Exclusive: Host Jon Kelley dishes on 'The Mole' fifth-season cast
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/29/2008
If you're looking for insight on The Mole's identity for the show's upcoming revival, new host Jon Kelley is a good place to start.
"I got to know these players on a different level and know their psychology and also observe their game play," Jon told Reality TV World in a Wednesday interview. "Most of these players came in as fans of the show, so they've seen it and knew it. They had different ways to approach it. These were pretty smart players understanding the nuances of this game. So I got to get up close and personal, know them."
The Mole's fifth season -- the show's first non-celebrity edition in six years -- will premiere Monday, June 2 at 10PM ET/PT on ABC, with the 12 contestants competing in new missions at new locations while trying to determine who among them is The Mole -- a saboteur trying to keep them from winning money in the game.
The following are Jon's comments on each of The Mole's 12 fifth-season contestants.
Alex, a 31-year-old musician from Haverford, PA
Jon: He's the artist/musician-type guy. No real confrontations, kind of stayed under the radar but also was clever, very funny. He was the type of guy, I think he had good skills and elements to stay for a long time simply because he was smart, funny but likeable. He was someone who could align himself and do some things. But also him being a performer, he understood playing to an audience. A great vibe and a funny cat.
Ali, a 24-year-old model from St. Louis, MO
Jon: She's one of those showstoppers who walks in a room and guys and girls look at. She's in great shape, works out. So she came in with this thing that either you wanted to hang around her and inhale everything she's about or you might have been a little intimidated by her looks. But once she opened her mouth, she's so sweet and charming. Very cool, but smart. You know how a beautiful woman can do things and screw a guy's head up. I think she was smart enough to know that could be part of what she did, even though she didn't flaunt it. She was subtle about it. So she was someone that was very intriguing with the way that she carried herself but also just the vibe that she walked in with would take people.
Bobby, a 25-year-old restaurant manager from Philadelphia, PA
Jon: All of the players I think were fans of the show in some respect, but Bobby? He lived and breathed The Mole. He used to have The Mole parties when it was on -- he'd host The Mole parties. They would have their own games and play along with the groups of people they had. This was a dream come true for this guy, so it was interesting to watch someone who knew so much about the game and had a specific game plan of what he wanted to do coming in. But you couldn't tell if that would help him or hurt him because he knew too much, as opposed to someone who was blindly flying through it. I love the fact that he arrived at the utopian situation as a fan and now actually instead of watching it, he was the guy being watched.
Clay, a 32-year-old criminal litigation attorney from Philadelphia, PA
Jon: He's one of those walk tall, carry a big stick. But he could keep it cool and calm. He's a decent-sized guy, very smart. But he was like the quiet storm. You never knew where Clay was coming from because he didn't say a lot but he was there inhaling everything. He's a lawyer, so he was smart enough to be observant and take notes. He was very, very specific and direct about any information he gave -- if he gave any. We'd have some dinners, and I'm prodding him and I'm like, "This is like being at the dentist's office!" He played it close to the vest and I think he probably believed that worked for him.
Craig, a 30-year-old graphic designer San Diego, CA
Jon: Craig was our resident comedian. He could turn it on. He was like Chris Farley, and he actually did a great Chris Farley impersonation. So he was Dr. Feel Good. If something was going bananas or there was some tension in the air, he'd bust in with a one-liner that would melt everybody's heart and get everybody laughing again. Great comedian -- very, very likable. Sometimes under the radar though as far as what his game plan might be. But he was really really endearing, smart and he challenged himself. I think he probably lost 25 or 30 pounds on this, which he felt good about. I saw his self-esteem grow as the show went -- this big guy who went into those challenges and wanted to accomplish every mission. Some of these things are hard physically, and for a guy his size -- over 300 pounds -- it would have been easy for him to just bow out of the field. But he took it like he wanted to own it. Also, throughout the game he started to do impersonations of me. They started out pretty weak, but by the end of it, he was pretty good.
Kristen, a 35-year-old neuroscientist from Santa Monica, CA
Jon: She's a neuroscientist, smart and tall -- one of those statuesque blondes. She came in the beginning, another showstopper. But I think her thing was because she's intelligent -- and she never did it in an off-putting way -- but immediately after you would stop speaking with her, you'd get the idea that this is one sharp lady. So she came in kind of quiet but very likable. I don't think anybody had a problem with her and I don't know if that was part of her game or if she was just genuinely nice. But she was one of those that had great brains and was very athletic. Between she and Mark, they were probably the best athletes we had. The players knew that and would cast her for certain missions and make sure she had something to do. So a great combination of brains, athletics and looks.
