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Series / Holey Moley

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Putt up or shut up.

"Welcome to the Thunderdome of mini golf."

Holey Moley is a series on ABC created by Chris Culvenor that premiered in 2019. It pits various miniature golf pros and enthusiasts alike against a mini-golf course taken to the extreme with super-sized challenges and obstacles to conquer.

All of the contestants seek the coveted $25,000 grand prize, along with a snazzy plaid jacket and golden putter. With two Large Ham Announcers, Joe Tessitore and Rob Riggle providing cheesy commentary and a lot of self-deprecating humor about contestants and the game, it values fun and camaraderie above all else.

Executive producer, basketball player, and experienced golf player Stephen Curry frequently appears to hog the spotlight and assist the golfers.

The series returned the next year for a second season as Holey Moley II: the Sequel, with even more wacky gimmicks, a slimmer number of golfers to accelerate the game's progression, and a championship putt for $250,000 at the end of the competition. Third and fourth seasons were filmed back-to-back, with the third releasing in 2021 as Holey Moley: 3D in 2D and the fourth in 2022 as Holey Moley: Fore-Ever!

On January 21, 2021, Rob Riggle, Joe Tessitore, and Jeannie Mai appeared on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune to compete for charity. In May 2022, Riggle and Tessitore hosted The American Rescue Dog Show, also on ABC.

Tropes featured in Holey Moley include:

