One Mole player threatens to kill another and “not leave any forensic evidence”

By the end of The Mole 3‘s second episode, I’d figured out what’s preventing me from being completely absorbed by this season, in the way I was during the first two seasons. The answer, simply, is the cast. I don’t really like any of them, and I hate about half of them. And while hatred may fuel fanatical viewership of some shows, it was the likability of most of The Mole‘s cast that drew me in the first few seasons.

On a related note, my friend Bonnie, a recent Mole convert thanks to the DVDs and cable repeats, pointed out that these players don’t seem to have any interest in getting along, and again, the opposite was true the first two seasons. For a few minutes last night, we saw some casual, non-confrontational interaction when the players were at their hotel, so maybe it’s just the editing, but she’s right: For the most part, all we see them do is fight. One player tried to point this out, but was shot down by loudmouth Paul, who claims his obnoxiousness is some kind of strategy. Well, if his strategy is to make us hate him, it’s working.

Naturally, one of the few people I didn’t mind, Liz, was executed last night. She was funny in her interviews, although sort of annoying in a group setting, primarily because she didn’t seem like a worthy player. It was nice that she tried, and amusing how honest she was about her cluelessness, but she won’t be missed.

I hope some of the cast members will grow on me, like Clay, Victoria, and the trio of blonde women (Ali, Kristen, and Marcie). Craig is the most likable guy in the group, although like Liz, he’s not quite up to the game yet.

Bobby, however, is the biggest putz I’ve perhaps ever seen on a reality show, and if he walks around grabbing his kidneys and arching his back for another 30 seconds, I’m going to be forced to jump into my TV and punch him. I seriously can’t believe he just sat in a wheelbarrow instead of, like, participating during an entire task. If he’s really that physically weak, he shouldn’t be on the show, and if he’s not the damn mole, he should go into hiding.

Mark annoyingly interrupted and talked over Jon Kelley’s first real opportunity to have some campy fun when the host offered the two exemption-hunting players a drink under an umbrella, plus a taxi ride. It was a great moment, but know-it-all Mark ruined it.

Paul “is out going and has a charismatic personality,” according to ABC’s poorly written and clearly inaccurate bio. He’s about as charismatic as a nuclear blast, and added sexist orangutan to his repertoire last night, getting angry at Bobby’s lack of participation only because it insulted his manhood. Whatever, ass.

After the execution, Nicole, who’d made good on her promise to lay low this week after being as annoying as fire ants in a sleeping bag, told Paul, “I’m going to kill you while you sleep.” She followed that with what may be one of best lines ever spoken on a reality show, and that she said it completely deadpan made it even more hysterical: “I can do it and not leave any forensic evidence,” she said.

Paul told her, “All you are is talk, and I’m tired of it,” and Nicole replied, “Okay, wake up dead.” Usually threats from one reality show contestant to another annoy me, but hers was so obviously empty yet so poetically delivered that it sort of made the whole episode. We don’t need more death threats, but we do need more reasons to like the people we’re watching.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.