Here's what an episode of Top Gear looks like if you know f*** all about cars
I lost my Top Gear virginity last night.
As expected, it was underwhelming and I was left naked, cold and afraid.
Disclaimer: I drive a 2005 Mini One. It's red and it's got a double sunroof. That's precisely all I know about my car. I know that it has cost me a lot of money in the past year for repairs and that the guy who sold it to me was a cowboy. Anything beyond the colour of a car and I immediately lose interest. I simply want a vehicle that works and also looks nice. Hello, it's me, the stereotype.
TV shows about cars baffle me and I'd much rather seek comfort in the familiarity of anything Ant and Dec present. However, if they were to delve into the world of automobile television, I would cut my losses and move onto Stephen Mulhern's offerings.
Against my better judgment, here are my observations about this week's episode of Top Gear.
Joey from Friends is extremely a Dad now
First, I'd like to express my unbridled gratitude that Matt LeBlanc found work after Friends because it was touch-and-go there for a while and I was fully sure he'd be trying to sell us Danone Activia yoghurts à la Martine McCutcheon before the year was out. Congratulations, Matt.
Also, you are a massive Dad. Let's take his stance first, that's the stance of a Dad that's just gotten a parking space right outside the supermarket entrance. He's chuffed. He's also wearing an abomination that suggests the weans have been turned against him, so he's doing his best to get them back at his appointed court date today. His shirt is so crisp, it would be delicious between two slices of buttered bread. He could've opened at least one additional top button but chose not to. This is Matt LeBlanc 2.0. He's not a sex symbol anymore ladies, so get the fuck over your horns, okay? Business is closed.
Obviously the shoes are going to need to be addressed here as well. Has LeBlanc got a hike LeScheduled after the recording of the show or something? Did he forget that the opening shot would be full length? Was he recently refused entry to a nightclub earlier on account of his grubby Nike Air Max trainers, so swapped with a nearby outdoor supply shop owner? Fucking hell Matt, some of us used to fancy you.
The presenters are probably all dead inside
I wish I cared about literally anything as much as these guys care about cars. They're so excited by the vehicles they get to drive around in. I strongly suspect that they're hamming it up for the sake of the camera. Everything we know is a lie. The guy that looks a bit like a Hollyoaks extra is lying to us. He's not brimming with excitement to tell us how this car (that kind of looks like the Batmobile) can get to 125km/hr in 6 seconds, he's contemplating stealing it.
If my job involved driving really nice and expensive cars all day, then going back to my shitty little Mini for the spin home, I would've lost the will to live even more so a long time ago. You can't experience a nice thing for a little while and then return to the grimness of reality. That's not how life works and why fancy hotels should be eradicated. I refuse to believe that these presenters are happy. They get home to their semi-detached house in Torquay and cry for the evening, just like the rest of us.
They for sure put the girls in the audience towards the front because equality, etc
First, I'd like to go on the record as saying that being in the audience of Top Gear is my literal worst nightmare. There's little else I consider a worse fate. It's obviously freezing because they all have their jackets on, also why can't they have a sit down? Presumably they're car fans, so their main interests are sitting down and moving around with the aid of a vehicle. Their beefy little clutch, accelerator and brake operating legs can't stay upright for long, they will simply die.
Throughout the course of this particular episode, I counted approximately three and a half girls in the audience. I'd like to commend the floor manager for strategically placing said females to the front of the crowd, so we could all clearly see that girls like cars too. My favourite part of the above screenshot is the girl behind the guy that isn't Matt LeBlanc. Her expression suggests 'I wanted tickets for Strictly but I ticked the wrong box'.
Putting the celebrity driver in a helmet seems like they're setting him up for a loss
Due to my disinterest in anything car related, I was beside myself with excitement when such a rap heavyweight as Tinie Tempah appeared on screen. Finally, someone I could identify with, I thought, until he started talking about cars. It transpired that his first car was a Vauxhall Corsa, which is a car that my Mum used to have. Am I accidentally a car aficionado now?
I was surprised when Tinie got to head out and drive a car with one of the presenters. I was even more surprised to see that they both had heavy duty helmets on. Are accidents a commonplace here? This doesn't seem safe. Their seat belts also resembled roller coaster fasteners, which again made me fear for my good friend Tinie Tempah's safety.
My concerns for Tinie's wellbeing quickly dissolved when he played his OWN SONG in the car as they drove around. What a fucking narcissist, I thought of the 28-year-old millionaire. Perhaps the helmet is to contain his ego and therefore head size. Top Narcissist, more like.
They did a car race in a giant maze which was maybe the coolest thing I've ever seen
This was the turning point for me. It turns out Top Gear will cater for everyone, car enthusiasts or not. They also appear to have a shit ton of cash to spend on their sets, which is always nice. At this point in the show, I was losing interest and contemplating packing in my job to join the Cirque du Soleil with my special talent of being able to juggle THREE items for a period no longer than five seconds. Alas, I halted my plans.
Three of the presenters drove around the maze playing PAC-MAN with their cars. It was straight up some of the coolest shit I've ever seen and I take back anything negative I said previously about Top Gear, except the part about Tinie Tempah being a narcissist because that's 100% factual.
My favourite part about this segment was that it was so fucking dangerous. Even though the cars were tiny, they were whizzing around blind corners and a crash was inevitable, yet no helmets? The Chief of Deciding If They Should Wear Helmets On Top Gear needs to take a long hard look at himself. Also they should open that driving PAC-MAN game to the public because I would pay at most £25 to do it with my friends.
Who the fuck is The Stig?
During this particular episode, they drafted in an anonymous guy called The Stig and his two cousins (because there were three cars). They anonymously drove around together and anonymously raced in their not anonymous cars. One of them won but I can't remember which and it's unlikely to affect my nor your life going forward.
My main gripe with The Stig is that I do not care who it is. What's frustrating is that they're concealing his identity purely as a talking point. If nobody ever lost their shit over who it could possibly be, we wouldn't be in the situation we currently find ourselves in. WHO IS THE STIG, I've seen it in newspapers and on milk cartons. Who cares, it is someone doing their job with the good grace to remain anonymous. Let him live. But also who the fuck is it?
They had a commute race in Dubai that went on for 20 minutes and right up until the moment I die, I'll never understand why
Going to go out on a limb here and hazard a guess that they simply wanted to show off their big budget. Imagine a race between a big fancy car that costs £2m and a combination of walking, boating, taxiing, flying and then motorbiking. Who do you think will win? Incorrect, it is indeed the BBC that has won.
This particular segment lasted 20 godforsaken minutes and for as long as I live, I'll regret wasting those 20 minutes. The race was slightly exciting for the first minute and a half, but then it became an unnecessarily long tour of Dubai and a display of great wealth that most of us will never have.
Joey spared no expense in getting from one part of Dubai to another, taking a £1m boat, getting a fancy taxi, taking a Honda jet and then a big motorbike, while the smug guy in the car just drove like a normal person. It's a strange sensation to see people commute for sport when you're planning to commute for work the following day and every day after until you die.
Top Gear is a show made by dads for dads. There's just a massive bang of dad off the whole thing, apart from the point at which Tinie Tempah emerges and dad wonders what's happened to the youth of today.
Although not a car fan, I enjoyed parts of Top Gear. The bit where they played PAC-MAN was the coolest thing I've seen on telly in quite some time, I also liked a joke one of the guys made, when he turned to Matt LeBlanc and said "I wish you lost the race so I could've said 'Looks like you're always stuck in second gear'". Exceptional.
In summary, I still don't know shit about cars, but I'm glad Joey found work after Friends.
Images via BBC