cheek by jowl

And Now We Will Compare MasterChef Junior to Kid Nation

Reality TV just got a whole lot younger — thanks to children chopping broccoli! They’re doing battle on Fox’s MasterChef Junior, a cooking-competition show that offers no end of potential hazards for little ‘uns, and we don’t even mean host Gordon Ramsay’s (toned-down) signature criticism. High shelves with giant KitchenAid mixers! Heavy pans filled with hot oil! It’s enough to make you worry for those crafty tykes’ safety — and to dose you with a soupçon of déja vù. The last time reality-show producers threw a bunch of children in front of the cameras and left them to fend for themselves, the result was Kid Nation, the short-lived, controversial, but nonetheless beloved 2007 CBS competition program that rewarded its tiny participants with gold stars and punished them with a bottle of unmarked bleach and bullying. So how closely do these two flyweight contenders match up? Let’s check out the tale of tape.

Kid Nation

MasterChef Junior
The Setting Bonanza City The MasterChef kitchen
The Players kids, from 8 to 15 years old kids, from 8 to 13 years old
The Father Figure Host Jonathan Karsh Chefs and judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot
The Grand Prize Actual gold stars worth anywhere from $20,000–$50,000 each $100,000 and the MasterChef Junior trophy
The Inspiration Lord of the Flies Kid Nation
The Length 40 days Unverified, but appears to be one full day (they wear the same clothes every episode)
The Hardest Task Overcoming homesickness Reaching the mixer
The Mean Girl Taylor Alexander
The Popular One Sophia Roen
The Jock Greg Troy
The Runt Jimmy Sarah
The Stoner Blaine Roen
The Geek Jared Tommy
The Danger Bullying Overseasoning
The Actual Danger A pan filled with hot oil A pan filled with hot oil
MasterChef Junior vs. Kid Nation