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Top Gear Still Truly Egg-cellent

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Every Monday morning I tell myself that I will not be discussing Top Gear come Tuesday. I have talked about the program enough, I have discussed its ups and bigger ups, and  you're probably tired of hearing about it. Then, Monday evening rolls around. Monday evening I watch Top Gear and I think to myself that I just have to, one last time, talk about Top Gear. I have to, just one more time, delve into its wonderfulness. So, come Tuesday, you read another Top Gear article. Are you watching the show yet? Because the season is almost over and you really need to check it out. If you don't, you'll regret it in the morning.

The main portion of last night's show featured the presenters doing their best to prove to themselves, the audience, and their producers that British Leyland Motors did in fact, at one time, produce a decent vehicle. Now, apparently their producers didn't believe our heroes so the producers made them go out and buy, with their own money, British Leyland-built cars and try and perform certain tests on them in order to prove that the cars were any good.

The tests ranged, in true Top Gear form, from the sublime to the ridiculous. There were pretty standard things like can the car actually get somewhere without breaking down (they couldn't), time trials (the cars were awful) , and whether or not the hand brake worked (allegedly two out of the three were operable). Then, there were the absurd tests, like making the car travel on an uneven road surface with a colander full of eggs about the driver's head; if the suspension on the car was any good, the eggs wouldn't break. There was also a water test, wherein the car was filled to the top with water and the driver, in a dry suit with a snorkel, had to drive as far around the track as he could before the water level dropped below the steering wheel. The notion here was that a well built car would fit together precisely and little water would leak out, whereas a poorly built one would leak like a sieve and not be able to get anywhere (as happened with one of the cars).

And, it is these tests that prove that the show is brilliant. The tests were both run-of-the-mill and over-the-top, but the over-the-top ones still proved a good point or two about the vehicles. I've never heard of British Leyland Motors before last night, but I was pulling for them to have built a decent vehicle, if only so that Hammond, Clarkson, and May could stick it to their so obviously evil producers. They didn't, maybe save May, but it was a nice thought.

Upsettingly, I think the show fudged a little last night. When it was Richard Hammond's turn to drive his car on the uneven road surface, there appeared to be something leaking from the colander with eggs in it before he began. I rewound, watched again, and there was almost certainly something dripping onto his head well before any egg should have been broken. Was it just water? Was it egg? Was the audience lied to in order to produce the wonderful visuals of egg running down our presenters' heads? That I can't say, but I would certainly like to know more.

So, there you have it. It was great, but it wasn't perfect last night. The show is still utterly brilliant, and there may be a great reason for the odd visual, but we'll probably never know.

I'm still going to watch next week though, and you really should, too.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • Two cheers for Top Gear!

    I’m not even of a car fanatic – which is criminal, considering my background – but the simple sight of extremely passionate and well-informed people expressing honest, non-whitewashed opinions is compelling television.

    They could be talking about 17th century opera, and if they had the same expertise and candor, it would be a watchable show.

    That said, they do have a knack for a good, gimmicky stunt. Last week’s RV/demolition derby was a thing of beauty.

  • Rob (The Unknown Player)

    Look for the Top Gear Groudforce special on youtube – it’s a one off special done for Sport Relief, and is a mickey-take of the old groundforce program (designers coming in to remodel your garden as a surprise) but done by the top gear crew – if you aren’t spraying coffee at the TV in the first 10 minutes I’ll eat my hat……….