“I think something should go wrong with May’s air conditioning…”

Monday, February 12, 2007 by

I can already guess just how much sanctimonious, over-sensitive complaining will have hit the BBC Duty Log over the last 12 hours or so since the latest episode of Top Gear aired on BBC2.

Clarkson, Hammond and May headed to the States (Miami, initially) to see if they could buy a car for less money than a fortnight’s rental (the budget was $1,000) and then had to undertake a series of challenges, as ever. Unusually, the amount of worthy footage made the programme into a “special”, with the regular turns (Star in a Reasonably Priced Car,Cool Wall, etc) all ditched for the week, and the three wise men merely doing a link in the hangar at the start, playing the tape, and then saying goodnight to tumultuous applause.

So, would you complain about a show which constantly derided the folk of good ol’ US of A as fat, gun-toting, prejudicial, rude ignorami with no ability to make a good car or get a joke? Would you complain about the prospect of three men having to eat a dead cow found as roadkill by Clarkson, who then transported it to the camp via his roof? Would you complain at three Englishmen who drove their vehicles through Christian far-right Alabama with pro-gay, pro-Democrat and anti-Country & Western slogans emblazoned on their vehicles? I’ll leave it with you. However, the ending in New Orleans – where plans to flog the cars and fly home were shelved when they saw the unresolved destruction caused a year earlier by Katrina and just gave the cars to needy families via the local mission – showed the heart and soul of Top Gear. Petrolheadedness and stereotype doesn’t ever equal inhumanity, and even Clarkson – the most rabid anti-American in our media – was devastated by what he saw.

It’s the best programme on television. And if you want me to apologise for that view, tough…


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