We have them. I quite like the post card themed opening that they’re going with for each location - especially the curious giraffe at the beginning which attacks the go-pro with love.
Although this is the second episode in the season, it was the first to be filmed in their new tent. The boys picked South Africa because it is one of their favourite places to perform their lives shows and you can see why. Everyone is in good humour but you still have to work to make them laugh - which is how it should be. You don’t want to end up like an American sitcom where they essential hold up, ‘laugh here’ signs.
It’s fair to say there are three types of episodes that these guys do.
1. Car shows. The Holy Trinity is a perfect example of them getting down and dirty with the rubber and screech of wheels on tarmac.
2. Very British comedy skits. This is one of those episodes where they employ satire and a bit of silliness that may or may not have anything to do with cars.
3.The producers / Andy try to kill them in some kind of extended challenge - like a Christmas special.
A REAL AUDIENCE
These guys don’t take themselves nearly as seriously and are on form as we launch into some evolutionary fun at Clarkson’s expense. Priceless would have to be the inclusion of local jokes - although they need to be explained to us they are dead funny. Arithmetic. It only got more better as the episode wore on. This is a genuine return to Top Gear of old where it was okay to draw a bit of comic inspiration from real people without fear of being attacked by several whiny newspapers. They also went there with a ‘well known South African’ joke which worked well. Honest, snappy humour is what Brits do best.
The whole wildlife and car jacking all felt like the old #news section which was a welcome relief. The more I watch it, the more I love it. Actually, not sure how many of you remember when they let Clarkson go on the internet… It’s like that. He’s been on the internet…
Careful when letting Clarkson review your car. Especially if your car is barely big enough to fit a twelve foot ape inside.
Clarkson has genuine trouble squishing his substantial frame into this (otherwise beautiful - if not useless) car. I’m sure he was going for something more graceful but the results are great. He quite simply needs to be sewn into the car before the cameras start rolling. And this is where we get back to the reason we love these guys reviewing cars. It doesn’t matter how expensive the car or the length of pedigree it drags behind it, they are not afraid to show a vehicle’s flaws. Especially one like this where it only sort of works some of the time (and you’ll need a traveling troop of mechanics with you to keep it going).
Definitely enjoyed this review more than last week’s. There was something honest about it. We’re also settling into their test track. The unkempt look of it against these priceless machines is really spectacular.
BTW make sure you keep an eye on the x-ray feature on Amazon Prime - it’s just as snarky as the presenters and gives quite cruel commentary mixed in with some genuinely interesting facts.
BACK TO THE
The bickering is on form this week and they were slipping in some unscripted jibes at each other which come off the best of all of it. I’m not sure anyone’s sold on The American doing the test laps but if we’re fair, the Stig was never immensely interesting - which is why he never said anything. I’d prefer to have Ben Collins do the laps as himself but in perfect silence - although I suspect that the BBC won’t let them have the man who is pretty much the living embodiment of their pet. Still, this bit serves its purpose for creating a lap board and it doesn’t take that long. Besides, maybe we’ll grow to love him as the series rolls on.
…I wonder if the legal paperwork would implode if they brought TopGear dog on set… I’m pretty sure you can’t bar someone’s pet from production. Love to see them try even if it served the square root of jack shit.
Which was more like 'The News’ this time and it was honestly quite good. There was a nice reference to elephants which we’re meant to connect to Jeremy ’s 'appearance’ in the last episode of Top Gear as a literal elephant.
Jezza’s got his glasses back on which means business. He’s always better when he’s off-the-cufing facts.
This whole section is my second favourite. I used to love to sit around listening to them rubbish on about stuff they’ve found and this is exactly what they’re doing. Anyone brave enough in the audience to participate is mocked for entertainment purposes, as is only fitting.
WILMAN COMMANDS THEM
A lot of us in fandom have been wishing that Andy would start to play more of a role in this production and, with the absence of 'The Producers’ as antagonists, Andy has become, 'the boss’ who is obviously going to subject them to various tortures throughout the season.
Which is brilliant. It’s everything I want. Andy has a great, dry sense of humour and the idea of him as an malevolent overlord makes me grin.
Some fans have suggested that Andy run either a snapchat, twitter or outtakes behind the scenes and by gods I wish he would. It would be so epic to see the thing from his perspective.
