There are 14 players who have never met, chosen to travel and complete challenges for money. However, there is one player acting as a saboteur, trying to keep money from the pot. Every episode players compete to add money to the pot, and then take a 10-question quiz that tests the players knowledge of the Mole’s identity. The player who gets the least amount of questions right is ‘executed’ and must leave the game immediately. The last player remaining then wins all of the money accumulated into the group pot.
Reasons for awesome:
#1: The hosts are amazing. The show started off with a sassy Anderson Cooper for two seasons. Check out that smolder.
after Anderson came Ahmad Rashād and then Jon Kelley. Also experts in sass.
Jon explains to the players that they need to jump over a waterfall for this bag that could be money, or could be nothing.
#2: The cast, to me, were some of the most real original crazy characters. When the show started it was similar to early Survivor or The Real World in the way that people didn't really care what they wore, or how perfect their makeup was. They were still pretty "real". The Mole also casts people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and genders.
The first challenge, still slightly trusting of each other, season two.
#3: Producers did some crazy stuff! Especially for the early 2000's. 80% of challenges involved the contestants looking dumb and being surrounded by people who all speak a foreign language. Contestants really never knew what was going to happen next.
#4: Celebrity versions! The third and fourth seasons featured celebrity contestants instead of average citizens. My favorites included Dennis Rodman, Kathy Griffin, and hottie Eric Von Detten from my childhood favorite movie: Brink!
#5: The game itself was new and original. It was something you hadn't seen on TV before. If you were smart, you had some advantages in quiz taking, but even then you still had to guess 90% of the time. Quizzes made the players take notes about everything including the color of the Mole's pants, the order in which you were standing, or if someone drank wine at dinner. Some seasons the producers would then burn the journals you were keeping these much needed notes in or make you trade with another player, leaving you with what you could remember.
Paul remembers nothing, but knows who the Mole is! Lucky Paul.
Random Mole trivia I found while writing this: Season 2 premiered on September 28th 2001 and was taken off the schedule after 3 episodes due to the mood of the country post 9-11 and poor ratings. It then returned in June 2002 with the first 4 episodes shown in 2 hour blocks on successive days to get the audience caught up. The reunion show at the end is held a year after the show finished filming.
If you're a fan of the Amazing Race, you'll probably love the Mole. Travel is a huge part of the game and they go to great places. You can buy the first season and the third season on DVD, but sadly the rest you have to search YouTube for. I barely have the full collection via the internet but it's taken me a long time. The Mole however, is very very worth the trouble.