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Trying To Fix It In The Editing Room

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Last night on Top Gear (that's right, it's another Top Gear article, you know you love Top Gear, I talk about it on a regular basis and I'm sure you've caught the fever by now) Jeremy Clarkson drove a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool. Sure, it was an old Rolls Royce, kind of a beater really, but it was still a Rolls Royce, and the man drove it into a swimming pool. He destroyed a Rolls Royce, and all in the name of humor. See, isn't the show great?

Okay, I'll admit it, the show has some problems, it's not perfect. I talked a couple of weeks ago about how they liked the Honda Element, which still rankles. But, and last night it was really evident, there's a problem with the way the show is edited for the States. At least, that's what I'm assuming the problem is. You see, they have awkward, abrupt, transitions from one segment to the next on a fairly regular basis (on the order of one or two an episode). I assume that the reason these weird transitions occur is that there's more commercial time here in the States than in England, and so they're struggling a little getting the show down to time.

The choice is either that or that it's just not terribly well edited to begin with, and I'm betting that's not the case. I'm giving the show the benefit of the doubt; it can be hard getting a show to time (especially when it's already been cut perfectly for elsewhere). I used to spend a significant amount of time cutting a talk show down to time. It's not easy. I won't brag about my skills at doing it, there was that one time I left a four-letter word in the show, and I have complete respect for anyone who sits there and tries to wedge all that footage into a short period of time.

Another show that had some editing issues last night was American Gladiators (yes, I'm still watching that too and last night's men's Eliminator was pretty spectacular). During the very first women's event last night, Pyramid, Crush took down the contestant, Lillian and, just before the camera cut to a different shot, Lillian's helmet came off. After the cut to the new shot, Lillian came back up the pyramid, with her helmet strapped on and I just don't think that there was enough time for her to strap it back on. I think that they must have stopped the event, allowed Lillian to strap back on her helmet, and then restarted it. This assumption is further built on the fact that the announcer didn't say anything about Lillian's losing her helmet and that's something he certainly would normally have commented on.

There's no problem with the show stopping the event and restarting it – there's a safety issue involved after all – but they ought to be honest about it. If they paused everything so that Lillian could strap on her helmet once more, say that. What's the advantage the show gains by not doing so? They stopped another event last night when there was a little extracurricular brawling and restarted it, why not tell us about this, too?

Either that, or they should just lie better. I'd be okay with that, 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.
  • european

    It is a BBC show and as such there are now commercials whatsoever. it is the full 60 minutes of only topgear, so obviously if you are going to cut 60minutes down to 45 minutes you will lose at least one full segment