Top Gear

The BBC show Top Gear is my favorite TV program, bar none. Did anyone watch the new dual episode where the guys went to Patagonia?
Wow! The stars, along with the production crew, are extremely lucky to be alive.

I thought they were in a bit of danger in their trip across the southern U.S. but that was nothing compared to Argentina.

Last week, I saw the first installment…until I fell asleep.

For some reason–most likely related to my age–this program is like a soporific for me, and I usually fall asleep before it is finished…to my great dismay.

In the parts of the Patagonia episode that I did see, predictably, the Lotus was the superior car (the underlying theme of most of the HIGHLY-scripted Car Talk episodes is the superiority of British cars, whether it is a Lotus, or an Aston-Martin, or a Jag, or a Land Rover, or…whatever), but despite the predictability, it was still entertaining–as it usually is.

Last night, I noticed that the second installment was being aired, and I really wanted to see it, but because I was being feted for my birthday, I didn’t get home until it was over. However, since all of these episodes are repeated at some point, I am confident that I will eventually see both parts of the Patagonia episode.

My previous favorites were the India, Middle East, and southern US episodes, but I think that the all-time best was the Vietnam episode. Somehow the Myanmar episode didn’t seem quite as good as those others.

That Viet Nam episode is one of, if not the, best episodes they’ve done. The scenery in their shows is always fascinating to me and I would love to actually visit that bay at the end with the floating bar.

That Patagonia episode is the first one where they’ve had to abandon their cars and flee for their lives across open country, at night, to reach the Chilean border.

I would add the special episode as one of my favorites when they drove to the North Pole. (magnetic)

I missed that one, why were they fleeing?

The 3 guys had to each buy cars. Clarkson’s car had a license plate that read JFLK1982. Near the end of their trip someone noted this as a reference to the Falklands war in 1982 which the Argentinians lost. They were advised to stop short of their destination and hold up in a hotel. People started showing up including some Argentinian military vets.

During a meeting with hotel management, police, and a couple of those vets they were advised that people were coming and violence was likely. They were told to get out in 3 hours instead of 24 so they bailed on the run along with 31 production crew and 20 tons of equipment.

It was almost 200 miles to the Chilean border and word had gotten ahead. As they entered a city with police escort people were out in droves and they were advised to wedge pullovers into the windows of their cars as a safety measure. Eggs upon entering town became rocks and bricks. Someone tried to head the production convoy off with another vehicle but they made it through. It’s assumed the police vehicles with flashing lights were taking a beating also.

Outside of town they heard that in the next large city before the border there was a huge crowd and 300 cars waiting for them so they decided to exit the highway and head cross-country for Chile. Apparently they were going to be stopped with an automotive log jam. The 3 cars the guys used (a Ford Mustang, Lotus, and Porsche) were abandoned on the highway as they headed through the sticks for Chile.

This was all going on at night and they made a river crossing at night into Chile and safety.

In daylight the production vehicles were seen beat to pieces and 2 of the production crew suffered injuries from rocks and glass.

At night it was hard to tell how many protestors there were in that one town but in the light of store windows and signs it appeared to be quite a few. There was a real melee going on there.

Lots of news coverage:

I’m guessing the “river crossing” (swimming?) was added for dramatic effect.

I can’t remember the details, but I seem to recall that in one show they were driving through the deep south with old beaters pained by rattlecans with sayings designed to irritate the southerners and they almost got shot. They were chased away from a gas station by guys in the back of a pickup wielding shotguns.

I don’t get the show anymore, but I sure wish I did. When my daughter moved out a few years back I discontinued all but the “basic” cable package. I was still working and rarely watched TV.

The one in the deep south (Miami to New Orleans) had a challenge where they were supposed to write things on let’s say Hammond’s truck that would get him shot or arrested. The other two cars (A 80’s camaro and a Caddilac Fleetwood) had various slogans on them as well. The writing was removed as soon as possible after that incident. They re-air that one every now and again on BBC America.

They showed all that beautiful scenery but ended up finishing after an ugly night with much damage.

I remember the southern show. I can t remember what was written on the vehicles, but I remember that it was very insulting…

I think it was probably planned to incite bad reactions

reminds me of a great song, considering their final destination…

we shot once and the british kept a’comin…

we shot once more and began to runnin’ , down the Mississippi to the gulf of mexico

they ran thru the briars and they ran thru the brambles, they ran thru places that a rabbit couldn t go

they ran so fast that the hounds couldn t catch 'em , down the…

kinda makes me wonder if the falklands tag was intentional too…

I remember one of the slogans was “NASCAR is rubbish!” and another had something to do with gay pride. I could see how neither of those would be popular in the deep south, which is not known for progressiveness or deep thoughts as a whole.

Another Top Gear episode I really liked was the Iraq episode. The scenery was just amazing. You can say what you want about Jeremy Clarkson’s ego, about how so many of the ‘spontaneous’ situations are obviously staged, but there is still not a fresher, more consistently interesting, entertaining, and engaging auto-themed show on anywhere. Our attempt to emulate the show with a US version is a mere shadow of the original.

