5 Moments of Greatness...Top Gear Edition


I watch BBC America, I drink tea while doing so, whilst speaking with a cockney accent, and talking about boots and lories, and being sound as a pound. You probably don’t watch BBC America because you’re overly concerned with who’s 16 and pregnant or whether CSI Salt Lake City staring David Cassidy is going to be a hit. The greatest show on BBC America is of course Top Gear.

I’m not a car guy. I don’t know the first thing about cars, the engine part under the hood thing, the deal that shoots out stuff when you go fast, the stuff that holds the wheels in place while they’re doing the turny thingy. But get this, I don’t have to know about cars to like Top Gear. News flash, neither do you Walter Cronkite. So what if I can’t quote Zoolander. I’m too busy watching Top Gear on the tele.

5. The Star in the Reasonably Priced Car.

Stars go on this show like every week, big stars. When they do, the guys promptly put them in a reasonably priced car and have them do a lap. The steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car but it’s fun to watch and see who’s competitive, who can’t drive, and who nearly totals out while being competitive and unable to drive. You can see all the times here. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are in the clip. Yes Cameron Diaz is attractive, I don’t care what you say.

4. Challenges.

Each show is an hour to an hour and twenty minutes long, that’s Euro time. When they aren’t cramming Oscar nominees into a Camry, they test drive cars, rate them, tell you whether you’re a knob if you own a certain car, and generally do car stuff. Most of the cars are incredible and worth more than my life. Every now and again the guys are given a small budget to buy a certain car and then asked to do something dumb with said small budget cars. This is where the personality of the hosts really comes out. Here they make car boats and try to cross a lake. It doesn’t go well.

3. The Other Guys.

Richard Hammond and James May both take a back seat to “presenter” Jeremy Clarkson. They have to, he’s tall, talks a lot, cheats at challenges, and is the most opinionated of the three. Don’t sleep on the other two guys. Hammond almost died, literally in one sketch going too fast. May spends most episodes driving too slow. The combination is great. Here they build themselves a rocket car out of what looks like a giant car/tricycle.

2. The Main Guy.

Jeremy Clarkson is dry, British, tall, and hates things that move slow, are environmentally conscious, and poorly designed vehicles. He’s great. He also does a great interview. The show by the way is shot beautifully especially the car review segments. Clarkson is great in these segments. He’s worth the price of admission which is really pointless because you’re watching on cable.

1. The Stig.

Like Ricky Williams when he was a Saint, the Stig never takes his helmet off. He’s the mystery man on the show. Some say he’s a Formula-1 driver, some say he’s a robot, some say he’s a combination of several drivers, still others say he’s just a man. They’re all wrong, he’s the Stig. He’s achieved cult status without saying a word.

*Disclaimer: Don’t watch the American version. It makes Cop Rock seem watchable.

Posted on January 5, 2013 .