This week on The Mole, we learned that the ability to squeeze as many idioms pertaining to the word “pig” into a one hour show is really an acquired talent. Those producers must have been up all night with their phrase dictionaries. “Guys!” one would yell, giddy with Red Bull at three in the morning, “Bring home the BACON! Because bacon is made from a PIG!” “YES!” the others would scream, high fiving all over the room, “It’s GENIUS! Let’s prepare our Emmy speeches!”
Oh, I kid because I love. Remember, Anderson Cooper was able to pull off all of this good fun with a straight face and a knowing smirk. And that’s why he is where he is today.We begin this week in Santiago, Chile. Nicole returns to the group, telling us in interview that she’s going to change her strategy and try to fly under the radar for a while. But Dr. Whiner, how do you expect to be able to conceal all of that blinding beauty you so unnecessarily yammered on about last week?
“BEHOLD THE GORGEOUS! BEHOLD IT!”
Jon tells the group to split themselves up into a team of six who are goal-oriented, and a team of two who look at life as an uphill battle. Craig the Fattie and Liz the Old Bag immediately deem their sorry existences as daily and futile struggles by volunteering for the latter team, already lost on the fact that these little assignments are always euphemisms for whatever hellish torture the task may be. Have these people ever SEEN this show?
Someone (I’d rather not admit it was Nicole) points out that healthy people should probably be the ones running uphill, rather than the obese and/or elderly. After a vote, for some reason, it is decided that Mark the Weeping History Teacher and Kristen the Plastic Brain Surgeon will do the uphill battle. King Jon the Smug snivels out a comment about their lengthy discussion. Oh, Jon. We’re not going to get along, are we. I enjoy the snark from Jeff Probst and Phil Koeghan, but you’re already pissing me off. You, good sir, are no Anderson Cooper.
So the task. The Uphill team has to ride a tandem bicycle up a big hill. If they get there before the other team, they will earn exemptions for themselves. The Goal-Oriented folk have to play a twenty-minute game of soccer. Once they score a goal, they can hop into some gondolas and race to the summit, thereby adding $35,000 to the pot. But they’ll be playing against one of the city’s toughest teams, SmugJon adds. I immediately know – thanks to the many, many Bravo shows that have featured such a twist – that this team will be comprised of children. But I guess no one else does. They just stand there, smiling like idiots. I pity them.
“Where are we? Is this Survivor? Where’s Jeff Probst? What’s a gondola?”
Bobby and Alex begin bragging about their mad soccer skills. And by skills I mean that they played in high school. Yeah okay, I made a really bitchin’ dog out of clay in high school, but you don’t see me boasting about my amazing ability to sculpt the likenesses of various woodland creatures. These PEOPLE.
So they run off to the field and discover that the opposing team is, unsurprisingly, a bunch of kids. They immediately start congratulating themselves on their impending victory, with the exception of Craig, who briefly worries about getting kicked in the balls. I didn’t even know you could say “balls” on ABC. Craig the Fattie, pushing the decency standards envelope.
The game begins and of course, the kids kick major ass. Well, duh. They’re A) Chilean, B) are already a team, and C) play this game every waking moment of their lives. How on earth is anyone surprised that they’re beating a rag-tag team of uncoordinated Americans? Part of me wants the underdogs to win, but the other part of me really wants some random brat to just start whaling on Craig’s balls for no reason at all.
Mark and Kristen are making slow progress. Every time they start getting into a rhythm, the bike chain breaks and they have to stop and fix it. Eventually they give up and just start walking, ever on the lookout for a pair of vintage 1704 blue jeans.
Back at the soccer game, Bobby the Wimp can’t run. And how could he, with legs that exhibit the approximate circumferences of Oscar Meyer wieners? I immediately tire of his physical-activity whining, but seeing as how it will be the CONSTANT AND UNYIELDING THEME of this episode and possibly the whole season, we’d better get used to it.
Look, a praying mantis! Wait no, it’s just Bobby.
At a humiliating score of 14-0, with one goal scored on their own goal by Craig (at least the guy can run, eh BOBBY?), the twenty minutes is up, and the team is to now get one last shot by taking some penalty kicks. Ali the Model scores and the teams receives their tickets to the gondola. (Side note: I really hope Ali isn’t the Mole, because that would make this the third season in a row that it turned out to be the Token Model. Yeah yeah, pretty people can be stealthy too, we get it.) The team runs off, with Clay stopping briefly to molest a small child.
No means no, Clay.
Mark and Kristen continue huffing and puffing up the hill, only to run into Smugatron sitting under an umbrella with a table full of refreshments. He snidely offers them a deal: take a taxi to the top of the hill, and take $5,000 out of the pot. Mark immediately blows him off and keeps on trucking up the hill. Kristen doesn’t seem to have an opinion one way or the other. Although it is my opinion that Kristen looks exactly like the blond woman “scientist” from the Pumaman episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Anyone with me on that?
