Skip to Content
reality TV reviews, news, and analysis since 2000

Kid Nation cast kills two chickens at the suggestion of the manipulative producers

Kid Nation took precisely one episode to take the producers’ relatively subtle guidance into what came off as outright exploitation. On the second episode, which aired last night, the fake “journal” of the fake “settlers,” which is really just a way for the producers to inject artificial drama into kids’ already dramatic lives, suggested that they kill some of their chickens to eat.

On the one hand, nearly all the kids raised their hands during a town meeting when asked by another kid if they ate meat regularly, and introducing them to the reality of their food source isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even though most adults probably have never actually watched their dinner get killed.

On the other, the kids appeared to be eating (presumably frozen) hash brown patties at breakfast one morning, so it’s not like the producers aren’t providing them with the food they need to stay healthy. Worse, this came after the kids were given jobs by the producers that included caring for the livestock. Here, kids, fall in love with the animals, and then watch as someone else chops your friend’s head off and serves it to you for dinner.

The show seemed dead-set on illustrating the reality of dinner to its audience–again, maybe that’s good–and while a brief disclaimer showed up on screen, it was still pretty unexpectedly graphic, as the editors included everything except the actual head chop: the dead chickens’ heads sitting on a stump, their headless bodies running and thrashing around, and the plucking of feathers and gutting of guts.

Perhaps the most disturbing moment, though, came at the end, when Emilie–the primary chicken murder objector, who at first threatened to leave and leater locked herself in the chicken coop with two other kids to protect the chickens–told us why she’d decided to stay. “When my mom told me to come here, she said to be a rough-and-tough cowgirl, so I’m going to stay.” In other words, I don’t want to disappoint my mom who forced me into this situation I hate.

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More great stories

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion: your turn

I think of writing about television as the start of a conversation, and I value your contributions to that conversation. We’ve created a community that connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

To share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space, I’ve created these rules for commenting here. By commenting below, you confirm that you’ve read and agree to those rules.

Happy discussing!