Top Gear is quickly becoming one of my new favorite tv shows. They have three British presenters nerding out about motor-vehicle performance in the most goofy of ways. From rolling Reliant Robins over to asking Rowan Atkinson himself to take a lap, there’s a cheery sense of vicarious living through their elaborate stunt driving.
These guys aren’t even really comedians, let alone race car drivers. They’re journalists, enthusiasts and friends. And sometimes, that type of dynamic is all you need to make a reality show a refreshing departure from reality.
Admittedly, this article took me twice as long to write than the others, mainly because I just had a good time watching the various clips.
Note: while the current line-up of presenters on BBC’s Top Gear are admirable, I will never forget the original trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.
Top Gear Meets Kitchen Nightmares
First, consider how absurd it is for reality TV fanatics to see two Gods of the BBC appear in the same soundstage. Gordon Ramsay, the infamous head chef from Hell’s Kitchen and a jolly, disarming Jeremy Clarkson. Their conversation makes you wonder what Chris Farley was like on-set with David Spade. But British.
Which Airport Vehicle Is The Fastest?
Richard Hammond has a real stand-out moment with this whopping eight-minute clip. He invites professional BriSCA racers to take commercial airport vehicles (catering truck, commuter bus, airplane tug, etc.) to a race across the Heathrow runway! Of course, some turbulent winds ensue but that does little to offset his happy-go-lucky commentary. Take notes, Bob Costas.
Mum Run Challenge
Let’s give it up for mothers. They’re the driving force behind most of our ambitions. Or at least, behind most of our chores. The boys have their moms test out the more economical, less nitrous-filled cars with hilarious results coming from their nuttiness. It’s truly must-see-TV or at least something to spend the time watching while begrudgingly picking out my own mother’s white hairs.
Double-Decking The Germans
The feud continues, this time in Belgium! The Brits face off against their German counterparts. However, what Sabine Schmitz and her fellow Deutches have to do to beat Top Gear involves a bit of teamwork. Think of that classic pool game, “chicken fight,” but with cars. These two sets of two cars are stacked upon each other, with the bottom car powering the gas and the top one steering. In conclusion, the hijinks that follow are pretty impressive for 2009 entertainment. Even if the Brits’ technique “gets out of hand.”
Short Ride, Long Distance: Peel P50
In my constant searching for an affordable car to buy next, I stumbled upon this demonstration. Jeremy Clarkson is easily the wittiest presenter on Top Gear, as his nuanced poignancy is on full display while driving the Smallest Car In The World to work. Surprisingly enough, the BBC is cool with this. What he gets away with is quite astounding but all the more enjoyable to see such a tall man in such a small, small car.
Lately, the stuff they’ve been doing has been on Amazon’s The Grand Tour. Check out the full episodes here.