“I can t remember what was written on the vehicles, but I remember that it was very insulting.”

Very insulting?
Some slogans painted on a car are “insulting” only if somebody has both a very poor self-image and if he/she insists on taking everything personally.

The most important thing to remember with Top Gear (both the altogether superior UK version and the mostly boring US version) is that almost everything is scripted, and the scripting is designed to entertain you just as much (if not more) than it is to inform you about the cars being driven.

My recollection of the graffiti on those cars includes “Hillary for President”.
How does advocating a particular candidate for office “insult” anybody?

There was also a reference to gay rights or gay marriage, or something to that effect.
Again, that slogan represented an opinion.
If somebody is “insulted” by a pronouncement like that, it actually reveals much about his/her own insecurities and also an inability to exhibit tolerance of other people’s opinions.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the purpose of that graffiti was to provoke reactions from rural southern folks.
Was that wise? Probably not.
Was it nice of the show’s producers to do? Absolutely not.

However, whether the resulting violence was foreseen or not, the bottom line is that the producers managed to prove that many people in that neck of the woods are intolerant of any opinion other than their own, and that some of those folks are willing to resort to violence when they disagree with somebody. And, all of this was designed to amuse and to entertain you–nothing more, and nothing less.

Queen Victoria was known to say…We are not amused…when something displeased her. Clearly those rural southerners were not amused, but all they did was to prove the point that the show’s producers probably intended to demonstrate.

It’s all scripted!

if someone comes to my home and makes a point of provoking me they will be run off

I ll re phrase my original abuse. anyone who generalizes and says southern folks are stupid Neanderthals, as oblivion did in a left handed way.

is an un informed bigot. flag away

Wiki says population is about 90% European ancestry. Must be a lot of shaky lineage. Like most of the Australians are descended from European prison stock. Them folks is crazy.

"if someone comes to my home and makes a point of provoking me they will be run off "

Should we assume that, if you see something…provocative… on a public highway, you will run that person off of the road? Because that is the type of reaction that took place in the “Southern” episode.

The deep south is well-known as the bastion of a rather conservative type of Christianity.
If those folks are truly Christian, shouldn’t they have learned about tolerance, and about “Turning the other cheek?”

It just seems to me that violence against strangers who have not committed violence against you is very…un-Christian. You may wish to differ.

Top Gear peaked around the 7th-10th seasons IMHO. From seasons 15 and onward it’s been going downhill noticeably. For the upcoming season/series they are doing a Top Gear U.S. vs. Top Gear UK episode, hopefully it will be as entertaining as the Top Gear Australia vs. Top Gear UK episode was

The twin fraca (fracases? fraci?..well, more than one fracas, anyways) remind me of something my mom told me (and her mom told her, and so on):

You went looking for trouble, and were unlucky enough to find it!

While I might not have resorted to violence, the thought of people quite obviously foreign, travelling through YOUR hometown…and OPENLY MOCKING IT…is clearly highly offensive. It’s not the “Hillary for President” graffiti, @VDCdriver, it’s seeing all the cameras and knowing that YOU’RE BEING RIDICULED FOR SPORT TO MILLIONS OF VIEWERS that’s offensive, IMO. (Or don’cha think than us’n country folk is bright enough to figger that part out?)

As for the rocks, etc, you weren’t there…you don’t know if they were aiming AT or NEAR them. Using Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” idea, it’s quite possible that somebody, in the midst of such behavior, might choose to “play the part” in hopes of actually making it to TV as a “villian.” (Far fetched? Well, we live in a society where people call up their friends and say, “Make sure you watch “COPS” tonight…I get arrested!”)

I’m far from a Brit-hater (I figure WWII put out whatever smoldering ashes of resentment exist from our nation’s birth)…but hearing Jeremy mention “Going to Visit the Colonies” sticks in my craw. If nothing else, you’re trivializing the sacrifices made by thousands of dead soldiers…whose dying wish is not to be ANYBODY’S “colony.” I woudn’t throw rocks at the guy…he’s actually entertaining, usually, but he often comes off as a pompous [phallus], whether designed or innate to his nature.

(And, if you think this is unique to southerners, flip the script: drive through Cockney London with your car covered with sayings offensive to the Queen. (OR better yet, drive through Ulster with sayings DEFENDING the Queen, heh, heh.) Let us know how you do!)

“If nothing else, you’re trivializing the sacrifices made by thousands of dead soldiers.”

How you could possibly come up with that interpretation of what I said is…mind-boggling, to say the least.

“it’s seeing all the cameras and knowing that YOU’RE BEING RIDICULED FOR SPORT TO MILLIONS OF VIEWERS that’s offensive.”

When seeing a camera crew, how would anybody know exactly what they are filming, or what the purpose might be of that filming?

Why don’t you address the issue of whether that violent reaction is a truly Christian act–especially in an area that prides itself on its fundamental Christianity?