By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

Eight strangers were brought together in New York City, divided into two teams and let loose on a monthlong, cross-country version of a scavenger hunt on steroids. The challenge: Be the first to complete 10 (out of 40) sports-related tasks and get to Alcatraz. And oh by the way, they have nothing but the clothes on their backs and their wits. That's why it's called "Beg, Borrow & Deal." Page 2 will be tracking their progress each week.

Episode 2: The momentum shifts
Team Cobi
Current status: Lost 2-0 lead to Team Contact between Days 2 and 3 while traveling from New York to Washington, D.C. The friendly glow of a couple of easy task-completions from Episode 1 has faded into a bickerfest worthy of Capitol Hill.

Ranking the teammate performances this week:


Came up big: Convinced used-car salesman to give team a free ride from D.C. 'burb to Capitol Hill
Could have done better: Has yet to have a big, task-achieving idea
Overall: Continues to defer to Josh and Bubba for leadership and appears to side with whomever seems to make the most emphatic argument on any given topic
Big question: When will Kelli's seething asides away from her teammates manifest in an outburst?



Came up big: Hooked team up with congressman (who he used to work for, no less!) for potential task-achievement of playing four pols in football on Capitol lawn
Could have done better: For your team's sake, you should do something about those barking dogs, fella!
Overall: Don't let the Southern amiability deceive -- Bubba obviously wants to be in charge
Big question: How much further will his relationship with Juliet deteriorate?


Came up big: Hooked team up with an overnight "run of the house" bonanza through his D.C. friend
Could have done better: Dismissed Bubba and Kelli's effort in getting football game with congressmen, just because they couldn't do it that day
Overall: Had line of the episode, while standing in middle of D.C. bus station: "It's like Calcutta in here"
Big question: Steadiest so far, but will task myopia cause him to forget the "team" part of game?


Came up big: Had friend of a friend pick them up at bus station to take them to Josh's friend's house
Could have done better: Wouldn't listen to reasonable suggestion from teammates that they take time to think about alternatives before running from Capitol over to next task location at Georgetown
Overall: Where to start? She went from perky Kelly Kapowski type to raging jerk, treating teammates and strangers with disrespect. Two words: Chill out!
Big question: When she makes fun of Bubba's accent, does she stop to consider that her own whine ain't that sophisticated-sounding?

Overall team analysis: The team failed in its first true test of interpersonal relations. They have a couple of tasks lined up for the future, but didn't complete anything during this episode. Juliet is quickly alienating the other three, and it's only a matter of a few more selfish rantings before they just marginalize her.

***** ***** *****
This week's "BBD" likability ranking
1. Aubrey: Coming up huge (Last week: 7)
2. Kelli: Level head (Last week: 2)
3. Bubba: Capitol lobbyist (Last week: 1)
4. Josh: Mr. Get-Things-Done (Last week: 5)
5. Julian: Low value-add so far (Last week: 4)
6. Katie: Who made you leader? (Last week: 6)
7. Tony: Still Mr. Nobody (Last week: 8)
8. Juliet: Lose the 'tude (Last week: 4)
Team Contact
Current status: Came roaring back from shutout in Episode 1 to earn two task credits -- washing the Elmira College mascot and catching 35-yard passes from an NFL quarterback (Philadelphia's AJ Feeley). Tied up with Team Cobi, they are in the Philadelphia area and poised to earn another task credit playing HORSE with an NBA player.

Ranking the teammate performances this week:


Came up big: Got the team a night in Philadelphia Eagles star Barry Gardner's house, where he hooked them up with all sorts of benefits
Could have done better: Didn't communicate well enough with team about Night 2 sleeping arrangements. She was just trying to manage expectations, but wound up annoying everyone. (To her credit, she later apologized.)
Overall: No more crying binges! Aubrey comes up huge for Team Contact, not only getting them a place to stay the night, but a way to complete a task, which led to great team bonding
Big question: As the current team rainmaker, how will she get along with the power-hungry Katie?


Came up big: Best pass-catching routine of all eight contestants, including post-catch mugging for camera
Could have done better: Blitzed team outside of Gardner's house with his "I'm a nobody, but I want to be a somebody" ranting. Nice team spirit, buddy
Overall: While far less abrasive this week than last, Tony managed to turn his team's mission into a vehicle for his selfish goals. Maybe if he would shave that soul patch, we'd be more tolerant.
Big question: After his distressing "I'm a nobody" speech, can his team ever take him seriously again?


Came up big: Caught last football pass for team to complete task
Could have done better: Made ass out of self unsuccessfully trying to run a pattern to catch the pass
Overall: Julian has yet to really help the team get anywhere on the task list. He needs to prove his worth. With three strong personalities for teammates, he runs the risk of being swallowed up
Big question: Is this guy just along for the ride?



Came up big: Got her brother to drive team from Elmira to New Jersey
Could have done better: Nonstarter prison-hoops idea. Did she drag the team all the way up to Elmira just to see her parents?
Overall: Katie has made it clear -- she wants to call the shots for the team. But Aubrey has delivered the biggest so far, and Tony doesn't seem to want to listen to anyone -- certainly not Katie. She has to lead by deeds, not words.
Big question: Can she lose that "Hi Mom and Dad" headband, please?
Overall team analysis: Who's the team MVP this week? Barry Gardner, for hooking them up at night and during the day. This team has three members who want to be the leader, which is going to cause all sorts of problems unless they sort that out. With their third task all set up for Episode 3, the critical junction for the team will be what to do after that.

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. Check back each week for a review of the latest episode of "Beg, Borrow & Deal."