Hi FORTers, welcome to a new summer season of ABC’s The Mole. In addition to the awesome show recaps that iguanachocolate will be writing, this season we’ll be offering Mole commentary where we have the chance to discuss our gut feelings about who is (and who is not) the Mole. We thought about calling this column “Whack a Mole” but we didn’t want that huge rodent from Chuck E. Cheese coming to visit us with a big club. Every episode we’ll try to watch all of the contestants to see who is acting the most Mole-y and who looks just clueless.
Just for fun, we’ll start speculating based just on their show biographies for the contestants, and rank the players on a Mole Continuum. We’ve got twelve contestants, so I’m going to go out on a limb based on nothing but ABC bios and their spin. As a returning FORT writer from way back, I’ve got a long history of trying to guess who will and won’t make it long on a show. One time I was stuck writing a shadow of crazy bat-lady Jan for the entire season through the finale of Survivor: Thailand after I’d picked her hoping she’d be the first out. How much can you possibly say about a saggy prune who held funerals for dead bats? Quite a bit, as it turns out, but I’m not afraid to say that I’m likely very, very wrong, and happy to discuss these observations every week.
Let’s start with the least likely contestants to be the Mole going towards the most likely suspects, and finally, my top pick (so far):
12. Marcie – this overly-defensive stay-at-home-mom is my bottom pick for the season. Of the nine sentences in her profile, six of them mention that she is a mom, with another short sentence mentioning her husband’s career. You’re on the wrong set at the ABC lot - this isn’t Wife Swap. No-one cares that much that you’re a mom, as the other parents on this show can mention other things of interest from their lives. Hopefully this will be a nice escape for her, but if not, join a book club.
11. Bobby – our Mole show fan who hosts viewing parties at his basement seems overly confident in his interview. This restaurant manager probably has decent people skills, but his bio indicates that his restaurant recently shut down, so who knows. Maybe he’s really Gordon Ramsey, shouting orders and cursing people out (but without Gordo’s success). Describing himself as “stubborn and vengeful” isn’t sounding too promising for the social aspects of gaining confidences of his competitors, so if he’s depending exclusively upon using his “gaydar” to detect the Mole, he won’t last long.
10. Victoria – her bio indicates that she’s a fan of the show. I’m glad to see players who have actually watched the show. That makes Victoria part of an elite group of viewers, given the sometimes abysmal ratings this show has generated. However as our friend Erik the ice cream scooper who gave away the immunity necklace and a guaranteed spot in the final four last season on Survivor shows, sometimes being a fan of the show doesn’t mean that someone has the skills needed to be successful at it. She’s not looking Moley to me based on the bios.
9. Paul – our Italian-American New Yorker who doesn’t know when to shut up – that doesn’t sound like a recipe for success on this show. He claims he is a reformed “play-a” which may mean that he’s comfortable lying to people (or women, anyway), and that could be an advantage, but this show is more about sitting back and watching and listening. Unless of course he is the Mole, but I wouldn’t have picked Paul because as a self-proclaimed over-confident loudmouth he might not be able to stop himself from bragging about the fact that he’s the Mole, and proving it to the other players by pointing out all of his acts of sabotage.
8. Ali – this model / UFC ring walker isn’t lacking in self-confidence. Maybe she’ll form a “pretty girl” alliance with some of the other contestants, and they’ll pool their resources and misdirect the other contestants away from the real Mole. More likely, though, she’ll be one of those reality tv show “personalities” who will get more posts on her contestant thread than others who actually last longer on the show. Anyone who claims a tendency towards “road rage” doesn’t sounds particularly mature.
7. Nicole – this social chameleon doctor could go either way on this show, either playing a very shrewd game or trying too hard to draw attention to herself (so people think she is the Mole, perhaps). I’m not sure exactly how acting street or being a diva is going to help her find out more about other people and watch what they are doing, but maybe it is all part of her strategy. Of the doctor-diva’s I’ve met, they don’t usually tend to be OB GYNs like Nicole (or pediatricians for that matter) as that isn’t really a Dr. 90210 practice, but they’re helping people every day. We’ll have to see if she seems like a contestant who can get past herself enough to play this game well.
6. Craig – when I first read the profiles, Craig was one of my pre-show favorites for being the Mole. He looks so friendly and does charity work and just has a nice smiley face, how could anyone not just trust Craig automatically? His weight and lack of physical prowess (he has sleep apnea, that’s no fun) would be the perfect cover for the Mole, because anytime the task got physically challenging, he can bag on it without drawing any suspicion because he’s just winded. He could cost the pot in every single challenge and no-one would be any the wiser. However, I’m not sure the producers would risk having the Mole be a contestant who may not physically be able to make it to the end of the show. For that reason, Craig isn’t my top pick, but I’d love to be surprised by him and he’s in my top half.
5. Kristen – the statuesque blonde neuroscientist who is working on a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. I’m actually torn to see her bio, as I’d prefer her to continue working on that cure rather than spending weeks away playing a reality tv show. Yes, everyone deserves time off, and it’s nice to have reality tv shows airing in the summer that doesn’t cast exclusively model-slash-actors and pharmaceutical sales reps (yes, I’m talking to you, Big Brother, we still love you, but dang, can’t you hire anyone with an education besides Dr. Will?). If this show isn’t brain surgery, maybe it will be a piece of cake for her.
4. Mark – our Wisconsin high school teacher seems over-confident about his IQ helping him with this game, as I’m always skeptical about people who want to brag about their IQ. Someone who has 3 kids and works with high-schoolers all day is probably pretty well versed in spotting liars, which is certainly a useful skill for this game. He’s a Midwesterner and as such likely overlooked and easier to blend in with other contestants. I knew there had to be some advantage from growing up in fly-over land.
3. Liz – our oldest contestant this season is also my pre-show top Mole pick from all of the women. Three of the prior 4 season Moles were women, so I’m thinking that the guys are due. Of course that could be just what they’re expecting us to think. . . . [paranoia already, the show hasn’t even premiered yet?!?!?!] Of the women, I think Liz may be easily overlooked because of her age, but do not underestimate her strength. She adopted and raised two kids as a 40 year old single mom after her husband died – she probably has more fortitude than a pack of other contestants combined, so I think she’d make a great unsuspecting Mole.
2. Alex – he’s a 31 year old aspiring musician who is living with his parents because he doesn’t want to “compromise” his musical dreams and hold down a real job. Yikes, Mr. Failure to Launch needs to win this show so that he can get his own place and give his parents a break already. He’s my number 2 suspect for this season’s Mole because he’s duped his parents into supporting him for 31 years. The producers may think he’d be game for blowing the challenge money while still not getting busted as the Mole by his competitors.
1. Clay – this family man / criminal law attorney seems pretty capable of being able to read people. Picture it now, he’s cross-examining his son about who ate the last cookie. If the crumbs aren’t on my lips, you must acquit, Dad. I’m wondering if he mentioned his OCD to set up an excuse for exhibiting some Mole-ish behavior, because anyone who watches Monk would never pick Adrian Monk for their challenge team as they’d never make it out the door to start the challenge. I think it could be a good cover, so he’s number one choice for my pre-show Mole pick.
There you go, Mole-o-philes, my official first round of picks for who is the Mole. Don’t prove me wrong in the very first episode, Clay.