The Seven Network has launched its long-awaited reality show that’s built around deception. From the outset, it seems 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?
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 Lord among the liars
The mole is lying about their identity throughout, and the rest of the competitors are generally lying about themselves, in the hope 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.”
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?
Sam 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.
Watching The Mole with your kids
If this reality TV show takes off in your family then consider using one of these conversation-starters:
- Why is truth such an important thing?
- Is lying something you can put down and pick up as these competitors think?
- Why do you think God is so serious about the truth?