"It's Just Ludicrous, All That Controversy"
Recapping a reality show is always a bit dicey because you're making fun of actual people, who just might send you irate emails. But try recapping a reality show about actual people's kids. Fortunately, the only email I've gotten so far from aKid Nation parent is from Lori, who is very nice. She also has at least one great kid: Lori's daughter is Sophia, she of the cooking and the sheriffing and the social experiments and the dancing for the bicycle. Naturally, I asked for an interview with both of them. It seemed like a good idea to have Sophia's mom on the phone as well, not only to get her perspective, but to prevent people from bitching at me the way they did at CBS for separating them. An edited version of our conversation follows, because if I don't edit myself I sound like a moron.
M. Giant: Sophia, how did you end up on the show?
Sophia: I was first contacted through a summer camp I went to at Emory University, and then proceeded with an auditioning process.
Lori: It was a gifted program. Jared came from the same program. As did Kelsey, and a bunch of kids. It's this summer institute for the gifted that they have at a bunch of major universities around the country and that was one of the places that CBS went looking for kids to audition.
Sophia: I actually remember Jared [from the original program]. I never talked to him because he seemed so weird. And then later I recognized him immediately.
MG: "Oh, yeah, that guy."
Sophia: Yeah, right [laughs].
MG: I understand they're casting for a second season. What advice would you give kids trying to get onto the show, and if they get on the show, what would you advise them to do?
Sophia: Um, try not to make an ass of yourself.
MG: Where did you first meet everyone? We first saw you guys on the school bus in the first episode, but did you all meet at the airport or what?
Sophia: We saw each other. We were actually hanging out in a hotel for a few days beforehand, but it was a really weird experience because we couldn't talk to each other. It was a whole sort of secret agent thing because you had, like, the CBS people kind of watching you, talking into walkie-talkies.
Lori: This was the audition process?
Sophia: No, even the day before when we were meeting up. We couldn't speak to each other until the cameras were on in the school bus. That made it all the more interesting because all you knew about the kids was the impressions that you had gotten based off their physical appearance. Which, [who knew] how right or wrong you were, you know?