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'Top Gear' recap: American, and proud of it

Topgearep4-2Episode 4 got me wondering: Who has more testosterone coursing through his slender bod? Tanner Foust, who raced Ford's mega-beast F-150 Raptor through the Arizonan scrub, or his competitor, the unidentified HALO jumper, who bulleted downward through the clouds at 120 miles per hour?

Until Episode 4, Foust was pretty unrivaled in his machismo. But this unnamed military member was spectacular to watch as he jumped from 25,000 feet and tumbled through the air like a rag doll with a contrail exiting at his foot.

Perhaps it was because the opening segment was so cool that its follow-up seemed so mundane. First, the not-so-new Mercedes-Benz Gullwing has been covered to death. Second, I'm just tired of watching Adam Ferrara floor fancy-pants sports cars in a straight line.

Note to BBC Worldwide's producers: Get this man to Bondurant.

I will give Ferrara this. He's excellent on his feet. While much of "Top Gear's" colorful monologuery sounds like it could have been written by my former colleague, Dan Neil, and the show's stunning cinematography is often used to cover up for the driving inadequacies of two of its three hosts, Ferrara has a great sense of comedy.

I loved his narration of entering the Gullwing, which included "Sharon Stone" as a seating position. And his description of the SLS "running out of ass," when he talked about the car's unfinished rear end, was brilliant.

Now. About Kid Rock. Say what you will about his music, or his lifestyle, but I appreciated what he had to say about his hometown. I think he spoke for a lot of Americans who are waiting for the Big Three Detroit automakers to reclaim their past greatness and come up with innovative designs that speak to a new generation.

Like the Ford F-150 Raptor that opened the episode -- if it got better than 14ish mpg.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Ford F-150 Raptor. Credit: History

Comments () | Archives (4)

I was disappointed in the US version of Top Gear. The UK version is far more wittier. The chemistry is genuine and doesn't seem forced or scripted. I had higher hopes for the show, but will keep watching because I love my automobiles. However, the cast needs to not be so stiff, relax... and be less scripted. The original UK version is magical and they pull no punches on what they dislike about a vehicle. I hope the US version can get close to the chemistry of the original series. I did like the segment about the Ford Raptor.... a real off road vehicle, and a Hennessey Veloceraptor at that! For less than a Toyota Land Cruiser!

The show stinks. I don't blame the cast though, I blame the producers, the directors and the writers. I do believe that the cast could actually make themselves likable and develop some chemistry but they're obviously being fed their carefully scripted lines and it is going to be the death of the show. You can't tell that any of them have a shred of passion or enthusiasm for anything that they're talking about. They shouldn't try to be the English trio as that's not them but if they could muster 1% of the love that Jeremy Clarkson has for fast cars they would be on their way to a great show. But there's none of that, they stand their stiffly wearing carefully coreographed clothes (flannel shirt? check shirt jacket? check) and read off of prompters enunciating every syllable crisply because that's how someone wants it.

What people like about the original show is this:
1. They're normal guys (with all their flaws readily apparent)
2. You can tell they LOVE LOVE LOVE cars, really fast ones
3. They're occasionally immature deviants
4. They actually like each other
5. They, not their producers or anyone else, run the show and are determined to have fun with it

Once again the Brits come out with a great original concept and we strip it of all appeal and call it entertainment. Sadly, some executive producer will not let the talent and their chemistry develop and so this too shall pass into a failed experiment.

if the producers listen to p ryan this show has a chance.

The american version stinks! Does not compare to the UK version. Please take it off the air.


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