TV Review: The Mole

TV Review: The Mole

Can a Christian win a show about lying?

By Mark HadleyWednesday 10 Jul 2013TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

The Seven Network has launched its long-awaited reality show that’s built around deception. From the outset it seems that the most deceptive player is set to be the most successful. But will a Christian competitor manage to win the audience, even if he doesn’t win the game? 

Can a Christian win a game about lying?

The Mole
has got to be the safest television format a broadcaster ever conceived of. The series begins with a total ‘potential’ prize for the 12 contestants to compete for, though they have to build towards it by adding dollars to the pot with every successful task completed. If they fail at the task, there’s less money to win. To make matters harder one of the contestants has been hired by the producers as ‘the mole’. Their sole job is to secretly frustrate the team efforts and further reduce the pot. The winner of whatever is left will be the contestant who successfully identifies the saboteur. 

Seven must have been feeling particularly frugal this year considering the potential prize money it’s put up for The Mole’s sixth season. For the past two seasons the potential pot was half a million dollars but this has slipped substantially to $250,000 this year. Over the five preceding seasons the winner has walked away with less than half of what was on offer, so in reality it’s a lot of work for much less than Deal Or No Deal offers every weeknight. 

And what do competitors have to do to win? In a word, lie.

The mole is lying about their identity throughout, and the rest of the competitors are generally lying about themselves so that their teammates vote for the wrong person. In the debut episode most of the twelve players were at pains to assure the audience just what great liars they were – somewhat depressing, really. But the interesting dark horse is New South Wales AFL development officer Sam.

Sam is an unashamed Christian and is allowing his faith to dictate his tactics in the game:

“The hardest rule in this game in regards to my religion is simply not to lie. It’s a strong commandment in the Bible and it’s hard here because this is essentially a game of lies. But The Mole can be won without lying.”

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Rather than spin falsehoods about himself, Sam has determined to just listen to the other players and see if he can pick who is being inconsistent. For his own part, he sees no need to mislead people in order to get ahead:

“I’m attempting to not lie and I’ve discovered that if you just don’t open your mouth you don’t lie. If someone asks me a question I just don’t want to answer I don’t say anything.”

I’m not sure if it’s amusing or depressing that the Seven Network has had to create distance between Sam’s stance and mainstream Christianity (as they understand it) by describing his faith as ‘devout’ and ‘strict’ by comparison. We’re used to the world playing loose with the truth. In fact most of The Mole’s competitors seem to see lying as a casual, even entertaining pastime. But are there really Christians who think that God is flexible on the truth? And that’s not the only contrast Sam offers. He is convinced that God may have him in the game for some goal other than the rapidly diminishing prize money. “If God wants me to win then I’ll win. If not, I’m not fussed,” he says. “I believe God has put me here for a reason.” And so do I.

Rating: PG
Distributor: The Seven Network
Release Date: Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 7:30 PM; Thursdays 8:00 PM