Now we begin with a gratuitous extended gag based on Edge of Tomorrow - or Groundhog Day if you’re a bit more weathered.
Scene begins with another of Clarkson’s dubious double entendre and straight into the boys orientating themselves on a special forces base which has been modified slightly for them to have a crack at being action movie stars.
The opening few minutes are actually my favourite of the section where Jezza picks up an automatic weapon, fires it at a Merc and genuinely shoots himself in the arm. It really hurt. It’s not makeup and leads to a great summary and perfectly #concerned May face as he contemplates leaping from a helicopter. Also. May’s hair. It’s #OnFleek !
They head off to get changed and end up looking like the most awful SAS operatives ever confirming that if the fate of the world comes down to these guys we’re all absolutely frakked.
And then it begins in a helicopter - which is for real. Clarkson is honest to gods about to jump out of a helicopter and you can tell that he’s shit scared. By the time he’s pushed out onto a rope his usual TV reserve has cracked and he’s properly panicking. Fear makes for great TV - something that their sadistic boss is well aware of.
“Whoa! Stop! Jesus Christ. Oh shit!” This, from Clarkson, is just him panicking.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing graceful about his descent - possibly the worst ever performed. Neither May not Hammond are prepared to engage in this kind of dangerous activity so the helicopter lands on their next attempt - which goes well right until Clarkson and May have to don their glasses and read the instructions on it.
May - kicks down a door… Gently.
Clarkson has no clue how to handle a weapon. Who gave this man live ammunition… May tries but half the time he’s sights are closed and he has to pause mid-battle to amend this. This all leads to an opportunity for Hammond and May to have a go at killing Clarkson. Something I think they’ve been fantasizing about for a very long time. May wastes no time emptying a magazine over his head. The recoil on that thing is enormous. Hammond is more successful with his shovel attempt.
It’s kind of like a video game where they keep resetting. Giffers… be warned… You’re going to be doing nothing but transform this into tiny moving pixels.
Also, James runs on camera - several times.
What this segment was missing is a purpose. With all their previous challenges there is some logic in their madness - even if it is straw-clasping. Without purpose there is no jeopardy. If, for example, it was them actually having to make it through the endurance or pick a car that actually got them through the challenge without being killed, it would have lifted it just that bit higher. Hell I’d have loved to see them try and complete this challenge in a supercar with NO SPACE.
MAKE YOUR OWN CAR
This was cute. Loved that they invited the guy onto the show - it’s sort of a reward for car nuts that if they do something cool they might get to share it with the world. I hope they keep digging up random shit like this because it adds substance and credence to its status as a car show.
MAKE JAMES DO SHIT HE HATES
AKA my favourite section. This better stick around because I love the concept of making one of them do something that they really don’t want to do. The tension leads to hilarity. This time around, its 'spinning’ which, aside from being generally excellently filmed and entertaining, I love the return of grumpy May who really dislikes being half-trashed in the middle of tyre smoke while his driver leaps out of the car and leaves him helpless in an out of control car that is clearly about to catch fire and kill him. I’m certain he wreaked of that stale rubber scent for weeks. It was quite literally an immersion. If they can find something like this in every country I’m so down for it.
“Get back in the car you f**king idiot!”
PART II - PLANES, CRANES & RESCUE DISASTERS
This segment needed to be about the function of the cars to help them complete these tasks. It’s a real shame they didn’t go down that route but there are some great scenes for vidders and cappers and it quickly picks up when Hammond and James refuse to behave themselves, killing each other off when they get annoyed with petty grievances. Their solution to dealing with a pair of terrorists is to kill everyone (which is unorthodox but allows them to survive) and then they all bundle into their getaway car. James, who can no longer be trusted with his side arm after he knocks off both Hammond and the Queen in quick succession, is disarmed by Jeremy.
'Everybody’s dead back there…“
Now we’re back into a bit of car reviewing under the pressure of live fire - which was great. Think James might have been a bit generous with Jeremy’s height so he probably lost a bet somewhere along the way because as we all know, compliments don’t come free. We’re back on track here where they explain that the reason they’re using the Audi because it often appears in action films as the car of choice.
Then we get both Hammond and May dangling out the windows of their car firing live rounds into petrol stations to the chorus of massive explosions. Nothing to see here… Everything to love. #worthit #i'mdead #can'tdeal #noneofthisisfair
- Two in a row, I think it’s safe to say this is their official closing words.