  • Aborted Arc: The Sequel was going to have a subplot where Stephen was busy building a special hole, The Tomb of Nefer-Tee-Tee, for the Grand Finale, with segments checking in on him at the construction site. While the idea is still mentioned, the segments had to be axed and replaced when COVID-19 lockdowns kept them from being filmed.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of hardcore athletic competitions like American Ninja Warrior and The Titan Games. The creator stated that he wanted to make a show that was a counterpoint to them by featuring a silly sport that anyone could play.
  • Anticlimax: After being hyped up all season, both Joe and Rob admit that the Tomb of Nefer-Tee-Tee in The Sequel was underwhelming for a big championship hole.
  • Art Shift: The large majority of Stephen's appearances in The Sequel are animated instead of in-person, since he couldn't get on-set before COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect. This even extends into the closing ceremonies where the winning contestant is also animated when they receive their jacket and golden putter.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Rob thinks this way of a golfer named Blake Sledge in 3D in 2D; always saying his name with added emphasis and talking about him as if he were an action hero. And he got to do so in two episodes, since "Blake Sledge!" made the finals.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: A course introduced in Fore-Ever!, Big Foot Wedge, is themed after Bigfoot; contestants have to ride a literal big foot as it swings, attempting to jump off and land on a giant golf ball. Bigfoot himself can be seen idling around the green; a running gag is Rob being the only one to notice Bigfoot, and Joe not believing him.
  • Blind Without 'Em: One golfer in the first season takes a dip in the water in the Arc de Trigolf hole and loses his glasses at the bottom of the water hazard. Production brings in the pool fishing nets and pauses the competition until they find the glasses so he can putt.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The announcers usually make a joke at Course Marshall Joe's expense at the times when he appears on the course. The animated segments in The Sequel also often subject him to cartoony pratfalls. In an Imagine Spot in 3D in 2D, Rob crushes Course Marshall Joe's car with a monster truck.
    • Joey, the designated loser on the Diving Range hole in The Sequel. The hole makes golfers (Joey and two others) do a high dive, with the worst being ejected before they even get to putt. The gag is that Joey dives far better than the other golfers, but the diving judges and Rob rant about how bad he is and Joe is the Only Sane Man who thinks he's any good.
    • On Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune Jeannie Mai called out Rob and Joe for campaigning to get a heated indoor commentator's box while she was stuck out in the field in the cold.
    • In Holey Moley: Fore-Ever!, Rob becomes The Chew Toy, with the higher-ups attempting to oust him from the show, doing everything to slash his treasured reputation. His parking place is crossed out and taken away, he has no star on Holeywood, Trap-tee-ze has a dummy of him on a trapeze, and it appears that they're trying to recast his job to Travis Kelce.
  • Call-Back: The Parcade in 3D in 2D is styled like a pinball machine that has obstacles referencing holes from the previous two seasons (the Log Roll, Uranus, Putter Ducky, and the Tomb of Nefer-Tee-Tee).
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Rob often says some pretty weird stuff, with Joe acting as his Straight Man. Like when one golfer had "Avocado" as a nickname; Rob continually pronounced it as "a-VOC-a-doo" and speculated as to its meaning even as Joe tried to correct him.
  • The Comically Serious: Both Joe and Rob mine a lot of humor out of making absolutely absurd statements with straight faces.
  • Company Cross References: Joe and Rob wear the same yellow jackets that ABC's 1970s sports commentators did in shows like Wide World Of Sports. 3D in 2D makes another reference with a ski-jump-themed hole called Agony of Defeat, referring to the famous line from Wide World's opening and accompanying clip of a ski jump wipeout.
  • Crossover: A really weird one with The Bachelor in The Sequel. It featured Chris Harrison as a guest commentator, and all the players were single men and women, with the girls exchanging their high heels for golf trainers and concluding with a "date" between the remaining man and woman on Double Dutch Courage (the girl actually went after the lifeguard instead!).
  • Cutting Corners: Evidently, the budget ran out with the lackluster Beaver Creek in The Sequel, which was just a spinning column over blue cushions as opposed to water. Even the paint was coming off during gameplay. The announcers were encouraged to make jokes at its expense as the hole's shtick, and it's no surprise that this hole was ranked as the least popular at the end of the competition.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A contestant on King Parthur's Court wedged himself between the horse and the wall to avoid falling in the water. Course Marshall Colin then came on to inform the contestant that he did fall off the horse and would incur the one-stroke penalty. Throughout this, Joe and Rob invoked the trope by encouraging the contestant to punch or kill Colin, complete with a Versus Character Splash.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: One of the more humiliating distractions on the Distractor course in the first season, set on shaming the golfers; and when the golfers are finished putting, he moves on to Rob and gives him a Death Glare that leaves his eyes wide open and his lips sealed shut in terror.
