And USA Remake Week Continues....
Top Gear USA:
Once Again, We Drop The Ball
On A Totally Simple Slam Dunk
I've always been a car fan, I mean like a big, crazy, rattles off performance stats in a tone so excited that I think everyone around me has a clue what I'm jibbering on about kind of car fan. It comes from all the car shows I went to as a kid, both my parents were car people, which means just like their loves of movies and tv and music, I'd ofcourse get their love of cars. Its that love of cars, and the ability to download tv shows over the internet, as well as the almost constant ordering to watch by those I know that live in the UK, that I found Top Gear, the longest running automotive show in the world, and really, the benchmark for anything automotive related on television. Its hip, its creative, its informative, and its pretty enjoyable to watch. But when you think of it, who wouldn't wanna watch a show about three goofballs doing insane crap with used cars and taking the fastest production car in the world out for a Sunday spin?
After many years of success in the UK, and a successful Australian version thats almost as fun to watch as the original and a Russian version that I've seen little of, but found pretty good for a show produced by bears on unicycles, fat smelly guys drunk off tader booze and whores, I found myself jumping for joy when word came out that we were finally getting a Top Gear spin off here in the states. They didn't tell us who would be hosting or what they'd be covering, but when you think of all the fun they can have with an endless supply of american cars at their fingertips, anything really was possible, it was just so exciting to speculate. Sadly though, what could have been every american car lovers dream, was infact, kind of the opposite.
What we got were three guys that looked and acted completely uncomfortable with each other and uncomfortable on camera, and are just lacking in most ways. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they need to be exactly like the originals, after all the Aussies are nothing at all like the UK team and I love them. Its just there seems to be no real connection or shared love between the american hosts, and they just look like a car crash on screen, and with out knowing anything at all about them, you honestly feel they're just three dicks in a circle jerk trying to half ass a horrible rehash of a great concept. here, lets get out the block quotes and break it down alittle shall we?
Tanner Foust is a former X Games Rally Racer and Drift Champion turned Stunt Driver, who's biggest claim to fame is that he was the lead stunt man in the Fast and The Furious films, as well as the main stunt driver for The General Lee in the movie version of The Dukes of Hazzard. He was the host of "Battle Of The Supercars" a show that was produced by the same crew that does Top Gear USA.
This guy is a little annoying prick of a man, he talks like he knows what he's on about, but he really doesn't. His only real shining moments were by sheer luck getting a chevy truck that was able to out last the worst year model of the Ford F-150 and the insanely horrible 1997 Dodge Ram, known for its insane issues and breaking down issues. Yeah thats great, you beat two junkpiles with a moderately well built Chevy truck, you know what we call that up here in New Hampshire, where the rare northern redneck runs wild? A SATURDAY AFTERNOON. Its hardly a feat honestly. Oh and he lost to some skiers using a Lancer Evo in some winter offroading. This guy is an X Games Rally champ, how in the hell does he lose in a Lancer Evo, a street legal rally car, to two douchebags in speed suits?
Adam Ferrara who is known to most as Cheif "Needles" Nelson on the series "Rescue Me", and his other major role of note was in the tour de force known as Paul Blart; Mall Cop. That and some stand up is all this guy's done, no seriously thats it, thats literally all there is.
Adam really doesn't do anything of any real note or notice on the show, he's just there, he stands with the other two and agrees with them or stands silently, its really almost painful to watch him at times. Its like they just slapped this guy in there because someone was all "hey we need a guy that looks dull and can speak car techy talk.." and they found this guy. Ugh.. just.. ugh.
Rutledge Wood is "a professional car enthusiast" who has done television and blog work for Speed Channel, where he mostly annoyed NASCAR drivers and fans by attempting to make it sound like there is alot of technical skill involved in taking left turn and going down a straightaway at 200mph in a non-car that looks exactly like every other non-car on the track. even though there are four companies out there making said cars.
I know I say this alot, but honestly, I HATE HATE HATE HATE Rutledge Wood, he tries to hard to be their Jeremy Clarkson, but he doesn't understand that Clarkson's deadpan serious delivery of brilliantly funny lines isn't something you can mimic, you have to truly believe the stuff you're saying, and not look like a fat idiot in a flannel shirt and thick glasses who mugs at the camera after every attempt at a one liner as if to say "please find me funny I have no real life skills". This is evident in the one time he attempted to do a Clarkson like intro to the segment with the american stig, or "AmeriStig" if you rather, as well as the time he actually called one of the other three "Captain Slow", it makes you wonder if he was just watching reruns and attempting to mimic and steal lines or something. Honestly, I wanna smack him most of the time. Also what is a "Professional Car Enthusiast" exactly? I love cars, have all of my life, and am a tall fat jackass with a beard, does that mean I could get paid to be just like Rutledge Wood and get paid to be a complete tosser on tv? if so, sign me up, I'll do laps around this guy. No, literally, he's that fat, you can do laps around him. Oh also he called Austin Martin "liars" because the DB8 or whatever doesn't go as fast as the speedometer goes up too. .. Moron.
Even AmeriStig annoys me honestly, I've been looking at the test track times from UK, Aussie, Russian and US shows, and AmeriStig is the slowest of them all! Sure the UK has had like 5 Stigs, but what the hell, he does not have one lap in any of the cars, and the one truck, under 1 minute 22 seconds, this shows that the show is either unable to, or unwilling for budget reasons, to get use of the higher end supercars that the three other versions are able to get to do their laps with. Its painful as all hell to watch, plus given how he seems to not really know what he's doing alot, I'm kind of wondering if AmeriStig is a NASCAR or maybe outlaw driver, which would kind of be another nail in the coffin for this jet crashing in slow motion with both of its engines lit up like a giant hippie at Burning Man of a show. And yes, you did read that right, AmeriStig took a Ford F-150 around the test track. No I am not kidding.
The cast isn't the only thing that annoys me, its the out and out lack of creativity in not only challenges, but in the cars they have on the show. of the 12 cars they took around the track, only 2 were american cars, the Dodge Viper and the Ford F-150. You would think that with an american show, you'd do atleast one attempt at a show about muscle cars right? Nope! Instead we get 9 shows and one best of that all feature the Lamborghini Gallardo and its various sub-versions. I mean seriously, they shoehorned this car into EVERY episode. And though most love the challenges, the show is still about the reviews and test drives, and well there really were so few of them, and though I love the Mustang Boss and the Morgan Aero SuperSports, it made me sad that they were really the only non-bias reviews done on the show, granted 90% of the show was taken up by re-doing a challenge from the UK series; playing tag with an attack chopper, ect. The whole thing really just feels off and completely unconnected. It just, doesn't work at all. like they gave away the respect and unbiased coverage to pander to the advertisement people.
But then, what do I know? lol American TV'll ruin something, but not know when it should call it a day on certain things...
This'll give you an idea of what I'm talking about...
Top Gear USA Clip #2: Lamborghini Comparison