Top Gear & Jeremy Clarkson

topGear Photo Courtesy of the BBC

By now, those of you who have any gas [petrol] in your veins have heard about the firing of Jeremy Clarkson from the hit BBC series Top Gear.

You can’t punch your producer without having some kind of repercussion.

To tell you the truth, I hadn’t even heard of Top Gear until a couple of years ago. Being a luddite, I have never had cable or satellite TV.

Or more accurately, I didn’t want to spent $100-$150/month just to get 4-5 programs that I would want.

But I did learn about streaming, and when I saw 20 seasons of Top Gear on Netflix, I ripped through them in about 6 months.

Yep, 6 months to see 20 years worth of Top Gear productions.

To tell you the truth, I have always been ambivalent about the show. The British show Fifth Gear is, to me, more focused on….cars.

The American version of Top Gear, at least  to me,  tries to much to be like its British parent and fell flat. Whatever “It” the original had, it is not formulaic. Sometimes, to the producer’s surprise, they get “Lightning In A Bottle”.

Still, the original has so many stupid “reality show” type antics. Just as an example, they took cars and house trailers, er, caravans, and made trains out of them. Running on actually used train tracks.

Or bought ridiculously underpowered old scooters and then traveled the length of Vietnam.

I have thought stunts like this – there are literally dozens, were silly.

But I still stayed addicted to the show.

Clarkson, with his 2 co-hosts, Richard Hammond and James May, are knowledgeable about cars. The hundreds of tests they have done on the airport grounds are genuinely informative.

Unlike many who have felt that Clarkson made the show, I believe it was the 3 of them together who made a special energy. Can you imagine, say, Seinfeld, (which took about a year to get an audience), without the team of Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, or Julia Louis-Dreyfus?

But still, Clarkson was a light. When I say that the 3 of them made the show, I believe that had Clarkson been the sole host, the show would have been nowhere where it is.

I really couldn’t understand the appeal of this show, until I read this National Review article.

Hint: Clarkson’s popularity had nothing to do with cars.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Top Gear & Jeremy Clarkson

  1. MaxDamage

    The trio on Top Gear were greater than the sum of their parts for precisely the same reason that The Three Stooges were. You had the pudgy, crotchety blowhard in Clarkson. In May you had the smart but generally incompetent intellectual. In Hammond you had the short, angry bloke who made up in comedy what he lacked in stature. I’ve been a fan for about ten years. It’s a tv show, so obviously it’s scripted and staged and there’s not much that is unexpected. Still, it remains three blokes (and we all have a friend just like them) who are having a great time together playing with the most awesome toys. What’s not to like?

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