Top 10 2007: TV

2007 was a surprisingly good year for television up until November. The strike, that I totally support, cut short what was surely the best season of TV since the debuts of Lost and Desperate Housewives three years ago. Old favorites were finding new energy, second seasons were topping the first, and there were new shows that were actually exciting to see unfold. Here are my top 10 of 2007.

10. America's Next Top Model (The CW)
9. Chuck (NBC)
8. Project Runway (Bravo)
7. Desperate Housewives (ABC)
6. The Real World (MTV)
5. Reaper (The CW)
4. Kid Nation (CBS)
3. The Office (NBC)
2. 30 Rock (NBC)
1. Lost (ABC)

Okay, I feel somewhat nasty about having four reality shows in my top 10, but I don't have HBO or Showtime, have never watched any FX series, and Heroes blows so I guess I have to let them slide in there. Come on, there's no shame in loving Project Runway, even in a season that is so far less-than-stellar (it's good, yeah, but I'm expecting it'll get better towards the middle of the season). The Real World has certainly exploded since the middle of its season. A pregnancy scare, birds of death, Trisha being sent home, and Cohutta's increasingly enjoyable take on the world has made this the most consistently enjoyable season of The Real World in years. America's Next Top Model is trashy but fun and you all know how much I love Kid Nation.

Of the new scripted series debuting this year, two share a premise (average joe works in crappy retail job and fights forces of evil) and both are doing quite well. Granted I haven't seen Chuck since Bryce returned from the grave, but up until then it has managed to find a distinct voice and tell an ongoing storyline. Reaper has drawn harsh criticism for it's escaped-soul-of-the-week formula, but most of that comes from the let down critics are feeling after seeing a truly spectacular pilot. Reaper's first episode introduced me to the world with such fanfare and made me really care for every single character. Really, I think about the Reaper kids often and worry about their well-being. No new show since Lost has made me care for characters like this and the friendship between Sam, Sock and Ben is the best one on television. Reaper is truly Buffy the Vampire Slayer in season one and it is a world-changing catastrophe away from becoming the next great TV show.

No top ten list is complete without The Office and 30 Rock and both shows deserve every mention. The Office continues to defy sitcom traps by putting The Couple together and having them get even more interesting. They broke up Dwight and Angela, strategically shifting the "will they/won't they" tension elsewhere while providing amazing and touching comedic moments (Dwight's farm). And outdoing Dunder-Mifflin, an almost impossible task, is 30 Rock. The show has hit the kind of stride that defines shows and builds a legend. And believe me, 30 Rock is on the verge of being legendary. Every episode is so expertly paced and every actor is so in tune with their character (and has been since surprisingly early in the first season) that every episode plays out like a well orchestrated cavalcade of comedic chaos. Laughs come from all angles and Emmy award winning performances are made every time a new person comes on screen (Jack's therapy session with Tracy, come ON!). Whereas Arrested Development became increasingly insular as its genius increased, 30 Rock still feels open to new viewers and it's that "everyone's invited" vibe that really makes it stand out. So often 'intelligent' comedy is viewed as harsh and closed off. 30 Rock is smart but still so accessible.

Lastly, those two shows that reenergized primetime TV three years ago have been enjoying stellar seasons. Desperate Housewives found sure footing by making sure that the leads all, you know, act like friends again. My main complaint years ago with this show was how it felt like four seperate shows crammed into an hour. Season four has been entertaining. But it is nothing compared to Lost, which once again blew away all competition with it's daring season three finale. I can't really write much about Lost. It's a television revolution in storytelling and character development, especially since it's better than ever as season four starts at the end of January. When all is said and done, if Lost doesn't lose the plot, we may be watching the best television show to ever air. That's how important this show feels right now. This is the Beatles in 1966.

Yay television!


The 100 Film Initiative

Being a TV enthusiast (I even majored in television), my knowledge of the film world has been lacking. In 2007, I decided to change this by watching 100 movies for the first time. Sadly, work, TV (both on cable and on DVD) and improv kept me from completing my goal. But can anyone scoff at seeing 80 movies in a year? Yes, some of you can. But for me, a movie every 4.5 days is a mighty accomplishment. This year has had its ups and downs, and here they are in order of least favorite to most favorite.