  • Electric Torture: Utilized on Frankenputt in The Sequel, where contestants don shock bracelets on their arms and legs. They have nothing to worry about if they ace the hole in one stroke, but if not, they receive a nasty zap of electricity for every additional stroke taken if they miss the hole.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: A contestant in Fore-Ever went by the nickname of "Slick Rick", which was also used as his subtitle on the tournament bracket. However, in both round 1 and round 2 he slipped and fell, causing the commentators to start calling him Slip Rick instead, and even his bracket subtitle changed to Slip Rick to add further insult. He slipped again during round 3, thus invoking comments of "classic Slip Rick", and then yet again on Full Mooney when he returned for the season finale.
  • Filler: When The Sequel had retrospective specials air after its finale, Rob lampshaded in both episodes that it was because ABC needed to fill holes in their schedule on the cheap.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The final hole in the season finale of 3D in 2D, "Parfishdutch", combines Parcade, Fishing Hole, and Dutch Courage En Fuego into a single extra-long course with multiple obstacles.
  • Hold Up Your Score: The diving segments. Sir Goph always puts up symbols such as "walnut orange" which always translate to a "4." And Joey usually gets a 1.0 or worse from the other judges (see Butt-Monkey above), and Goph's score.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: Chris readily fessed up to accidentally tapping his golf ball on Arc de Trigolf in the first season.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Both The Sequel and 3D in 2D feature holes with Double Entendre names, with the hosts making as many jokes as possible. In The Sequel it was Uranus (meaning the planet) and in 3D in 2D it's The Pecker (as in woodpecker). The Parcade in 3D in 2D also gets honorable mention, since it includes a reference to The Sequel's Uranus hole and invites the same jokes.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: In the first season, Stephen Curry usually appears in an interstitial where he babbles something nonsensical in a profound manner.
  • Incendiary Exponent:
    • Dragons Breath, a medieval-themed hole in The Sequel, has giant dragons that blast incredible amounts of flames at the golfers, who are clad in fireproof suits and face shields while looking like royal knights. Rob joked that the original name for this hole was "Lawsuit".
    • 3D in 2D goes and lights the Dutch Courage hole on fire for that season's variation, Dutch Courage En Fuego.
  • Looks Like Jesus: In episode 8 of season 1, Chris, who has long blonde hair, gets compared jokingly to Jesus by Joe and Rob.
  • Medium Awareness: In episode 9 of season 1, Rob says, "stick around because we want a season two." It happened as desired.
  • Muppet Cameo: The big selling point of Fore-Ever! is that the Muppets are on the show. They don't appear on the course or during competition, however; their appearances are relegated to meta-heavy skits in which Rob Riggle attempts to recruit the Muppets to help him save Holey Moley from cancellation, save a couple of instances of Kermit joining Joe and Rob for commentary. Statler and Waldorf also appear at the end of latter episodes of the season.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted as the show has two Joes; one commentating and one as the Course Marshall.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The first season was guilty of periodically editing out some matches and skipping over losing golfers to the point that sometimes they don't even get their names mentioned. Later seasons largely get rid of this by cutting back on the number of golfers and holes per episode (a hole or two will still have a part skipped over, but at least all holes get shown).
  • Pie in the Face: Clowning Around, a hole only appearing in the final episode of The Sequel, has clowns throw pies at the golfers whenever they miss their putt.
  • Product Placement:
    • 3D in 2D has The Fishing Hole, which is sponsored by a fishing supplier.
    • Season 3 episode "Pretty Tee-rrific" has Rob plug fake beer brand "Meister King". It is apparently very bad.
  • Questionable Casting: Invoked in 3D in 2D. One episode was a "family night" where all the one-on-one match-ups in the first round were related to each other, such as being siblings or engaged... except one pair, who were total strangers who happened to have the same last name. Joe and Rob were visibly confused on realizing this, and commented that someone in Casting was about to be fired.
  • Recycled In Space: Ho Ho Hole from 3D in 2D is a Christmas-themed reskin of Polcano from The Sequel, which itself is a volcano reskin of Mount Holey Moley from the first season. The first time Ho Ho Hole shows up, this fact is heavily lampshaded with a montage of Polcano clips.
  • Running Gag:
    • Rob Riggle often expects The Distractor to be a bear. In Season 4, The Distractor is finally a bear... but Rob is taking a break and misses it completely.
    • Rob often mentions and flashes his distinctly loud pants nearly every episode.
    • Joey always gets shredded by the judges on Diving Range, and Sir Goph always gives a nonsensical score that Course Marshall Joe interprets as a four.
  • Series Mascot: Fitting for a show about golf, Sir Goph; a gopher dressed in Medieval attire. Other gophers similar to Sir Goph show up from time to time, like Lady Gophina, Sir Goph's girlfriend, Evil Twin Evil Goph, and Dr. Frankengoph, a mad scientist gopher that shows up on the Frankenputt hole in The Sequel.
