After yesterday's seven-post explosion, things are a bit slower today, in part because I'm focusing on a story I'm doing for Sunday about Bear McCreary and Michael Giacchino (composers for BSG and Lost, respectively). But I have a minute to breathe here and thought I'd offer a few words on why "The Mole" isn't working this season, just as soon as I scan my business card for clues...
There are reality franchises that need villains to work and there are ones that don't. "Survivor," I would argue, does, in that the most satisfying moments and seasons are often the ones where the obnoxious people get their comeuppance. (The flip side of that, of course, is that seasons where the bad guys win ultimately leave a bad taste in your mouth.) "The Amazing Race" really doesn't, though the show has had some memorable villains, depending on your definition of the term, like Colin or Boston Rob.
I'd put "The Mole" even more firmly into the latter category. If you like the concept -- one of the more intricate ones in the genre -- then the game itself should be enough for you to enjoy it, and if you don't like the concept, then no amount of nasty behavior will make up for that. The new season would likely be tanking in the ratings even with a cast full of swell people -- it's a failed reality show that hasn't been seen in its original incarnation in nearly seven years -- but for those of us who did turn up to watch it, the presence of loud, abrasive, "I didn't come here to make friends!" cliches like Nicole and Paul make the new season kind of intolerable.
It's one thing for me to be wondering if someone is performing badly in a challenge (say, Bobby lounging in the wheelbarrow last week) because they're actually the Mole, because they want people to think they're the Mole, or because they're just terrible. That's the point of the show, even if it can occasionally get annoying that everyone seems to be tanking to fool the other players, which leads to a microscopic prize total. But there's no strategic or dramatic upside to someone yelling at the rest of the team during dinner (Paul) or "jokingly" threatening to kill another contestant (Nicole); it's just the kind of lame interpersonal drama that every reality show producer decided they needed after "The Apprentice" season one was a hit -- and, for some unknown reason, Omarosa got the lion's share of the credit for that.
So even though the clothes-off-your-back challenge was kind of entertaining -- albeit not as much as the embarrassing costume challenge from season 2, and although one of the teams completely lucked into finding the right laundromat, which you could tell frustrated the producers and host -- I really don't want to spend time with those two anymore. I can't imagine ABC giving "The Mole" a third strike (fourth if you count the "celebrity" incarnation), so I imagine last night was the last time I'll be seeing it.
Anybody else watching at this point? Anybody else as fed up with the loudmouths as I am?