Dateline—Bremerton, WA, October 1, 2002: RealityTVWorld.com summary coordinator SherpaDave is quickly realizing his mistake in volunteering to write a summary for episode 3 of ESPN’s “Beg Borrow & Deal,” a show he’s neither seen nor ever intended to see. His three-year-old child is on his lap complaining that Daddy’s not watching cartoons and his 18-month-old is careening around the room, screaming at the top of his lungs. Channel surfing at 5:00 or so, he stumbles across what he assumes to be a repeat of episode 2 of ESPN’s first entry into the reality game show genre. Preparing himself to understand what he’ll later have to watch, he stays tuned despite the dire noises emanating from his offspring.
Imagine his surprise when nearly a week later, still not having found the time to catch a rerun of episode 3, he ventures to ESPN’s site and finds that the show he watched was, in fact, the show he is to summarize. “O frabjuous day! Callooh callay!” he chortled in his joy. Of course, he didn’t take any actual notes on the show. No, that would have necessitated putting the entire juvenile population of his house into an overly long time-out. So he will have to work from a badly marijuana-damaged memory nearly a week later. Be warned that the following may not be entirely coherent, nor necessarily in the actual order events on the show happened. That said, does anyone really watch this show? If it was a tree falling in a forest, would anyone hear? We think not.
The focus shall be on the challenges themselves first, with gaps between challenges filled in as they are remembered. Let this serve as a dire warning against doing drugs, kids.
Challenge the first: washin’ the dawg
The first challenge shown is Team Cobi (don’t ask me what it means—a reference to the Team USA soccer player perhaps? Could they be any more obscure?) seeking out a college mascot for a bath. It seems likely that ESPN had an actual animal in mind to take part in this challenge, but the Cobis have decided to find a person who dons the suit. (Author’s aside: I once spent a summer working at a third-rate amusement park outside of Chicago and often had to don animal costumes myself. They smell bad and are excessively hot. The only joy in wearing said costumes is occasionally lifting one’s leg above a small child’s head in imitation of a dog and a hydrant. But I digress.)
The mascot the Cobi Kids have found is the one and only Georgetown Hoya. Perhaps more challenging would have been to find out a) what the hell a Hoya is (Word doesn’t recognize it as a valid spelling), and b) what relation, if any, Hoyas have to bulldogs. They’d probably still be sitting there. As it turns out, the Hoya in question has a gimpy leg and is on crutches. Leaving the house would be most difficult. Either that or mascots are blessed with the capabilities of the animals they portray and he just doesn’t want to leave the house (hence the title).
He lets the team into the house and dons the costume slowly. He settles onto the couch and the team settles around him with sponges. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be a real bath. Even through the felt head, you can see the disappointment in the college student’s eyes as he realizes that the two women on the team will not be getting their t-shirts wet and they won’t be sponging the aforementioned parts that he may or may not be able to lick himself. One of the harlots even goes so far as to tease him with the sponge in the general hydrant-dousing vicinity. Another team member takes a picture and a point is earned.
Meanwhile, Team Contact (again, what does this name mean? I know of no soccer player named Contact—shouldn’t they have been Team Mia?) has stalked a rookie player for the New Jersey Nets and gotten him to agree to a game of HORSE. The catch? They actually have to beat him. Now, in days gone by, picking a New Jersey Net would have been about the most obvious selection for this task. Or maybe a Los Angeles Clipper. But in these days of Jason Kidd, the Nets are actually pretty good. And the rent-a-cops seem to know it. They actually put down their donuts long enough to make a stink about not letting either the team or the rookie, one Richard Jefferson, into the arena. The team, especially Awwww,Brie (the cheese that goes with her whine) make a fuss. Eventually, Jefferson figures out that they can use the practice facility. And I’d just like to say that Jefferson hid his disappointment really well when he found out that “shooting horse” in this case meant playing the hoops game and not injecting heroin.
Once there, the players do something stupid. Everyone knows that no modern NBA player can hit a free throw more than 50% of the time. But do they shoot free throws every damned time? No! Jefferson insists he’s playing to win, but does he ever dunk on their asses? No! So you know it’s a fix. As it turns out, Jefferson can’t even pretend to be bad enough to lose to three of the four contestants, but the fourth, Soul Patch Tony actually manages to get to HORS at the same time as Jefferson does. Eventually, SPT takes a shot from reasonably close to the free throw line (duh!) and Jefferson (of course) cannot make it. Mission complete.
The next mission for Team Cobi is to shag fly balls (although, based on behavior, for a little while it looked like the mission was to shag a baseball team PR hack) before a Major League Baseball game. The weather looks highly doubtful and there’s a big point of showing tornado warnings on a television set inside the offices of the Baltimore Orioles. The team sends Ambiguously Gay Show Tune Guy and Vaguely Hot Girl Number Two into the Orioles’ team’s offices. This is probably a good idea as clearly neither of the two has any clue just how dreadful the Orioles really are, so they almost get away with referring to the Birds as baseball’s best team. Unfortunately, the team official can’t keep a straight face when they say that.
About this time, the Bremerton natives are getting restless, so Dad can’t see how the mission turns out. He assumes they blow it based on the weather shown. Oh, those devious Reality TV producers! Based on ESPN’s site, the team apparently did complete the mission. And damn, I wish I could have seen the show tune guy attempting to catch balls without hair on them (and hey, no homophobia complaints—see my love missives to Superman if the preceding statement put a stick up your butt).
As all this occurred, Team Contact was trying to figure out a way to get to Richmond, where they hoped to infiltrate a NASCAR pit crew. Question to Buggy: have you ever managed to do this? Because if you haven’t and this team somehow manages it, then I know these challenges are all rigged.
They actually arrange a five-hour ride with some blonde bimbo who is only slightly less than orgasmic at the thought of having five hours worth of videotape of her for ESPN to select from for its show. Unfortunately, the hero of the HORSE mission is also a nicotine addict and cadges a cig from the aforementioned bimbo. Apparently, there is a dreaded rule (oh, and did I mention that Kenny Mayne pops in to announce these annoying rules every time one of them comes into play?) that states that only one favor per team can be granted by any one individual. Not only does this rule negate the ride the bimbo was to give the team, it also means that Tony’s gonna miss out on the hummer she’d promised him. Bummer. The one non-smoker on the team, the lovely Awww,Brie bitches to the high heavens, but the other three team members all know you get your fix wherever you can.
And that’s about it, really. Or at least that’s all of the challenges. The Contact gang actually did make it to Richmond, but not until 3 am, and they didn’t have any sleeping quarters lined up. And oh yeah, in between the challenges, we got to see that Vaguely Hot Girl Number One from Team Cobi can neither close her mouth nor say anything interesting when it’s open. The best solution to this problem? She needs to be paired with Tony to make up for that missed opportunity with the blonde bimbo.
And if anything else happened, well… I’m sure y’all will get to see the episode about 18 times over the course of the next year. Look for it in between the World Sumo Championships and the World’s Strongest Man competitions.