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Curmudgeon it up if you like, but the second season of Top Gear America has just launched Sunday night and it was, for lack of a better term, “gut busting.” I really do feel sorry for people who are in the either/or camp of Top Gear. Honestly you can have both the Brits’ and the Americans’ motoring show and not die of shame. No one is checking ID at the door, really folks; it’s cool.

So I sat down to watch the first episode of season 2 and I find that they have broken away from the British format and elected to go with something a little more fitting to their styles. No “Jessica” in the credits, the studio is outside, and the production value upgrade is noticeable. Plus, the three hosts’ personalities are already coming through on camera a load better this year.

Take this great shot of Rut driving his Miata full of S%*t wearing a bandanna, straw cowboy hat, and air-fresheners, for instance. This scene and the entire manure trekking adventure had me laughing so hard my kidneys hurt. Is it juvenile toilet humor? Yes, yes it is — and I loved it.

I dig the Euro Top Gear, but sometimes old Renaults and Peugeots just don’t do it for me. I know that’s terrifically “American” of me, but the fact that the old beaters they get here in the states are rides I might have had a shot of owning — or at least shotgunning in at some point in my life — makes me identify a bit more with the U.S. version. One example is this fine “subcompact” monster truck Ford Maverick.

My point is: I think there’s room for both shows without having to “represent” anything. People who watch U.S. Top Gear aren’t simpletons, and folks who prefer British Top Gear aren’t higher brow. They’re just cars shows — and damn fine car shows at that.

Check out Top Gear on Sundays @ 9 p.m. Central on History.

Top Gear [History Channel]

 

8 Responses to Top Gear — Colonial Style S2

  1. rqwreqw says:

    For once, UK version is so much better. It seems less staged and more refined.

  2. Damien says:

    I would like to see the US version. The UK version often feels as an endless remake of the Monthy Python “Upperclass Twit of the Year race”, funny if I limit it to two shows a year.

  3. Kurt says:

    I think they moved the audience outside for this one, which emulated the UK’s occasional episode where they break the format of having a guest driver, review,etc. You can see the interior set through the open doors near the end of the episode. I watch them both, but prefer the UK version; of course they have had years to polish it and build up a library of cool episodes, such as the trip to the North Pole and the fun they have with the various armed forces.

  4. Mike says:

    I think everyone deserves a second chance, so best of luck to the US version.
    I loved the UK version from day one. My favorite episode is when they come to the US but, because of a visa issue, they have to promise the US State Department “not to be entertaining” while taping the show. (Season 12, Episode 2)

  5. MattC says:

    I have been a Fan of TGUK fo rmnay years and was thrilled to have an American version. The problem with TGUS (first season) was that they were trying to emulate the UK’s version completely and quite honestly much of the humor (and the concept of The Stig) seemed lost of the US version. I did see that Tanner, Rutledge, and Ferrara gelled more and more as the season progressed and felt that the season ended on a definite upswing.

    I also watched the first episode of Season 2 and found it enjoyable. I hope that the US version continues to find its own voice. I personally love Ferrara (a whipping boy in many other forums in the first season). Tanner is starting to seem less wooden and stilted on camera. Rutledge is a natural on camera.

    I always will place TGUK first among all other car shows and great many other types of programming as well. But TGUS seems to be finding its way.

  6. Bill Brasky says:

    i like ferrara more as Needles on Rescue Me.

    Also I just started to watch “The Car SHow” on Speed and its a lot like TGUS with Adam Carrola and others. They had a contest to have hot models learn to drive a stick with only 15 minutes of practice prior to the course test…it was pretty funny.

  7. Toolfreak says:

    When something original is good, the duplicate hardly ever is better, or even equal.

    Top Gear is at it’s best when it’s about reviewing sports cars and exotic vehicles with humor and commentary from the hosts in between. It’s at it’s worst when it’s about the hosts trying to be funny and upstage everything and try to work some vehicles into it.

    The US Top Gear will probably do ok once it stops trying to be the UK Top Gear completely, and is not a staged show with pointless content.

    US Top Gear would do well to milk the car companies desire for promotion and get a new flagship or high end ride to review each episode, though. I never understand why I am seeing crap cars instead of the shiny new stuff. Sure, there’s room for antiques, the crazy and the bizarre, but a part of every ep dedicated to a high end vehicle, how it does on the test track, and how they all compared to each other over the course of the seasons should be the cornerstone of TG in any country.

  8. Harry says:

    Top Gear USA is much better than that “the car show” on speed. Top Gear USA needs to be judged on its own merits. The early episodes of the UK version weren’t that smooth or polished. Don’t take it too seriously though, it’s only for entertainment.

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