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" (Tuesdays on our mothership, ESPN). And that's why Page 2 will be tracking their progress each week.

Episode 6: Midwest Drama

Team Cobi
Current status: Up 8-5 after they hightailed it from Chicago to Kansas City, then plotted their way onto the field at Arrowhead Stadium, where they put a penalty kick past a goalie from the MLS K.C. Wiz. But not before they spent a memorable night in a Kansas City hotel room ...

Ranking the teammate performances this week:

Juliet

Juliet
Juliet

Came up big: Five episodes of growing distaste for Juliet melted away in a single sequence of eye-popping, jaw-dropping events in the team's Kansas City hotel room. Two words: Fake orgasm.
Could have done better: Once again, she got snippy with someone the team was trying to beg from. It happened to be a jerky hotel manager, but all the same, they should put her outside when dealing with people in authority.
Overall: After watching her sultry towel scene in the hotel bathroom -- not to mention her best "When Harry Met Sally" diner-scene impression -- Juliet makes us forget all about how interpersonally challenged she is most of the time. (Check out this week's Likeability Ratings!)
Big question: And you say you missed this episode? (Here's a hint: Watch the repeat, paying particularly close attention between the 20th and 30th minute of the hour for "The Juliet Show.")

Bubba

Bubba
Bubba

Came up big: As predicted last week, Bubba finally came through after a multi-episode value drought, punching a goal past MLS goalie Bo Oshoniyi to earn his team their eighth task.
Could have done better: I mean, have we all seen the mistake of his long hair by now? Was his soccer-field pony-tail enough to convince all you doubters?
Overall: Being the team member that was relied upon to actually complete the task must have done wonders for his confidence. Maybe now he'll step up for the last two tasks.
Big question: Why isn't Bubba making a play for Juliet??

Josh

This week's BBD Likability Ranking
Check out the shake-ups!
1 Juliet: I am still in disbelief (LW: 7)
2 Bubba: Gooooaaaaaaaal! (LW: 4)
3 Josh: Like the post office, he delivers (Last week: 1)
4 Kelli: A perky team presence (LW: 2)
5 Aubrey: Just take over! (LW: 5)
6 Katie: At least she didn't hurt the team (LW: 8)
7 Tony: Still hungry? You child. (LW: 3)
8 Julian: No "I" in "team" -- but there is in "quit" (LW: 6)

Came up big: Totally took the lead in getting the team into the Wiz organization -- and onto the field for the task-completing penalty kick. Also managed to convince a stranger "who worked at Hallmark" to buy two of the team's bus tickets to Denver (Juliet once again used rich-family connections ... not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Could have done better: We knew Josh was the worst athlete of the eight competitors, but his penalty kick was atrocious.
Overall: His sexually charged repartee with Juliet in the hotel room was better than any of his many classic lines throughout the previous five shows.
Big question: When trouble finally hits this team, how will Mr. Leader react?

Kelli

Kelli
Kelli

Came up big: Part of the now-legendary "Getting Ready in the Hotel Room" scene with Juliet.
Could have done better: After productive Michigan, it's back to let-others-lead Kelli.
Overall: If she spent as much time plotting strategy as she did trying to find a comb to put through her freshly showered hair, the team would be better off.
Big question: Why won't she step up on the begging-from-guys tip like Juliet?

Overall team analysis: Never mind that this team is rolling along just about as perfectly as one can. Never mind that the tasks are dropping like the rain they seem to run into everywhere. This team shared a moment in their Kansas City hotel room that will go down in the annals of reality-TV shows as one of the best of all time. They could complete no more tasks from here on out -- not even make it to San Francisco -- and they can all say, "We still had Juliet's performance." We -- Team Cobi, me, you -- are all winners.

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

Team Contact
Current status: We thought it couldn't get any worse than Episode 5's disaster -- yet here they are, en route from Memphis to Dallas, having gone through a third straight city without completing a task. Team Dysfunction is in a "must-complete-a-task" situation in the competition. Overall morale is in the dumper, but they all seem pretty resolved to (finally) get something done.

Ranking the teammate performances this week:

Aubrey

Aubrey
Aubrey

Came up big: Well, with no tasks completed, compliments are hard to come by, but Aubrey remains the only player on the team focused on actually getting tasks done.
Could have done better: Yes, Tony was extremely whiny about getting food, but in the end, he was right, and Aubrey was wrong.
Overall: We thought that she'd go the entire episode without her usual display of waterworks, but there they were -- in the final scene. Aubrey has more teary-eyed moments than the team has tasks.
Big question: How can Aubrey lead a team that doesn't want to be led?

Katie

Katie
Katie

Came up big: Like her three teammates, she didn't do much positive for the team.
Could have done better: Three straight towns without a task? Why couldn't she have worked a little harder to be productive?
Overall: At least she didn't hurt the team (like she usually does). She left that to the guys this week.
Big question: What happened to that nasty 'do-rag she's been sporting for the last week? (Not that we're complaining.)

Tony

Tony
Tony

Came up big: Convinced those two Little Rock women to drive them to the bus station to get to Dallas at the episode's end.
Could have done better: Tony derailed the entire trip to Memphis by insisting that the team stop for food. When he didn't get his way, he literally flipped out, then shut down -- at one point throwing the task map at his stunned teammates.
Overall: So much for Tony's Episode 4 and 5 commitment to being a team player. His selfish "Tony-needs-to-eat" routine further demoralized the group (even though they all enjoyed the food once he got it for them).
Big question: Will Tony continue to refer to himself in the third person?

Julian

Julian
Julian

Came up big: Didn't.
Could have done better: Let's see -- he bitched about Aubrey's "bitching." And he threatened to quit the team if they didn't catch their bus from Little Rock to Dallas, saying, "If it's looking like I'm losing, I'll quit right now."
Overall: Seriously, Julian adds so little value that they would be better off if he quit the team. I dare him to! The guy used to be ineffective yet harmless; now he's an anchor.
Big question: Is he serious about quitting? Please?

Overall team analysis: Why don't they do the smart thing and hand the control of the team over to Aubrey? Well, Katie is too egotistical. Tony is too immersed in being Tony. Julian is more concerned with quitting -- or throwing support to Katie while picking fights with Aubrey. There's a reason why this team has gone through three straight cities without a task -- it is impossible for them to work together. Heading into Dallas, at least the "Coming next week ..." highlights looked promising, because otherwise, they might as well all follow Julian to the quitters' line.

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




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