In search of the deeper logic of ‘Wie is de Mol?’

Can I still start with my New Year’s resolution, or should I keep itachievable, this television season? A new episode traditionally starts on thefirst Saturday of January Who is the mole? , this year for the 23rd time. AsI’ve stated before, I don’t get the program, I don’t get the excitement aroundit, and quite frankly I don’t want to get it. Or wanted to, I should say,because this year I intend to delve into the logic of this game with tencandidates, always well-known Dutch people, who have to complete assignmentstogether to earn money. Among them is one, no one knows who, who is secretlysabotaging things. Who that is, the candidates have to find out, and the fewmillion Dutch people who are watching guess to their heart’s content.

I can’t promise that I’ll be sitting in front of the TV with a notebook to jotdown every clue, no matter how brief. I also don’t have the app where you canearn points with Mol vision and suspicions. I don’t listen to the podcast(yet) and I wasn’t planning to watch it on Sunday evenings Mole tricks ayouth spin-off in which Lavezzi Rutjes systematically checks which of thecandidates behaves suspiciously and could well be the mole.

Saturday, first episode, I was ready. The first hurdle is always: do I knowall the celebrities? Not all, but at least eight by name. Actors andpresenters are often overrepresented, this time too, and this year’s topathlete is Ranomi Kromowidjojo, the swimmer. This time there was also ajournalist among them, Daniël Verlaan, an investigative journalist after all.

Maybe that’s what’s eating at me so much, the whole idea that I should havethe skills to detect the Mole in-house. A little journalist can observe, youwould say. Always a bit of an outsider, the one who can listen, has knowledgeof people, has an eye for details, looks closely, does not judge (tooquickly). And how nice is it to experience on a Saturday night that you failon all those fronts?


Of course it could also be that my worldview is wrong, after all, distrust isthe engine of journalism, and behind every sheep there is a mole. And thatidea is exactly what the makers of De Mol actively encourage. Everything issuspicious and there can be a clue in everything. From the title of theepisode (Connection) to the names of the assignments (Pokerface, The GoldenMean), whether a candidate is too fanatical or too relaxed.

Maddening and exhausting. I think so, but I didn’t quit this time, Ipersevered to the end. A bit high to follow immediately Mol talc it seemedto me, in which the entire episode is completely rehashed in the studio withtwo presenters and three guests – all former participants. I saved that halfhour of collective conspiracy thinking until Sunday.

Almost every name passed by as a possible Mole, even the first dropout SarahJanneh was not exonerated – while the Mole is the only one who can never besent home. But, someone cleverly said, Sarah wasn’t going home, she gotanother chance to stay in the game at the end of this first episode.“Brilliant”, they thought in the studio. If it turns out that Sarah remains inthe game in episode two, no one will suspect her.

Just looking is not enough, I had imposed active participation on myself. So Ihave a Mole in mind. Annick Boer. Actress. She was immediately called AnnickPanic because she shouted at the very first assignment that she was”completely overwrought”. Apart from the fact that I understand that verywell, I found her so-called muddledness extremely suspicious.