With one episode of the show to go, fans of The Mole are attempting to organize a campaign to save the show by sending lemons to ABC. The show’s producers are already campaigning to save their series because, as ABC’s president told me, the show will likely be cancelled because its ratings have failed to increase.
Fans plan to join fans of other endangered series by sending things to the network in an attempt to annoy them into submission; in this case, they’re sending lemons with (sad) faces drawn on them. They’re a reference to an episode in which Paul drew a face on a lemon and turned it into a mascot.
In an ABC.com discussion, one fan offers a suggested letter that makes other lemon references: “Consider this an avid fan of throwing lemons at you if you don’t renew The Mole for another season. You know what they say when life gives you lemons? You make lemonheads and renew another season of The Mole!”
I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but trying to save the series is a terrible idea, because it’s time to let The Mole die. And I say this as a person who still ranks the show among my favorite reality series ever and someone who was thrilled about its return.
Rereading my review of the first episode, however, I seem desperate to love the new series even despite its flaws, and I suspect that’s true for a lot of fans. The show’s reputation was weakened by the two celebrity seasons, but this season is actually worse because it aspires to be like the first two and isn’t just a derivative version.
Let’s be completely, brutally honest: This season just isn’t very good, at least not compared to the original two. Primarily, the cast is largely unlikable and annoying, not endearing and engaging. But there are other problems, too. This Monday’s bomb-defusing challenge was one of the few that approached the complexity and imagination as those in the original. New host Jon Kelley is okay, but he’s not doing a great job of imitating Anderson Cooper, and Anderson’s attitude and tone was essential to the series in the same way that Jeff Probst is essential to Survivor.
Here’s the real problem: We’re crippled by nostalgia. It’s nearly impossible to recreate fun times from our pasts, and when we do attempt that, the results end up being half-assed or disappointing or both. This effort to save the show feels like selfishly keeping someone alive via machines instead of just letting them go. Since Anderson isn’t going to return and ABC is convinced the first two seasons were too smart for dumb viewers, there’s virtually no chance of recapturing the original, and we don’t need just another half-assed season. As painful as it is, it’s time to let it go.
There is one thing that would be worthy of a campaign: We should petition for season two to be distributed on DVD, because right now, only season one is available. Then we’ll be able to forever enjoy and relive those good times. Otherwise, it’s time to let The Mole go.