Monday , March 4 2024
I watch The Mole and I wonder; I watch American Gladiators and I cringe.

Burrowing Into The Mole and American Gladiators

As I sit here and ruminate on last night's television offerings, one thing becomes abundantly clear — The Mole is just plain old fun. It requires a modicum of thought and encourages the viewer to engage with the game. Even though there is backstabbing, deceit, and trickery going on, it still is one of the nicer reality competition shows around.

I wonder why that is. I wonder why The Mole ends up with people who may be obnoxious, annoying, and out to beat one another, but still somehow manages to retain an air of superiority. Nicole and Paul are, assuredly, just as ridiculous and spiteful as any reality show contestants, but the show still doesn't seem quite as evil and negative.

My only guess is that the show seems more positive because the editing chooses not to focus on the evil. They depict what's happening and follow up on it, but they don't wallow in it. A show like The Celebrity Apprentice revels in the evil; it appears as though The Donald often fires people based upon his assumptions of the ratings they'll deliver due to their vindictiveness and backstabbing nature, not based upon their performance in the task at hand. The Mole's eliminations are based upon the contestants' scores on a quiz; it is a wholly objective basis on which to eliminate the contestants, not the silly whims of one man. To me, that's a good thing.

I also watched American Gladiators last night and was sorely hurt that they only recapped and didn't show outright the women during Joust. The event featured the ever-fantastic Crush bashing both women, and frankly, it needed to be seen. It's true that Crush bashes opponents week after week in Joust, but that's no reason not to show her doing it this time.

Okay, that last paragraph is mostly true, but it wasn't my real problem with the episode last night. My real problem was that one of the women contestants scored absolutely no points prior to the final event, the Eliminator, and yet won the night. She ought to have been disqualified. There ought to be a rule somewhere in the American Gladiators rule book that states that if a contestant can't manage to put up a single point prior to the Eliminator, they are automatically removed from the competition, given a 30-second penalty, or something. The zero-pointer's opponent didn't score a lot, she put up 8 points prior to the Eliminator, but at least it was something.

What fun is the competition, what fun is every event leading up to the Eliminator if they're wholly irrelevant? The half-second lead per point ahead one contestant gets over the other simply isn't big enough. If they bother doing a third season of the series they ought to make it two seconds per point, maybe three. I really think that's the only way to get people to try their best on the earlier events.

Am I wrong? I dare you to stand up and say that I'm wrong, because I'm not wrong. Here are the facts: any and all events featuring Crush should be shown in their entirety, you ought not be allowed to win the competition if you didn't put up any points before heading into the Eliminator, and the lead given to whomever scores more points before the Eliminator ought to give a bigger advantage than it does. It's just the way it is.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

Check Also

BotCon: A Look Back at ‘Beast Wars: Transformers’

"You're not standing there doing a voice; you're doing a character."