And for all you year-end list enthusiasts, my 2007 films will be in gold.

80. Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem
79. Transformers
When seeing utter crap like Aliens vs. Predator and Alvin & The Chipmunks, this stinkbomb was used as the measuring device. AVP-R was determined to be worse because whereas some creativity was used to make Transformers, none was used in AVP-R (although both had about the same amount of subtlety and class). A&tC was deemed better because it...well...didn't offend me as much. But really, I can't think of a worse time I've had in a theater during a movie that should have been all out stupid/glorious fun. The plot wasn't there, the acting was horrible, the humor disturbing, everything about it aside from the special effects was a misfire.
78. Zoo
77. Brick
Pretty painful to get through. I don't really enjoy noir to begin with, but I tend to enjoy anachronistic storytelling means re-imagined in high schools. And I would have enjoyed this more...if anyone in the movie had been at all believable as human beings existing on the planet earth anytime in the last decade. The script was 100% 1940s-derived, and if there's one thing I hate in movies, it's characters acting in ways you know they really never would (like Melinda & Melinda's world where everyone is a jazz enthusiast).
76. Battle Royale
75. Alvin & The Chipmunks
74. Melinda & Melinda
73. Bad Boys
72. Fire In The Sky
71. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
70. Trekkies 2
69. The Howling
68. Unbreakable
67. Starwoids
66. Die Hard 2: Die Harder
65. Beverly Hills Cop
64. Grindhouse
This would have been higher if there wasn't a good 30 minutes of Death Proof where I wanted to drive a car through the theater and murder people to make up for the lack of it on screen. Really, I don't care about 1960s garage rock bands and John Hughes references when Kurt Russell kills people with his car. Give me more car killings!
63. Strangers With Candy
62. Interstella 5555
61. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
60. Superman
Really underwhelming, especially considering the two decades of hype I've had stuffed in my brain. Slow, bordering on boring, and a totally laughable time-reversal at the end.
59. Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
58. Thank You For Smoking
57. Zach Galifianakis: Live
56. The Graduate
55. Cars
54. Singing In The Rain
53. Hairspray
52. Polyester
51. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
50. Night & Fog
49. Stripes
48. Matchstick Men
47. The Elephant Man
46. Barton Fink
45. Bottle Rocket
44. Super Size Me
43. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
42. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
41. Sid & Nancy
40. Dan In Real Life
39. Walk The Line
38. Pulp Fiction
37. Capturing the Friedmans
36. Grey Gardens
35. The Celluloid Closet
34. This Is Spinal Tap
33. Deliverance
32. Die Hard With A Vengeance
Isn't this movie awesome? I've started to appreciate movies more if they utilize Manhattan as a setting well. Plus Sam Jackson being angry never gets old.
31. The Big Lebowski
30. The Comedians Of Comedy
29. The Birdcage
28. Jesus Camp
Scary, both because of the intense subject matter and the memories it brings back of my childhood. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen.
27. United 93
26. Little Miss Sunshine
25. Rear Window
24. Waiting for Guffman
23. Amelie
22. Wet Hot American Summer
21. In & Out
20. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
19. The Darjeeling Limited
Did a movie polarize critics more than this one this year? People either Beatles-loved it or Limp Bizkit-hated it. I quite enjoyed it, if I do say so myself. It was entertaining, touching, funny, and I enjoy being manipulated by slow motion and old songs, especially if that old song is a Kinks one. I guess Wes Anderson's shtick is getting old to some people, but I think it worked long enough to make me a fan of this film.
18. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
17. Superbad
16. Die Hard
15. Adaptation
14. Inherit The Wind
13. Stranger Than Fiction
12. Citizen Ruth
11. Crash
10. Match Point
9. Coal Miner's Daughter
8. American Beauty
7. Children Of Men
6. Harold and Maude
5. Spider-Man 3
4. Fargo
3. DiG!
I don't even know how to describe this documentary. I know that watching a film about the struggling careers of two feuding 90s indie bands (The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre) doesn't sound interesting to people who aren't familiar with either of those two bands, but I truly feel that the storytelling created through the editing and the characters captured so brutally real that they transcend the bias of fandom and speak on a purely thematic level powerful enough to appeal to anyone who enjoys rock and roll music.
2. Juno
This may be the first non-comic and non-Star Wars related film to actually make me giddy while watching it. This is what real people sound like. They speak with distinct voices full of their own slang and inside jokes. And the way Diablo Cody made every character three dimensional and even relatable is awe-inspiring. I hope that I can do that one day. Ellen Page deserves an Oscar and Michael Cera is gunning for one two.
1. Hot Fuzz
Okay, I was pretty giddy when I watched Shaun of the Dead because of the distinct new voice I was hearing. The boys Pegg and Wright hit another home run, topping Shaun by making a movie that I know was as much fun to create as it is to watch. And that's what I appreciate. Every detail in the story, every line, just everything, is fun a thousand times over without ever devolving into retardo-silliness. If I had it my way, these guys would make every movie to come out from now on. I'd love to see them do Transformers 2.


