Of Mice and Many Peppers
Episode 3 of Celebrity Mole:Hawaii hits the ground running with an exciting shot of some guy surfing a little wavelet. Before we can catch our breath, the scene shifts to the beach, where the remaining five celebrities are shuffling into position for the next game, bubbling with all the enthusiasm of a quintet of French revolutionaries on their way to the guillotine. Ahmad the Executioner awaits their arrival and manages to greet the group without employing a stupid Mole pun. Maybe he’s not so bad after all.
After a standard team-divvying exercise, everyone but Erik is assigned the task of assembling a seaworthy raft using a pile of random tidbits stolen from a nearby brothel. There are bed frames, toilet seats, and at least one inflatable female companion. Oh, and lots and lots of rope. Piece of cake, especially with Corbin in charge. He was once a carpenter, we are told, and we can see that he’s capable of speaking English, which gives him the ability to holler orders at everyone around him. The S.S. Kewpie is in good hands.
Erik, meanwhile, is wheeled over to the Smoothie Bar where technicians mistakenly use shock paddles on his bare chest, believing him to be already dead. Indeed, the only sure way to tell he hasn’t expired is when he pushes that flop of hair out of his face, which he does about every four minutes or so. At any rate, once he’s up and about, he sets right to work making smoothies, sampling his work, and drooling back into the drinks. Presently, Ahmad shows up with a metal detector and a little surprise for the Smoothie Man. While the other jokers are building the floating bed boat, Erik can grab a canoe and paddle out to where all this money is floating. Yeah, I didn’t mention that. There’s $30,000 on a little buoy just off shore. If Erik can get there first, the team doesn’t get the thirty G’s, but he gets an exemption. He pretends to think about it for two seconds before deciding to go for it.
Ah, but first he has to round up $15 worth of quarters buried in the beach using the aforementioned metal detector. That’s to rent the canoe. And he has to give the money to the cabana boy. And the cabana boy is – aw, heck! Geez, it’s Stephen Baldwin! Yuk, yuk. What is that kook doing over there? And why the hell isn’t he strapped to a gurney in Loserville? The perpetually loony-looking Baldwin gathers and arranges the quarters for young Erik. After all sixty coins are handed over, Erik sprints to the canoe while Baldwin produces a razor blade so he can arrange the money into straight lines and inhale the quarters into his nose.
As Erik slices through the water like a giant man-shaped shark fin, the others have managed to transform the random pile of garbage into a loosely-lashed-together pile of garbage. Miraculously, three corners of the hideous crap barge actually can float. Obviously, that’s not enough, though. Erik arrives first and is exempt. But wait! Ahmad the Stogey-puffing Wheeler-dealer has a proposal. Erik can earn $60,000 in the pot simply be agreeing to revoke his exemption.
Erik rapidly computes in his head the odds of botching the quiz versus the number of sighing girls he could bed after the show if he does the nice thing and puts the money in the pot. Predictably, he gives up the exemption and ratchets the pot up to $102,000. He returns to the group and tries to pretend that he cost the group some money. Then he springs the big news on them that he actually garnered 60,000 big ones and stands back to receive the team’s wildly enthusiastic praise. Instead, everyone thinks he’s either a dumbass or The Mole and wanders off.
After the group enjoys a light celebrity lunch of water chestnuts and sea foam, Ahmad arrives with a whole bunch of peppers. He drags the bloated players to another room, where eagle-eyed Michael spots half a dozen shot-glass-sized mice in a cage from all the way across the room. Moles often know what the game is going to be before it starts, by the way, and those mice were small. I’m not saying anything because I still think Kathy is The Mole, but Michael’s definitely looking suspicious, too.
At any rate, the next game is called “Looky Looky, Hot Pepper.” I’m not sure why, actually. Everyone on the show treated it like a big in-joke, but I guess I wasn’t part of the clique because the title just sounded dumb to me. In this game, eating peppers can earn you $10,000. Ahmad asks each player some pop culture trivia question. If the player gets it right, they can eat the pepper or pass it to someone else. If they miss the question, however, they have to eat their pepper. And remember this is “Looky Looky, Hot Pepper,” so of course there’s a devious twist. Not only do you have to eat it, but you also have to humiliate your teammates (and yourself) by holding open your mouth with pepper bits all over the tongue. Then everyone’s supposed to say, “Looky Looky, Hot Pepper,” just in case anyone watching at home forgot the stupid name of the game in the ten seconds since the last time that phrase was repeated. Meantime, your mouth is in flames and can only be doused by a glass of milk, available for the low, low price of $1000 a glass. The pepper is chosen, as U.S. law dictates, by releasing one of the mice from its cage so it can race to the other side of the cage and pick one out for the player to eat.
Long story short, everyone manages to either get a question right or down a pepper . Everyone enjoys a bite of pepper except for Kathy and Frederique. Even Michael takes a bite, suggesting that “Pepper Consumption” didn’t earn a spot on the infamous “Don’t Bother Coming Home” list compiled by Mrs. Boatman. Bernsen winds up eating several extra peppers just to demonstrate again how outrageously heterosexual he is. He did grab a thousand-dollar glass of milk, too, which brought the team total down to $151,000. Still not bad for a single day’s work. Ah, but we’re not done yet. Ahmad produces a little basket filled with mysterious new peppers. He offers the group $25,000 if everyone, including the heretofore pepper-free ladies, takes one bite of a pepper. Let me repeat that. He doesn’t want the team to wolf down the entire basket in fifteen seconds or anything. Each member of the group is required only to ingest a single bite of the pepper of their choosing. Sounds like a slam dunk, right? There’s even plenty of thousand-dollar milk available in case your single bite is too ferocious. Well, everyone’s on board except for Frederique, whose strict moral code forbids her from placing peppers on her supermodel tongue. I don’t think she’s The Mole, though, just insane.
Around the old dinner table that night, Ahmad once again tricks everyone by snagging a page from each of their journals. Most of ‘em are pretty boring, but a couple are worth noting. Kathy’s, for example, has absolutely nothing inside. We’re either dealing with a careless Mole who doesn’t care to take notes or a brilliant mastermind who keeps the details of the entire game perfectly organized in her computerized mind. Oh, or maybe option three: she’s just screwing around and trying desperately to be funny so she neither has time for her journal nor does she care whether she wins the game or not. You make the call.
The other unusual journal page is Erik’s. It’s filled with all sorts of numbers that he explains to us were “probabilities” for each person being The Mole. In reality, they’re probably girls’ phone numbers. I’m going to try every possible permutation of those numbers until I either I reach a young woman who thinks I’m Erik “the Hair” Von Detten or I run out of money, whichever comes first.
Following the quiz, Corbin Bernsen surprises everyone by being eliminated, thereby completing a 2-week clean sweep of everybody in the game who actually had a personality. Bernsen teaches a valuable lesson in sportsmanship on his way out by trying to smash his suddenly totally-worthless notebook right through a helpless little end table. Not surprisingly, though, the table keeps its unbeaten streak against 48-year-old brats intact.
Tune in next week when some passerby tries to yank off Frederique’s shirt. Should be good clean fun.
Until next time, may your mouse choose the wimpiest pepper possible.
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