast for everyone. Even Sophia was impressed. Unfortunately, because of Taylor and her “I’m a beauty queen. I don’t do dishes" attitude, the real work after is not being done. I LOATHE her. She reminds me of some people I used to know. The blue kids, on the other hand, were great shop keepers. The Red kids blew most of their money that first day on candy and root beer. The poor green kids hauled water and cleaned outhouses for ten damn cents. Poor things. Though Sophia did dance in the street until she collected three dollars for a bike. It was sweet of the other kids to give her the money. I remember her mentioning that Olivia gave her a nickel for her to dance further away from her bunk. Lol.
So later that evening, they tried to decide who to give the gold star to: “head chef” Sophia or “peacemaker” Michael. Both are hard workers and have displayed leadership skills that are invaluable for the young town. Instead of deciding, they delayed their decision until the council meeting.
To make Jimmy feel better about being in Bonanza City, Cody and Campbell decided to take Jimmy jackrabbit hunting. “Dude, you’re already going jackrabbit hunting with ten-year-olds.” That cracked me up.
When they got the Town Hall meeting that day, it was, of course, Sophia who raised her hand when asked if anyone was unhappy with the Town Council. “What makes me unhappy is that a lot of people are unwilling to the dirty work.” Sophia is, of course, referring to the Yellow District’s refusal to do any of the dishes. Taylor, as expected, defends her District with one of the most idiotic lines, "We're the youngest district!" Seriously. You picked all the young kids. Deal with it. She did say that while it may take a long time, the Yellow District will eventually wash all the dishes. As before, Michael again acts as peacemaker, breaking the tension in the Town Hall. He tactfully urged the Council Members to take responsibility for the workers in their districts, but to be their friends, not their bosses.
Our dear host then brings up the next question: does any one of them want to go home? They are free to leave Town if they want to, but this decision is irreversible. Taylor admitted that she was homesick, but she has come to view the other Kids as family and intends to stick it out in Bonanza City. They need every kid. In the end, it was Jimmy who raised his hand. Everyone tried to convince him to stay, but he couldn't be swayed.
Once Jimmy is gone, the gold star is awarded and it goes to Sophia for her hard work. It is also announced that the Gold Star is worth $20,000 (which I think should've waited until the end of the show). Of course, this means that Sophia changes her attitude ("I'm so sorry for being bossy.") and promises to be a better member of the community. She is also presented with a key to the room with the only phone in town and she's able to call her mom about the $20,000 gift.
The Town is now full of buzz about the Gold Star as Kids congratulate Sophia and ask to hold this giant golden star. Some hope for a Gold Star themselves and Greg vows to get one, whatever it takes.
So, as Laurel asserts: “We can make this a Kid Nation!”
Whew-Yah. Cheated a bit and copy-pasted most of the rundown from CBS so I wouldn't miss anything. I watched Episode 2 today, but don't have enough time to summarize it. I'll do that later. Probably when I get back from Mom and Dad's. If you like what you've ready, seriously, watch the show on Wednesday nights (8/7cst).
As I said, wasn't a big fan of Greg, Sophia, or Taylor. They irked me. Liked Laurel. Mike was okay. He reminded me of someone I know. Loved episode two. Can't wait for episode three next week! YAY!