X15: Favorite Covers 90-81

X15 is a series of blog posts celebrating the 15 years of x-fandom I have experienced. From the 15th anniversary of first seeing the X-Men in Fox's animated series (late October 1992) to the 15th anniversary of my first comic book purchase (January 1993), I will explore every facet of Professor Charles Xavier's gifted youngsters.

Covers 100-91

90. New Mutants #87
Rob Liefeld, March 1990

89. X-Factor (volume 3) #16
Pablo Raimondi, April 2007

88. X-Factor #97
Jan Duursema, December 1993
87. Generation X #4
Chris Bachalo, February 1995

86. Uncanny X-Men #281
Whilce Portacio, September 1991

85. X-Force #48
Adam Pollina, November 1995

84. Generation X #1
Chris Bachalo, November 1994

83. Deadpool (volume 3) #32
Pete Woods, September 1999

82. X-Force #65
Adam Pollina, April 1997
81. Exiles #3
Mike McKone, September 2001


Top 10 2007: Songs

TOP 10 SONGS OF 2007

10. Oasis "Lord Don't Slow Me Down"

The single from the DVD of the same name, "Lord Don't Slow Me Down" shows that Oasis still has life left in them and a whole new sound for which to fiddle with. Most people know Oasis as fourth-rate Beatles, but lately they've been working a lot more Kinks and Rolling Stones influence into their material. The result is darn near perfect, since the attitude and swagger of Oasis fits more with dirty blues than meticulous pop.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Sealings"

This song from the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack is full of so much overwrought emotion, much like the movie. The guitar riff in the song sounds so thick and strong, and Karen O's voice is powerful.

8. Lil Mama "Lip Gloss"

Is this the best mainstream single of 2007? Yes (I didn't hear "Umbrella" until August or later, so whatever to that song). The beat is as perfectly executed as successfully skipping school and the bravado Lil Mama spits is as strong as a linebacker.

The video is here, since it's not embeddable.

7. The Futureheads "Broke Up The Time"

Aaahhh I love the Futureheads! This song is so exciting! Aaahh! And coming off of News & Tributes which was accurately described by the band as the "moody second album," this is a raucous reassurance that the third album is going to be explosive!

6. M.I.A. "Paper Planes"

This is such a cool song. It's so laid back and effortless, and proves just how innovative M.I.A. is. Mixing this mid-90s West side groove with the chorus of "Rump Shaker" with gun fire and cash register ka-chings is unlike anything else I've heard this year and it is so M.I.A.

5. Of Montreal "Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse"

Of Montreal released the most infectiously pop-tastic concept album about falling into the pits of depression this year, and "Heimdalsgate" was a great single from it. Not to mention a video indicative of the over-the-top and fantastical stage show they have started to put on this year. Except Barnes keeps his wang in check, unlike earlier this year in Las Vegas.

4. The Hives "Tick Tick Boom"

I nearly died when I finally saw the Hives this year, first from excitement and second from the crazy crowd. They released one of the most rip roaring kick ass singles I've ever heard. I mean, listen to those CHORDS. They're so SIMPLE but so EFFECTIVE! The shear power the Hives manage to put behind their songs is what differentiates them from every other punk band that has existed. They back their songs with smarts, cockiness, and amazing musicianship. They are the tightest band performing right now.

