Exclusive: Alex Jacobs talks about his 'The Mole' experience
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/16/2008
Alex Jacobs approached The Mole like a game of Russian roulette.
Unfortunately for him there was finally a bullet in the chamber, as the 31-year-old musician from Haverford, PA became the seventh player executed from The Mole's fifth season during Monday night's broadcast of the ABC reality series.
On Tuesday, Alex talked to Reality TV World about his risky approach to taking the quizzes; how he used his journal as a decoy to throw off the other players; how it was simply bad luck that he never claimed an exemption; his take on the remaining players trying to out the fifth-season saboteur; and how participating in the show was like being cast for a James Bond film.
Reality TV World: Immediately after Jon revealed you were executed, you said, "I knew it." Why were so sure that you were going to be executed?
Alex: At that point in time when I said that, I really did think I was going home. I was playing the game like it was Russian roulette, and you can only go all in so many times. I knew that night I went all in again when I probably should have played a few odds. But I didn't.
[Editor's note: Due to the nature of The Mole's format, ABC would not allow Reality TV World to question which player Alex had believed to be the season's saboteur.]
Reality TV World: You also commented that you played the game "really dangerously." Was that an approach you consciously took? I know you just mentioned you should have played the odds more, so I'm assuming that in hindsight you wish you would have been a bit more cautious.
Alex: In a way, definitely. You can always think you want to play the game differently in hindsight. But I think there's a part where you have to be risky to get to the next point. But you can't keep doing that. Also you kind of get caught up in the moment of what you're doing and you're kind of like, "Oh wait, I should have paid attention to that. It's so obvious!" I knew it, I just kind of had my blinders on.
Reality TV World: Were you aware of Mark and Clay's plan to feed you wine before you watched Monday night's episode? If not, what was your reaction when you saw it?
Alex: I thought that was funny. What's happening there, we don't really have food -- so we may have beer instead of food. (laughing) There's only a certain amount of carbohydrates you can land in on and put in your body. But that was interesting. Actually, that was probably the one quiz that I didn't imbibe too much on.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you don't think that had any bearing on the way you took the quiz and the fact that you were subsequently executed?
Alex: Definitely not. But that's funny how they were doing that and they thought that. It was cute.
Reality TV World: You seemed to get along really well with Paul for the most part. Why do you think that was the case seeing as how he generally seemed to rub most people the wrong way?
Alex: I always say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But Paul, I'm from the east coast so I know Paul's type. I could be Paul's type if I really wanted to be, maybe. I kind of found it like, "Wow, he takes it to the next level." I kind of let him play his game to aid my game as well -- just feed off of his energy and see how people react to him and see where I can come in and punch in.
Reality TV World: Is that a strategy you think worked well?
Alex: It definitely did. We had a good bond. We're both from the east coast, kind of the same age, coming from the same area almost. We definitely had a little bond, but I hung out with everyone in one way or another. He and I were close, but I kind of let him play his game.
He did go over the top, so I had to step out. Finally he did kind of get to me at the end. Tensions were really high. I had to kind of just go, "Okay, I've got to re-check Paul and how I deal with him." So I was in that process, but I didn't really get the chance. (laughing)
Reality TV World: You called Nicole your "A No. 1" suspect during last night's episode. Could you talk a little bit about your thoughts on Nicole as a player? Some of the other players have mentioned she acts differently in-front of the camera and away from it.
Alex: Nicole's an interesting suspect and an interesting player. She's very intelligent, the way she plays the game. She was very aware of how people perceive her I think right off the bat -- right when the cameras started rolling and stopped rolling. When she's on camera she'll know how to play the cameras. Then off camera she was different. It's interesting to see how she plays that game. She's very intelligent.
Reality TV World: Since you were on the "selfless" team with Craig during the "Midas Rush" mission, what was your take on him needing medical attention? Did you ever suspect he was lying as some sort of strategy?
Alex: Craig's an interesting player as well. I didn't for one minute think that he was faking at all. But at the same time, I thought, "Okay, if this is some The Mole strategy it's pretty evil." (laughing) But you think in your head, "Would it be that evil? Could that be the case?" But you also feel for the guy. He's such a loveable guy that you can't help but just be concerned for him. In that situation, we walked up and climbed up the moment. I was there and he was hurting. So there was definitely no faking on his part.
Reality TV World: When you left Mark alone during the "All for One" mission, did you think he would take the exemption instead of the cash for the pot?
Alex: Honestly at that point I was freezing.
Reality TV World: Okay, so you just wanted out of there?
Alex: I wanted out of there. I had a thought in my mind that he wouldn't take [the exemption] because he's a family man, he has people to answer to. "Why did you do that? That's not nice." But then again he's the last guy there, so it wouldn't have been a major issue.
But I think, again, for his mental game or the way the rest of the players were perceiving how he would play the game from that point on if he had taken exemption, it would have been difficult for him. So I think he really thought that through and played that well, so that way he's still in with the rest of the players. Nobody can single him out and hate him, call him "exemption boy."
Reality TV World: Were you surprised with the way Craig handed out methods of transportation during the "Travelers" mission? Were you surprised at how easily the group ended up deciding not to do it?