The soccer failures slooowly make their way to the top in their jaunty gondolas, and as they cross the finish line together the big question is whether or not Mark and Kristen have already gotten there. Smuggy gestures to the top of the hill, and after a suspenseful ten minute pause, Mark and Kristen emerge from the bushes.
At lunch, Paul attacks Bobby for his uselessness, yelling that you can’t claim to be a great soccer player if you can not, in fact, run. Because, you know, running is sort of a big part of soccer, and by a big part I mean the ENTIRE part. Bobby’s only defense is that he kicked the ball really far. What are you, seven? Eventually he just starts sulking really hard, which I really enjoy. In fact, the more Bobby sulks, the happier I feel. I should make it my screensaver.
Later on in the hotel room, the team continues to fight with each other. Paul continues to smarmily needle his teammates, telling off Victoria with a truly inspired “Screw you! How bout that?” They keep fighting back and forth and it gets really heated, so they’ll probably be sleeping together by the end of this season. Paul just sits there and mugs for the camera and reaffirms his status as Token Asshole. I gotta say, I’m getting really sick of the Token Asshole always being the Token Outspoken Obnoxious Italian Dude From Brooklyn Named Paul Or Paulie. Reality television has done far more damage to Italian-American stereotypes than The Sopranos ever did.
“Where’s my pasta fazoool??”
Oh, and Victoria takes us out to commercial with a hilarious “I’m used to people like that. I work in retail.” Sing it, sister. I once was working a cash register and a woman came in and demanded that I give her change to purchase a tampon RIGHT NOW or so help her God, she would bleed all over the floor. Charming industry, that retail.
The next morning, in a village called Pomaire, the team gets their next mission. They are led to an arena and told by Lord Smugly that one of Pomaire’s best potters has lost fifty of her little ceramic piggy banks. The Mole has left one of those delightfully corny ransom notes that says that the day they find them all will be the day that pigs fly. Get it? Eh? “FIND THOSE PIGS!” Smugface screams. Then, with a foppish flourish, adds, “Bring home the bacon!” I gotta give it to him, he commits to the bit. Anderson always read such lines sardonically, with a hilariously understated eye roll. God, I miss him.
The group is to break up into two teams: Ham It Up (groan), and Bring Home the Bacon (GROAN). Ham It Up is to go into the village, find the pigs (worth $1,000 each), bring them back, and load them into a slingshot, thereby making pigs fly (AHHH), while the Bring Home The Bacon team (Paul and Liz) is to catch said pigs in a blanket (MAKE IT STOP). He leaves one pig on the table to get them started – $1,000 already in the pot – and notes that there is one more exemption in play during this challenge. Which, as we Mole pros already know, means it’s sitting right there inside that pig. Their timekeepers for this challenge will be the potter and her son, who will be making twelve ceramic pigs, which should take about an hour. Aw. I want a random Chilean woman to make me pigs on demand. “Make the tail curlier!” I’d scream at her.
The teams take off into the village, three teams of three. Somehow Bobby and Craig ended up on the same team and immediately falls behind. Craig suggests that Bobby, yet again unable to run, climb into the wheelbarrow and get pushed by Kristen. Which he does. Wow. Just, wow. The others, who have actually managed to reach the village, are now having trouble with the language barrier. But Alex speaks fluent Spanish, and is able to get a ton of pigs. They start raking them in. Meanwhile, some cameraman whose hand I’d like to firmly shake gets a hilarious shot of Kristen pushing Bobby across the screen in the wheelbarrow, then a pause of about five seconds, then Craig chugging along behind them. Genius.
You do realize that this is going to be nationally televised, right Bobby?
Team Useless finally gets to a shop and starts pawing through the guy’s wares. He tries to tell them, in Spanish, that someone already came and took the pig, to which Bobby responds, “My name is Robert.” HA. They run into Alex’s Superteam, and Bobby makes the surprisingly good suggestion that his team takes the others’ pigs and bring them back to the arena, while Alex stays and finds some more. Alex refuses and presses on, which is a rather Moley thing to do, but on the other hand is maybe just a wise choice, because trusting any of these yahoos to competently accomplish a simple task would be a huge mistake. Bobby complains in interview that Alex just wanted to show off: “Okay, we get it, you speak Spanish. But you suck at life.” Cut immediately to Bobby taking the term “astronomical failure” to a whole new level by uselessly jaunting around in his wheelbarrow. Editors, I tip my hat to you.
Bobby suddenly dewheelbarrows, apparently due to a debilitating, pants-clutching case of diarrhea:
Shouldn’t have had that third enchilada.