3. Apples in Stereo "Energy"

This was the year of the Apples. They released a new album after a five year hiatus that reaffirmed their position as indie rock royalty. "Energy" is such an uplifting song, the simplicity in the lyrics make them universal and thus so personal. The Apples can get away with the elementary because of the earnestness Robert Schneider feels for what he's singing.

2. Feist "1234"

Okay, I guess this is the best mainstream single of 2007. From out of nowhere that Canadian chick who sings with Broken Social Scene (now that's one inaccessible band) got in an iPod commercial, a springboard that launched her to SNL and The Today Show. And with this song, she deserved it. It's so classic, already, sounding like it existed long before it was released. The buildup in it is perfect, starting with a simple acoustic strum to a full blown banjo-riffic closer. And the lyrics, much like "Energy", are both simple and tear jerkingly effective.

1. The Go! Team "Grip Like A Vice"

Since I first heard this song back in June, it's been a winner. The spiky guitars, the MIDI hand claps that are faster than humanly possible, the dynamic keyboards, the booming double bass drums, and the sampled rap parts from 80s super MCs Sha-Rock and Lisa Lee that tear through the cacophony with such a solid delivery up until the song explodes at the end. It's the perfect song, an adventure for your ears. Watching a YouTube video doesn't do it justice, so buy the album Proof of Youth. It might be my album of the year....maybe.

(a.k.a. top 10 songs I heard for the first time this year)

10. Joy Division "Interzone" 1979
I got pretty upset towards the end of this year and figured out why Joy Division are so popular. This is the catchiest (is that word applicable?) of the bunch.

9. Led Zeppelin "Immigrant Song" 1970

Would you believe that I never owned a Led Zeppelin song before I bought this one on iTunes after hearing it played at UCB every Friday night during my internship? Yep.

8. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich "Hold Tight" 1966

A good song from the bad half of Grindhouse.

7. Camera Obscura "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" 2006

Adorable video and breezy pop that I'm a sucker for.

6. The Blow "Parentheses" 2006

I saw The Blow open for the Apples in Stereo last year and they put on one of the most entertaining shows I've ever seen. It's just one girl, alone, singing and dancing with all her heart and having way too much fun while her "bandmate" sits off stage and plays the tracks on his Mac book. It was awesome.

5. Electric Light Orchestra "Turn To Stone" 1977

Another song played at UCB often. I started listening to ELO because Rob Schneider said they influenced the new Apples record. Guess what? They totally did.

4. Jonathan Fire*Eater "When the Curtain Calls For You" 1997

Angular and spastic indie rock pretty much a decade before it was hip.

3. T.I. "What You Know" 2006

One of the best rap songs of all time. The beat is seriously epic. I think of Lord of the Rings when I hear this song, that's how epic it sounds.

2. The Kinks "This Time Tomorrow" 1970

I'm so glad they have the part of Darjeeling Limited this song is featured in. It's where I first heard the song and it goes so well with it (I think it starts cutting to other footage a ways into the clip, so it's not totally faithful). I had written off the Kinks past 1969, but this track from 1970 proved to me that their genius extended a couple albums past Arthur.

1. The Buzzcocks "Ever Fallen In Love?" 1979

Just watch it. This song is a classic through and through and has stood the test of time and will, forever, until music becomes an instantaneous emotion downloaded into your brain.



Vince Guaraldi Trio "Christmas Time Is Here"

The Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping"

Brenda Lee "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

Stan Francis "Jingle, Jingle, Jingle"

Burl Ives "A Holly Jolly Christmas"

Andy Williams "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Boris Karloff "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

Bing Crosby "White Christmas"

Alvin & The Chipmunks "The Chipmunk Song"


TV: Kid Nation "We've All Decided To Go Mad!"

And that's it. The show that I anxiously waited all summer for and was continuously enthralled by week after week during what has been one of the more turbulent television seasons has come to a close. It didn't revolutionize the genre, destroy ratings, or become a cultural touchstone. It might not even come back for another season. But what it did do was captivate me and make me write a couple thousand words on a blog. Yes, the formulaic and pre-scripted aspects of the show (including the horrendously ridiculous challenges) were always laughable and deplorable. But where this show succeeded is where reality television as a genre succeeds; seeing real people interact in real ways with other people, seeing them grow and triumph, fail and laugh, seeing all of that with wit and emotion that can't be faked is what made this show so pleasing.

The final episode was pretty good. A bit of a let down because the only real drama was from a slumber party misunderstanding. The average nature of the episode didn't keep me from choking up and, yeah, maybe tearing up a lot. Zach winning his gold star, the kids meeting up with their parents, my heart strings are about 8 feet long after being tugged so much. So, on with the blog. I usually profile the kids that stand out in the episode, but this time I'm going to profile all 37 remaining kids. Most of them for the first time since almost half of them did absolutely nothing worth showing on TV. That's what you get when you have to compete with Jared.

Here we go, in alphabetical order.

Alex first caught my attention in episode 4 ("Bless Us & Keep Us Safe") when he took a poll of everyone's religion, dropping spiritual words on people that they had never heard of (I don't think Kelsey ever recovered from trying to figure out what 'hindu' meant). Since then he has been a source of amusement and amazement. His nerdiness never ceased to be entertaining and his odd tooth kept on perplexing me. Alex didn't do much in the final episode, but he did walk away from this experience with a gold star and a reality show pilot with Jared, if CBS listens to my mindthoughts.

You know, Anjay is a good kid. He was obviously way over his head when he was on the council and he did get flummoxed every time Olivia opened her mouth, but I think Anjay is going to be all right. He's kind, fair, and really tries hard. His admission last episode that Bonanza was the only place he's ever felt in really got to me, which makes me wonder how kids at his school are going to treat him when he goes back. Hang in there, Anjay. You survived Greg on the council, you can survive anything.

Wow. Who'da thunk that Greg's lackey would end up both on the council and a gold star winner? I don't even think Blaine said anything for the first seven episodes outside of agreeing with Greg. Still, towards the end he started admitting that Greg is looney tunes and, even though he has no grasp on anything other than Tony Hawk video games, he is probably a good dude. I bet he'll totally bail Greg out of jail in a couple years time. He'll do him a solid.

I know, there was a kid on this show named Brett? You would think an 11 year old with a mohawk, an earring and emo glasses would get screen time. I remember Brett for two things: he really wanted the TV in the first episode and ate a whole lot of candy in the last episode. Bookends. Kid, a mohawk does not make for good TV. Knowing way too much about subatomic teleportation does. You should have hung out with Jared more.

The littlest of the green district, as far as I can tell. Campbell didn't get much to do except chew gum like a dancing madman during a challenge and utter the phrase "together we stand, divided we fall" during a poignant meeting. But come on, when you're on a team with the future elected officials of America, you're gonna get overlooked.

Colton got mentioned in this blog for nearly getting killed by a bull to show how macho he was. And that is his defining moment. From that point on, every time the editor needed a kid to voice an opinion contrary to that of the smart kids, they'd cut to Colton's reaction. This kid hated school, hated work, loved the arcade, and tore some s*** up in the candy store in the final episode. Colton is every single redneck I've ever met, just at the age 11. He contributed nothing to Bonanza, as far as what was shown on TV. Adios Colton.

When I look at Divad now, I see so much lost potential. She came to prominence right after Taylor was dethroned. She was sassy, determined, and really conniving. She was convinced that she deserved a gold star for reselling items given away for free in the kitchen and she practically despised those who won it instead of her. Then...nothing. I haven't seen Divad in the last three or four episodes. Did she go home due to the face burning incident? I can't imagine she'd go so quietly, that she wouldn't have another scheme up her sleeve. She brought snacks to people waiting in line to nominate gold star winners. SNACKS.

The voice of reason for forty strenuous days. The DK in this last episode was the DK I've admired from day one. He told it like it was ("The job board is not the freakin' town") and was really in tune with the repercussions of his actions. He cried like, eighty bajillion times in this episode. When his dad commented on how much he had grown, I nodded in silent affirmation. Yes, DK's Dad, your son has grown...into a man...and a confident leader. He is the future. How's that for melodrama? Heyo!

