Though we haven't seen an episode yet (Update: Now we have! See our review of the premiere!), we are quite prepared to declare CBS's Kid Nation the greatest reality show ever made. Its magic-bullet combination of unsupervised children, desert heat, and mislabeled bottles of bleach suggest a revolution in vicarious TV thrills. The only thing that could make it better would be if the kids weren't so darn anonymous. Why can't we send that kid sitting in front of us at The Bourne Ultimatum? We got to thinking about which kids we'd most want to send off to Kid Nation and realized the pop-culture pantheon is filled with irritating children who could really benefit from a sharp dose of bleach-flavored reality. After the jump, here's Vulture's list of the Ten Annoying Child Actors We'd Love to Send to Kid Nation.
(And check out our other lists, including the Reaper-inspired Ten Greatest Pop-Culture Devils, the Ten Best Beatles Covers, and Ten Directors Who Would Make an Unsexier Sex Movie Than Quentin Tarantino.)
10. Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone
Obnoxious? Sure. But Culkin's resourceful and knows his way around a booby trap, which could come in handy when competing for that weekly cash prize. We'd like to see how the other Kid Nation contestants fare against one of his patented open-a-door-get-hit-with-an-iron rigs.
9. Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense
The kid spends a whole movie talking to Bruce Willis and never once says, "Oh, by the way, dude, you're actually dead." Plus think how useful he'd be on the Kid Nation set; once a dozen or so kids have dropped from heat exhaustion, it'd be nice to have someone there who check in with them from time to time.
8. Michael Oliver as Junior in Problem Child
In the 1990 comedy, John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck play Junior's adoptive parents, who try everything to tame the mischievous little rascal. Everything, that is, except force him to live alone in the desert for a month.
7. Dakota Fanning as Sally in The Cat in the Hat.
Even next to Mike Myers's overly hammy performance as the Cat, and Spencer Breslin's as her lunkhead brother, smarmy Dakota still managed to irritate us — no small feat. But it's hard to deny managerial skills; she'd either lead a team to victory or boss the other kids around until they stoned her to death.
6. Ron Howard as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show
Before he grew up and lost his cuteness, Ron Howard was Opie, the dumbest kid in Mayberry. We're pretty sure we could count on him to eat a live scorpion or stumble down a mineshaft — or both!
5. Henry Thomas as Elliott in E.T.
He may be annoying, but he knows how to keep a secret from his parents, which is one of the top qualities Kid Nation producers look for in a contestant, we hear.
4. Dylan and Cole Sprouse as Julian "Frankenstien" McGrath in Big Daddy
The Sprouse twins survived Adam Sandler's calamitous attempts at parenting, but can they endure 40 days in the desert with no parents? We wonder!
3. Jonathan Lipnicki as Ray Boyd in Jerry Maguire.
Kid knows his trivia, and it probably wouldn't hurt to have someone on set who knows how to suck the venom out of a snakebite or perform an emergency appendectomy. You know, just in case.
2. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as Michelle Tanner on Full House.
If you can watch this collection of "cute clips" from the Olsen twins' run on Full House without wanting to ship the pair straight off to Kid Nation, we applaud you. Plus, their catchphrase "You're in big trouble, mister!" might actually be adorable in the context of real danger.
1. Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The young Darth Vader drew more fanboy ire than Jar Jar Binks in the much-maligned Star Wars prequel, and for good reason — he's really, really annoying! But we suspect living in a live-action Lord of the Flies might make his turn to the dark side more believable.
Read our review of the first episode!: ‘Kid Nation’: And Then There Were 39