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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Top Gear is the Best Show in the History of Television

"Top Gear," a BBC gem for over two decades (although the current format is only, say, one decade or so old...) is quite simply amazing. The three presenters offer something for everyone. Jeremy Clarkson is your obstinate, pain-in-the ass friend who knows everything and refuses to ever budge-- but you love anyway. Richard Hammond is the one you always root for-- the most amenable, most charismatic, and most relatable. James May, AKA "Captain Slow," is the conservative and even-tempered conscience for the other two to balance them out when they push too hard on the gas in a Zonda or want to strap an extra rocket to a car (YEAH). The show is centered around testing automobiles in creative ways and providing reviews of them in a surprisingly efficient and effective manner. In addition, the aesthetic quality of the show is remarkable. The cinematography is fantastic-- but then again, when the focus is a Bugatti Veyron, how could any view be bad?

Richard Hammond and Top Gear Dog (that's what they've named the dog)

There are a myriad of reasons as to why I love this show. First, I'm a sucker for anything British. I find myself utilizing fun British colloquialisms like 'rubbish' and 'such and such is called...' (as opposed to 'such and such's name is...). Also, I love how they make fun of footballers' car selections, and use them as an example of what is 'rubbish' or not. That said, there are occasions when I have no clue what the hell is going on. I'd provide an example but often I can't even figure out what the guys are even saying. Now I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Jeremy Clarkson has come under scrutiny for a number of comments about gays, Germans, and well... bus drivers? The second, most glaring bit of awesomeness to come out of Top Gear is that they do the most ridiculous things with cars. Essentially, these gents (that was a natural use-- I wanted to edit it out but I felt it proper to leave it in) are the epitome of boys with toys. I absolutely detest the overuse of that phrase, but trust me, this is boys with toys. In one episode, James and Hammond ("Hamster") play a traditional British children's game called "conkers" WITH CARS. Knowing the specifics of the game is not relevant-- just know that the two hung caravans (our equivalent of a travel trailer, typically hitched onto the back of a car or truck) from cranes and swung them at each other in hopes of hitting each other and knocking the crap out of the other. In the Winter Olympics episode, the guys did a number of exciting things. First, they did a biathlon pitting Jeremy in a Volvo XC90 (which he owns) against James in an Audi Q7. They raced each other through a snow course, then had to shoot targets-- all in Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Later, the team filled a snow-covered field with ten Suzuki Swifts... and a giant inflatable hockey puck. Easily one of the most amazing five+ minutes of television I've seen in my life. There's no point in describing it. I'll post a link to download episodes at the end of the post. The finale of the episode one of my favorites: they put a car down a ski jump. But this wasn't just pushing some car down a ski jump with a hope and a prayer. They added rockets to it, and shot that big boy down! PURE AWESOME fed by petrol.

I'd also like to briefly mention how diverse and impressive their music selections are. During their skits or reviews you'll hear anything from Bloc Party to ELO to Led Zeppelin (and fine, to include a band not from Britain, you'll even hear Lynyrd Skynyrd), and it always fits quite well into the segment.

Overall, Top Gear is a solid show from top to bottom. There's far too much to praise and discuss for one post here-- these are just a few shimmers of light. I promise you, there will be more Top Gear posts to come in the future. Oh yes, there will be more...

You can read news updates and download full episodes from Final
Download here for the lazy ones...
Also, occasionally posts extra materials cut from shows.

PS- Final exams and finals papers are 'rubbish.'

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