I feel so bad for Emilie. One of the fascinating things about this show is that, while watching it, you instantly remember when you were that age and the kids that were just like these pioneers. Emilie is one of those kids. I remember every girl that looked just like her who would try so hard to fit in, who would buy the Lisa Frank folders, who would gossip, who would try to act confident but they could only seem to find friends with the girls that looked just like them. The girls like Taylor, who I also remember plenty of, were rude to them. Totally happened in this episode. Yeah, Emilie's always been a pain, but seeing the Taylorettes disinvite her to a sleepover and then to see Emilie flip out...wow. I don't know what to say for Emilie. I hope things get easier for her. And I hope she has a chicken coop to lock herself in at home.

Eric stayed in the background mostly, being a strong and solid supporter and worker for the green district. He always had great opinions and seemed to always give forth his best efforts. He's also really talented, as evidenced during the talent show (click here for some of his original songs). Of all the kids who didn't get much screen time, Eric deserved more the most. But we'll see more of him, since Laurel will appoint him something when she becomes President.

Who is she?

Greg. Has reality television seen a more complicated and frustrating 15 year old? Every week Greg would see saw from being a terror to a negotiator, a monster to an inspiration. It got old. But still, Greg worked for the gold star so he could go to college. Greg's dad made him lay PVC pipes one summer. Greg's cousin was shipped off to Iraq during the show. Greg has it hard, and I think that definitely shows in his attitude. He's super defensive and immature, but sometimes he's a really great kid. He can go down two paths, much like Anakin Skywalker (I went this long without a Star Wars reference?). I hope he doesn't get engulfed in lava.

Guylan was always immature, but he knew it and actively tried to correct it. He tried the council out, endured a threat from Jared and decided that it was too much for him. He gladly gave it up and continued being the constantly smiling little dude that he is. Interesting note, someone found my blog through the phrase "guylan does he have a girlfriend." That's it.

Hunter's going to be a great high school boyfriend and college husband.

For real, who is she? Are you telling me that a girl that takes pictures like these...

wasn't interesting enough to be on the show? These pictures are way classier than Taylor and Leila's, mainly because they dont' involve cowboy boots or fishnet. Whatever. I'll see you on Top Model in 7 years.

Ugh, Kelsey was so annoying. Her mile-a-minute explanation/bargaining freakouts are the stuff of nightmares. Glad that she got to have one on Emilie in the last episode, we all needed some more Kelsey before these kids disappear from TV forever. Sarcasm.

Kennedy was always a nice girl and I really hope that she and Savannah get to have many a Paula Deen inspired cooking party together in Kentucky. I wonder if Kennedy will hang her gold star winning chicken mask from her bedpost?

I've written so much about Laurel, I almost can't write anymore. You all know I think she's a future President, and have since episode one, and you all know that I'm a die hard green district fan. Laurel, you will succeed at everything in the world. It sucks that you didn't win one of the $50K gold stars since, really, you embody Bonanza more than Migle.

Need I say more?

Nope, don't know who you are. Were you on Kid Nation?

There was a GOTH GIRL in Bonanza?!

Mallory, the littlest gold star pioneer. If that isn't the title of a straight-to-video Disney special presentation, I don't know what is. Mallory had heart and a determination that escaped a lot of her older peers. And, I know I'm in the minority, but any scene where Olivia would talk about how proud she was of Mallory would make me choke up. Shut up.

His name came up again during gold star deliberations in this episode, mainly because of the fact that this guy knows how to party. He can host, he can smile, he can charm, and I bet he can do a two-step and deliver roses and blow a kiss with the best of them. Markelle is smooth. And, heh, remember when he tore down Taylor's posters? Markelle is also bold. There should have been more of Markelle. Imagine the type of party planning business/record label he could have started with $50,000.

Since the first episode, Michael has been a leading force in Bonanza. His wisdom and common sense have prevailed every single time the kids started to freak the heck out (which was daily....or hourly....). He was indeed tested during his time on the council and, really, I think he should have gotten one of the $50K gold stars. Totally deserved it.

And wow. This is where the $50K gold stars make me mad. I don't think it's fair that Migle won more money than DK, Laurel, Zach, or Michael (I also think it's not fair that Sophia and Mallory won $70K while other kids got nothing). Migle did grow as a person and became a strong worker, I think. Clever editing let us all see the Emilie/Yellow Bunkhouse incident that pretty much screamed gold star in the first half of the episode. But does calming down a bunch of brats merit a gold star? I dunno, whatever.

You could almost see the heartbreak when Migle got the gold star and Mike realized he had no gold star to cash in. And that sucks. Mike was instantly the most outspoken of the council. Whereas Laurel was the calming force, the wise matriarch, Mike was the one who spoke first and dealt with Greg. Remember the Jack/Sawyer tension of the first episode? Too bad there wasn't more of that. Mike then remained a solid and consistent presence in Bonanza after Guylan dethroned him "just cuz." Mike deserved a gold star, for sure. He was robbed.

Morgan is now a multi-multi-ten-thousandaire. Did this surprise everyone else? Yeah, Morgan was a strong voice in the start but she'd kinda slipped into the background in recent episodes. Apparently she helped Greg out a lot. Psychiatrist scenes in the green bunkhouse with Greg laying down on a sleeping bag had better be a bonus feature on the DVD.

She was the Nicole, right? To Migle's Paris? Wasn't she? Or was that another one of the Zuckusses? I'm pretty sure she was the Nicole. She didn't get a gold star. Bet you wish you had worked a little harder right at the very end, huh?

"He's not gay, he's just home-schooled."

I liked Olivia, okay? I know everyone in the world thought she was rude, snobby, and a total SWEAR WORD. I didn't. I totally loved watching her crack Anjay's psyche and her hilarious only-funny-in-a-society-with-no-television stand-up routine. For real, America, if Laurel is a future President, then Olivia is a future Paula Poundstone.

Looks like someone didn't live up to their name.

Seriously, at this point I'm just trying to get through this.

Okay, she gave some good quotes and had a mildly dramatic (to her) conundrum about whether or not to go home that was solved by a super gay chicken dance.

Finally, someone I care about. Sophia reminded me a little too much of my best friends in high school. Smart, forward-thinking, irreverent, compassionate, and totally okay with messing with people for her own entertainment. It became expected; at 15 minutes into every episode, Sophia would do something...just to see what happens. Roping off a piece of town for herself, dropping a quarter into a bucket of slop, I would almost watch a show based around her experiments. From that first episode, Sophia could have gone one of two ways. She could have become a terror, constantly sabotaging and undermining the council's decisions at every turn. Instead she went the other way and became, you know, awesome. Her and Laurel are totally BFF now. That makes me happy.

Can you imagine how sucky it must have been for who-cares Sophie?
"Hey, good job Sophia!" "Thanks!" "No, not you Sophie, Sophia."
"Sophia, leave me alone! I want to play in the arcade!" "I didn't do anything!" "Shut up Sophie, I'm not worried about you, you're not Sophia."
"Let's give the gold star to Sophia." "What? Really? I can go to a great school now!" "That's it, we're calling you Not Leila now, Sophie!"
"This is NOT Leila's plate." "Are you talking to me?"

To be honest, as motivational as Laurel was, as awesome as Sophia was, and as mind-blowingly amazing as Jared was, an episode without Taylor wasn't the same. She instantly had a catch phrase ("Deal with it!") and a posse of Mean Girls. I imagine that Taylor just snapped her fingers upon walking into her bunkhouse for the first time and Kelsey and Leila just appeared at her side. I think you could measure a football field by combining the lengths of all the producers' smiles after Taylor left the casting session. Taylor is great TV and the producers hit straight up gold with her. Defiant, stubborn, so many great quotes, always on the verge of cutting someone down, biting someone's head off or crying like a second place pageant queen. I'd almost go so far as to say that Taylor made Kid Nation. Without Taylor, how else would we measure the near perfectness of all the green district kids? And Taylor's mom? Totally all makes sense now.

Zach had probably one of the more pronounced story arcs. He started off a lowly yellow district worker, completely angered by the overwhelming girl power of Taylor and the Taylorettes. From there he campaigned, won, worked hard, led, was knocked out of power by a moron, continued working hard, cried and yelled at Greg, and finally won the gold star in the very end. If I was more analytical and had even more time on my hands I could probably analyze Kid Nation as the coming of age story of Zach. Greg thinks Zach could be on legislature someday. Greg also thinks 'mamsita' is complimentary towards women.

Forget the words, here are some of the moments that you should treasure forever.

Wow. What a ride. Well, that's it.

Oh, wait.

I forgot to profile someone.

That's better.

The end.