  • Sequel Escalation: Season 2 features holes that are much more elaborate than Season 1. For example, Season 1's final hole was made even more difficult and turned into an opening round. Season 3 made the new holes even harder and added a stroke penalty element to every hole and even added mud pits instead of clear water on some of the holes golfers could fall off. Season 4 had Rob Riggle recruit the Muppets when he feared that Holey Moley may be on thin ice.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Muppet skits in "Fore-Ever!" build up to Riggle convincing Miss Piggy to perform on The Distractor in the season finale. When the time comes, the lock on Piggy's trailer gets stuck, trapping her inside, and Jeannie Mai takes her place.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: For unexplained reasons, a contestant failed to appear as scheduled and automatically lost.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Wipeout (2008). Holey Moley is actually filmed in the same location Wipeout was, the Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, California (Wipeout did make a comeback, though on TBS).
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Rob considers himself the star of Holey Moley, when that honor technically belongs to the chief producer of the show, Stephen Curry. When Fore-Ever! tries to drop Riggle from the brand, he fears that the show is in serious peril and calls upon the Muppets for help.
    • Stephen Curry's efforts to turn Holey Moley into a professional sports league throughout 3D in 2D fail entirely because it comes to light that it wasn't designed for that kind of crowd, Stephen seems unable to answer some critical questions and criticisms, and the business venture would probably flop if promoted expensively.
  • Spit Take: In The Sequel, as Joe introduces the new hole "Uranus," Rob is drinking from a coffee mug and gives one of these.
  • That's Gotta Hurt: One golfer took a bad spill on Slip N' Putt in the first season and smacked his face on the slope, which led to a nosebleed. On the same hole, another golfer slid down on her bare knees and once she crossed onto the green, the grass tore up her left kneecap and it bled heavily. (The Sequel added a barrier at the bottom of the slope to prevent skidding on the grass from happening again.)
  • Third Is 3D: Parodied by the third season being named 3D in 2D. It's not actually in 3D; the "in 2D" part is the one that's accurate.
  • Tiebreaker Round: If two or three golfers tie each other's stroke counts, each golfer attempts a six-foot putt to the hole as a tiebreaker. Some holes like the Distractor, Tee'd Off, and the Tomb of Nefer-Tee-Tee are in a Sudden Death format to begin with.
  • Toilet Humor: Hole Number Two in The Sequel. Yes, it's that kind of "Number Two" - golfers have to dash past a row of port-a-potties before their occupants open the doors and smack them into the water. 3D in 2D makes it even worse, replacing the water pool with sewage.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • In season 1, Dutch Courage had two four-bladed windmills and an ordinary miniature windmill to get past. Come The Sequel, the hole received an upgrade to Double Dutch Courage, with the big windmills now featuring five blades and a drawbridge that raises after putting a ball onto the green and forces players to leap their way through the second windmill. The mini windmill is gone, since the hole was made already hard enough. 3D in 2D takes it even further by lighting the windmills on fire as Dutch Courage En Fuego.
    • Mount Holey Moley, the original designated final hole, was retooled into Polcano, where the drop zone element became more difficult, and the zip line onto a floating platform became a zip line to try and grasp a giant totem pole. In 3D in 2D, it became Christmas-themed as Ho Ho Hole.
    • Arc de Trigolf, where players had to launch their ball up an arch and cross four thin platforms and ring a bell to lower a guillotine to stop their ball from going in the drink, became Uranus, which carried over some of the old hole's elements, it focused the difficulty on the platforms to cross by making them planets of increasingly smaller size (round surfaces of differing heights being harder to traverse than flat ones of the same height), and contestants have to be extra cautious as they pass to the putting green. The guillotine element, which made the hole a bit unfair with two kinds of stroke penalties in play that made the platforms seem redundant, was replaced with a special chute which, if played correctly, catches the ball and launches it onto the green and may result in a hole-in-one.
  • Top Ten List: Among the "Best/Worst Moments" montages in The Sequel: The Special, one was a Top Ten list of (Double) Dutch Courage wipeouts. Rob complained that he hates Top Ten lists and started rattling off reasons why (which Joe pointed out was turning into a Top Ten list in itself), and between each entry Rob kept going off on tangents about Top Tens like "Is it ten best or worst, or is there even a difference?" and "Isn't there technically only one moment that can be the best/worst?"
  • Uranus Is Showing: The Sequel includes a planet-themed hole named Uranus, and the hosts make every Uranus joke they can think of. This extends into 3D in 2D, as the Parcade includes a Uranus obstacle that allows the hosts to continue making these jokes.
    Rob: [after a ball gets caught in a tunnel] Did it get stuck in Uranus? Can somebody reach up in Uranus and get it? [Joe starts laughing and tries to compose himself] Well, I just don't want Uranus to get clogged. Especially this early!
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: 3D in 2D introduces the wedding-themed hole Holey Matrimony. Appropriately enough, the first time it appeared it was played by a dating couple, and the man proposed afterward.


Video Example(s):


Uranus Is a Really Tough Hole

In the second season of ABC's "Holey Moley," Joe Tessitore introduces the show's new Uranus hole. Neither he nor co-host Rob Riggle can keep a straight face and it's likely neither are really trying.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / UranusIsShowing

Media sources: