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 4: A Tale of Two Teams

In case you missed it:
Episode 3, at a glance

Best task-related moment yet: Tony beating Richard Jefferson in H-O-R-S-E.
Questionable fashion: Kelli and Juliet doing the Pippi-Longstocking pigtails thing. What's wrong with a ponytail?
Juliet's latest conflict: She mixes it up with ongoing nemesis Bubba, who gets a dose of her Midwestern snobbery toward Southerners. (Pot kettle black, much?)
Unlikely hero: Julian finally adds some value, hooking Team Contact up at a Philly friend's apartment.
Drive-you-crazy moment: Kelli and Juliet force team to stop at The Body Shop so they could put on some make-up.
"D'oh!": Stranger willing to give Team Contact a ride from Philly to Richmond; Tony uses up a favor on bumming a cigarette from her instead.
Question of the series: Is Josh gay? His team pressed him, but he steadfastly proclaims straightness. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Score update: Started ep tied 2-2; it ends with Team Cobi up 4-3.

Team Cobi
Current status: Up 5-3 after begging way from Baltimore to Detroit  where they scored on an NHL goalie -- to Chicago -- where Kelli scored with her boyfriend and Juliet scored with his random friend. No points for those tasks, though.

Ranking the teammate performances this week:



Came up big: Convinced team to head to her home-turf, Michigan. Was it all a ploy to get to her Michigan State graduation party? A plot to have a tryst with her boyfriend? No matter -- she led the team to a task.
Could have done better: So the team spends an entire afternoon with her sorority sisters, and she can't set up her two guy teammates? Lesson, fellas: There's a reason it's not called "wingwoman."
Overall: This was her episode to shine, and she came through big.
Big question: In her hometown, she was expected to lead; is it back to being Kelli the Follower for the rest of the trip?


Came up big: No question -- after a self-proclaimed dry spell, Juliet enjoyed a little home-court somethin'-somethin' when the team got to her Chicago suburb house.
Could have done better: Despite setting the team up at her family's Chicago mansion, she continues to alienate them all with her attitude.
Overall: Gotta love that she comes from major money -- her teammates sure did (as did that random guy). But you can't buy love, and she ain't getting any...from her teammates, at least.
Big question: We admire her hook-up gusto, but is it just another example of "What-About-My-Needs Juliet"?



Came up big: His tell-it-like-it-is team analysis is the foundation of the foursome.
Could have done better: His lack of sports knowledge is going to be more and more of a team Achilles' heel.
Overall:Continues to provide best lines of anyone, particularly his rambling, hysterical monologue about Juliet's family palace.
Big question: He seems just about ready to smush Juliet. Maybe next week?



Came up big: Didn't really. He just kind of tagged along.
Could have done better: If nothing else, he could have found himself one of Kelli's sorority sisters, no?
Overall: The further away the team gets from the South, the less impact he seems to have. Let's hope for his sake this isn't a trend.
Big question: When will he and Juliet have The Showdown? (Or, dare we say it, The Hook-up?)

Overall team analysis: Back in control of the game as the women lead the team to scoring, both on and off the official board. Now in Chicago, there's a wealth of possibilities of what to do next to kick off their final five tasks.

***** ***** *****

Team Contact
Current status: No tasks completed. After a tremendous Episode 3, the team that puts the "fun" in dysfunction had what will likely be the sorriest performance of the entire run while in Richmond, Va. trying to get a task done at a NASCAR event. While Team Cobi lounged at Juliet's mansion, Contact spent one night on the floor in a stoner palace and the second night huddled in a sleeping bag between two RVs at a NASCAR trailer park. If you didn't laugh, you'd cry your eyes out ...

Ranking the teammate performances this week:



Came up big: Took part in "Best Argument of the Series So Far" -- a can-you-top-this battle of sex-life insults with Katie.
Could have done better: Put a little too much faith in a couple of NASCAR-groupie strippers to help the team out.
Overall: The most unlikely thing is that the guy is growing on us. He's resting on the laurels of beating Richard Jefferson in HORSE, though.
Big question: Being the go-to guy to do the tasks isn't enough; when will he take a role in trying to put together a task for the team?

This week's BBD Likability Ranking
1 Kelli: Go Kelli! It's your graduation!
2 Juliet: Got some ... and bragged about it!
3 Josh: Sarcasm growing on us
4 Bubba: Level-headed
5 Tony: Mr. Soul Patch moving up!
6 Julian: Back to doing nothing
7 Aubrey: Oh, those crying jags again!
8 Katie: Destructively bossy


Came up big: Didn't. This guy was a shmoe (again).
Could have done better: Where to start? He seemed resigned to the fact that they couldn't get anything done at the NASCAR rally.
Overall: For now, the guy is neither helpful nor a problem. But he's quickly becoming dead weight, which will only hurt a team with enough chemistry problems to begin with.
Big question: Does he just phone it in for the rest of Richmond?


Came up big: Most adept at recognizing how poorly the team is functioning.
Could have done better: Does a lot of talking about how task-fixated she is, yet seems paralyzed by how much she hates her teammates.
Overall: Another crying jag! If "Produce water-works" were a task, she'd have led the team to victory by now. There's no crying in BBD!
Big question: Seems to have a good relationship with Tony; can she come to terms with bossy Katie?



Came up big: Seems like the only one willing to take charge ...
Could have done better: ... which also leads to her being offensively bossy, thus alienating her entire team.
Overall: They might as well change the name to "Team Katie," because she's entrenched as In Charge. Katie wants makeup? Team goes to the drug store. Katie wants to celebrate a task? Team wastes an entire afternoon hanging out. If they let Katie continue to lead without challenge, they're doomed to fail.
Big question: We'll say it again -- can she please lose that awful 'do-rag?

Overall team analysis: Yikes. Well, at least they seem to have had it out as a foursome about their lack of team-ness. Their four-in-a-bag sleeping arrangements could only have brought them closer, as would their scary night in the NASCAR RV park. If they can salvage a task with the minor-league Richmond Braves, that would be huge.

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