Liz, a retired 60-year-old from Whitefish, MT
Jon: Liz was our resident comedian No. 2. She called herself, "little-old lady from the South," and she had the mouth of a sailor and she took pride in it. The first night she was there when they shared this cabin, she had to warn everybody she had no problem passing gas. That became one of her calling cards. She was this loveable, grandma that kind of became the den mother of the group. She was great to play along with -- and with her Southern drawl and charm, it'd be easy to get caught in her web if you didn't know what happened."
Marcie, a 31-year-old stay-at-home mom from Corona, CA
Jon: She's a mother of three, and she was just a joy and a thrill to be around. She had told the story -- I got a chance to see all their audition reels -- and she talked about who has never been married and lived this life of traveling the world. But Marcie got married young, had three kids and never had the opportunity. So this is her chance. She hesitated even going on this because she didn't want to leave her family. Her family was like, "Look, this is your chance to go out in the world. Do it and do it for us." So she really wanted bad to do this, experience the world and make her family proud. She was just sweet, genuine -- one of those people you can really, really get to like. But at the same time, those are the ones that allow you to fool them. So I think people because of who she was always looked at her a little sideways going, "Is this The Mole? I think this might be The Mole."
Mark, a 42-year-old high school history teacher and soccer coach from Mukwonago, WI
Jon: Mark is a teacher and a soccer coach. This guy basically drinks coffee all day -- drinks Coke and coffee -- so he's wired. His DNA's that way. He's a coach and an athlete and a leader -- and that comes through every pore in his body. Just every day he'd be Dr. Intensity. He's also a great cheerleader, but then at the same time because of his intensity, he would be so focused on the game that he could just pop on something and be like, "We've got to do this!" He's one of those guys who could be endearing yet he can also be overbearing. I think he used that to his advantage. He was funny. Kathy Griffin -- in [Celebrity Mole: Hawaii] -- she described Corbin Bernsen as the soccer coach dad with the veins popping out of his neck. Mark wasn't quite that, but he was the guy that was the driving energy force. Very, very focused -- sharp, smart and particular. He paid attention to every detail. He was a guy that used his journal like it was the Holy Grail. He just used that for detail, detail, detail. Right off the bat I thought this guy would be interesting to watch, he'd be a great element for the show, and probably a guy that has a lot of great ways to play the game.
Nicole, a 32-year-old OB/GYN doctor from Chicago, IL
Jon: Nicole, she's the OB/GYN. She called herself, "Dr. Diva." She made it known right off the bat that this was her world and if anybody else wanted to be a part of it they needed to check with her at the door and see if she could get them on the list. That was her attitude, and she played that to a T. She came into it saying, "I've decided the character I want to be and I'm going to run with it. I'm going to be somebody people can look at as a villain." But she was also smart enough -- because she works with patients -- she'd play both sides. Son one day, when the cameras were on, she'd be going and going and playing this hardcore role. Then when the cameras were off, she'd be nice and friendly with some of the players. So she kept everybody confused. I think that was her game and I think, from what I can tell, she played it pretty damn well.
Paul, a 29-year-old machinist from Yonkers, NY
Jon: Paul is your typical New Yorker -- great guy, great energy, wears his emotions on his sleeve, and he came in and laid down the law too. Similar to what Nicole did, even though they did it in different ways. He came in and said, "Look, this is a game, $500,000 on the line, I've got a family to raise. I'm coming in and I'm coming for the money. If I piss you off, I'm sorry. It's nothing personal. But I'm coming for you." So he made it known with that bravado that New Yorkers have. A great character for the show, but very smart. he and Nicole were the only two players who wrote very little. It's almost like they used their journals to draw cartoons in or something because they said, "I'm just going to play this on raw emotion and instinct." So they didn't use their journals as much. It's impressive. You have a doctor doing that and then this guy who's got a blue-collar mentality, rough-them-up in the streets. They played similar games but in completely different ways. He's great. The New Yorker who thinks the world stops and starts in New York.
Victoria, a 26-year-old retail manager from Bishop, TX
Jon: She's a sweet one from Texas. Very, very funny. She's the type, like a perfect little cheerleader from college that everybody would enjoy. But she had the zingers. She'd catch you off guard and say things that would let you know, "Wow, this one can come out swinging when she wants to -- in a nice, subtle way." She can beat you up and make you smile while she was doing it. She played the game in a great way. One of those charming people -- which I think is a big part of this game -- that made it difficult to tell exactly what kind of game she was playing.