Alex: We all at that point were very frustrated with life, I think. (laughing) But I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back for all of us. Mine wasn't too tough, it was kind of fun and cool. I figured, "Let's do it and see what's up the road. There's got to be something." I was hoping Mark would throw the tank on and put the flippers on and make some funny remarks as we tried to get to the next point. But at that point it had just all hit the fan and there was nothing stopping it. You just kind of roll with it and see what comes next.
Reality TV World: Did you agree with Craig's opinion that Mark seemed to be the ringleader behind that or was it more of a group decision?
Alex: Mark definitely kind of instigated some things, but it was a communal thing at that point. Mark was kind of pushing and pushing, but at that point everybody was just like, "Come on!"
Reality TV World: You seemed to be the only player who was actually willing to give that mission a try, and even commented how there might have been a twist to it had everybody just tried. Did you ever learn if there was in fact a twist awaiting you?
Alex: No, we never really learned. But on our way there, I could kind of tell that there might have been. But we never really were told and never learned, but there most likely, definitely was a good twist there. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Earlier in the season several of the other players accused you of trying to take a leadership role in the group. Were you trying to be a leader and, if so, what was your thinking behind that?
Alex: You develop a strategy as you play the game and your strategy changes as you play the game. So I always kind of found the ball being dropped, I'm the kind of person that would jump and grab it and say, "Okay, let's do this, let's do this" until I fall flat on my face or I'm successful. So that's kind of my strategy -- get it done and in the process, see how it happens.
Reality TV World: You never claimed an exemption during your time on the show. Was that just coincidence or was it actually a strategy on your part?
Alex: Well everybody wants an exemption. (laughing) It was just an interesting fact that I didn't get one. I wish I had one in that last one.
I was playing my game and I was feeling very confident and it was working, but apparently I was just getting by by the seat of my pants. So exemptions always help, but that's not the main goal. But yeah. I would have liked one.
Reality TV World: You left your journal laying around for other players to read and was also quick to volunteer your journal to presumably be burned. Could you talk a little bit about the strategy involved in those moves? I'm assuming your journal wasn't very important to you while taking the quizzes. Is that right?
Alex: Well the journal was a good decoy for me I think because a lot of players rely on their journals heavily, and I didn't at all. So I took a few notes just to keep it cool but it was almost like right off the bat you could use the way you handled these journals -- the way you looked at them, the way you flipped through the pages -- almost as a complete decoy and try to throw people off.
It was working left and right with people, and other players -- I think -- were doing it. I mainly used it that way. I kept some notes in there but nothing major. I left it in the room definitely to throw those guys off and it worked with a few of them -- Bobby was going, so that was pretty cool. (laughing)
I tried to even push it more, but they could have definitely burned the journal. I didn't need it at that point in time, and then boom, it was a big twist.
Reality TV World: We saw you use your fluency in Spanish a few times, most notably during the "Dress Code" mission. Was that something you knew would help you going into the competition? Was it as big of a help as you thought it would be?
Alex: Without as doubt, knowing Spanish and being in South America was an added bonus, from getting off the airplane to running through the streets trying to get the clothes off people's backs. (laughing) It was definitely a key artillery [piece] for me and it definitely came in handy.
Reality TV World: Was there anything you expected to be shown that wasn't?
Alex: I like the Bobby-O song last night. That was great. (laughing) We'll see what else happens. I'm not sure. What's great is there are things popping up that I can't even remember. It's great, so I'm excited to see what happens next. Most definitely.
Alex: Basically I was cast through MySpace. I just went through the process -- I submitted a video, wrote a song. The next thing you know, I find myself in Los Angeles, California and then I find myself in Los Angeles, Chile. (laughing)
Reality TV World: Had you been a fan of The Mole during its first two seasons? What about the celebrity installments?
Alex: It's funny, I never thought of myself as a fan of the show. But I was. When it was around I remember watching it, but then I kind of forgot about it. I remember the celebrity editions, and I definitely watched those. Now I've become a super fan -- an uber fan -- now that I'm a player. I definitely was a fan when it came out, I watched the show. I thought they were great. But I was never as much of a fan as I am now, that's for sure.
Reality TV World: What did you think would be your strong points and what areas of your game play were you concerned about?
Alex: I think strong points going in were obviously being able to speak Spanish and hopefully people skills -- how I can just kind of communicate with a group of people or trying to be the jester. If it works it works.
It's funny - -a bit of ying and yang -- I can speak a lot and get everybody laughing, but at the same time I'm also kind of shy and don't want to let anybody on the inside. I was kind of working on being able to open myself up to new experiences and new people, and then also being able to have a good time.
Reality TV World: What's the reaction been like by your friends and family members who watched you on the show?
Alex: They're all ecstatic and glad I haven't ended up looking like a total jerk. (laughing) So I think they're all happy about that. But they all love the show, friends and family are all getting together and watching the show. It's just kind of spreading like wildfire throughout the community. It's really good to see. It's great. The family loves it.
Reality TV World: Overall, what was your favorite memory from the experience?
Alex: Besides jumping off a bridge? (laughing) The long hours, the moments where you wake-up in the morning not knowing what's going to happen next, knowing that all you know is you'll hopefully be fed and you'll have water. The ambiguity of it all was such a big adventure. It was like being in a James Bond movie. What's the next scene? What's going to happen? It was an amazing time.