While the pig teams get lost (come ON, people), Paul contemplates the lone pig, which has something rattling around inside. Liz, once again completely clueless, says that maybe it’s a coin for good luck. Oh, grandma. You’re so stupid. Paul summons up his one useful brain cell and smashes the pig, which of course has the exemption inside.
Ah, the Asshole Of The Year Award comes in the form of a Chuck E. Cheese token this year. Convenient.
Alex’s team returns with an abundance of pigs, while Adorable Potter Woman works on her eighth pig. Hot damn, she’s efficient. I wonder how she feels about the fact that several hours worth of her work is about to be smashed all over the place for no reason. No matter! Alex loads the slingshot and immediately begins failing all over the place. No pigs are caught. Craig, Kristen, and Gimpy Bobby arrive. Upon witnessing the travesty that this challenge has become, Craig wrassles the lead away from Alex and shows them all how to properly use the slingshot, and the money starts racking up. “I never thought that being able to use a three-person water balloon slingshot would be able to win me money, but all those years in summer camp really paid off,” Craig says. Haha, I like Craig. He’s probably the Mole.
Adorable Potter finishes the twelfth and final pig, while the team finishes launching theirs. Smugatron gives the results: Team 1 brought back 26, Team 2 brought back 18, and Team Useless brought back zero. Paul says that it is disgusting that a “so-called man” had to be pushed around by a woman in a wheelbarrow. Because women are supposed to be in the kitchen, dammit! Where the hell is my chicken paaahhhm?
Later on that night, we happen upon a rather disturbing scene: Craig filming Bobby in bed. WTF? Whose decision was it to give cameras to these yahoos? I doubt they possess the skills required to operate doorknobs, let alone complex electronics. Anyway, Craig and Bobby are currently giddy with joy (or possibly post-coital bliss) over the fact that Alex left his journal in the room. Bobby in particular is thrilled that Alex, the “smartest player in the game”, was stupid enough to leave his journal lying around. Okay, Bobby. Listen: A) the only person who keeps insisting that Alex thinks that he’s the best player in the game is you, B) he obviously left it there on purpose, and C) buy a Stairmaster, for Christ’s sake. Your legs look like those of a friggin’ giraffe.
“Show me your “exemption’, Bobby.”
Meanwhile, Alex is in another room playing a skinny guitar (skinny guitar = skinny legs = Bobby is the mole!) and singing a song that honest to God contains the lyrics: “Mole hunting isn’t easy to do…” Well neither is vomiting into my mouth, Alex, but that’s just what you’ve forced me into. He says that he left the journal there on purpose to screw with them, while Paul looks on with admiration. Is it just me, or is this shaping up to be the gayest Mole season ever?
How do you sing “I’m a tool” in Spanish?
After an uneventful dinner that for some reason contains an inordinate number of Waldo-inspired fashions:
the kids take their quiz. Best question of the week: “During ‘When Pigs Fly’, was the Mole transported in a wheelbarrow for the majority of the time?” HA! Even the producers hate Bobby! Let’s punch and kick him!
The execution takes place at a cemetery. SYMBOLISM! I’m sure the dead and buried are mighty proud that their eternal resting place is now hosting a random American game show. Who said there’s no dignity in death? Anyway, the execution process begins, and long story short, it is Liz who will join the legions of nearby Chilean corpses.
Farewell, Liz. We’ll miss your fluffiness, Werther’s Originals, and old person smell.
After the requisite goodbye from SmugJon and the team eulogy, it’s time for what is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the show: the group confessional. It’s like a personal interview, but instead of saying nasty things about people you hate in a private little booth, you say it out loud right in front of them! Let’s see what this week’s saga brings, shall we?
Paul hates on Nicole and Bobby! Bobby shoots back that some people should try to be a little classier! Paul counters that being wheeled around in a wheelbarrow (by a WOMAN) isn’t exactly the definition of classy either! Nicole threatens to KILL Paul while he SLEEPS! And then adds that she could really do it, without leaving any FORENSIC EVIDENCE!! WTF??? Paul calls her out on being all talk, yet she responds with a scathing yet bafflingly moronic “Okay, wake up DEAD”!
Mark delights young and old alike with his Oompa Loompa chipmunk impression! This is MADNESS!
Oh man. Only the second episode and we’re already off to a truly amazing start. I never suspected Liz in the first place (did anyone?) so no big shocker there. At the moment I’m thinking Clay would make a pretty good Mole, as would Kristen or maybe Victoria. It seems to me that in seasons past, the Mole has always shown more of a tendency to fly under the radar, rather than speak fluent Spanish or travel exclusively via wheelbarrow or threaten to kill someone in their sleep without leaving any forensic evidence. Just a hunch.
Okay, everyone quickly tell me what you think, then hurry out to your nearest Home Depot because those wheelbarrows are going to start flying off the shelves. I’ve already bought three!