miss_s_b: (TG: Arse)
Yesterday I offered a sweepstake: the person who won could ask me to write 500 words on a topic of their choice. As it happens two people said exactly the same answer, so here is entry two of two. Kathleen asked me to write 500 words on “Top Gear lineups - past, actual, potential, ideal”

The news today makes this a little easier; I have struggled to keep it near 500 words as it is.

I’ve always loved Top Gear; I’m reasonably sure I watched it from birth. Angela Rippon is the first TG presenter I really remember, but I as I grew I developed soft spots for Quentin Willson’s eyebrow and the amazing Vicki Butler-Henderson. When it was reborn under the aegis of the brash-but-funny Clarkson in 2002 I mourned that they’d got rid of the large roster of presenters in favour of just three, but figured I’d give it a go. I didn’t like the initial lineup of the Clarkson series - the guy they’d got to fill Quentin Willson’s role as secondhand car expert really didn’t work, and it was all very stilted. You could see they were trying to up the comedy content, but for whatever reason it wasn’t quite working.

For series two, they brought in James May and the magic happened. Clarkson, Hammond and May are the testosterone-laden equivalent of Maiden, Mother and Crone: Young Risk Addict, Geek, and Middle-Aged Boorish Twat. I don’t like everything they did, I didn’t like all the jokes, especially not the racist/sexist ones, but they always made clear you were supposed to laugh AT the Middle-Aged Boorish Twat, that it was a persona, the real Clarkson ramped up to 11 and with all the safeties off… and thus I felt quite comfortable watching TG and even participating in online fandom because it wasn’t real. Every time Clarkson appeared on QI or HIGNFY, or did his occasional forays into WWII on BBC4, he showed that the Middle-Aged Boorish Twat was merely persona, Sun columns nothwithstanding.

Then he assaulted an underling for not getting him the food he wanted. And I felt a lot less comfortable… I think the beeb did the right thing in sacking him, and every pronouncement he has made since they sacked him (especially about transfolk) has only confirmed me in that view. I am sad that the other two decided to go with him, but not really surprised. They do work as a trio.

As for the new lineup? It does rather look like someone has been ticking boxes. Three middle-aged white guys (one ginger), two foreigners, one black guy, one woman… Plus The Stig, who is Schroedinger’s Diversity tickybox - the pose they hold in the photo of the team released today makes it impossible to even guess at gender, never mind race, sexuality, and so on. I’m glad they’ve confirmed Sabine, and am amused that the best actual driver (bar Stiggy) on the new show is going to be Smurfette the woman presenter, but I can’t bear Chris Evans or that tosser from Friends… But then Clarkson’s persona often rubbed me up the wrong way and the show as a whole still worked, albeit with him in the role of pantomime villain in my headcanon. I’m willing to give it a chance.

My ideal lineup?

Vicki Butler-Henderson, Suzi Perry and Sabine treating James May as the Smurfette would suit me.

I've gone slightly over word count at 521 there, but I hope you can forgive me.

Top Gear

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 01:24 am
miss_s_b: (TG: Feelin' HOT! HOT! HOT!)
YAY they got Tiff back! BOO still no VBH or Suzi Perry, so it's still all boys.

Still, I laughed so hard. So very hard. The news section was just awesome. The America film was brilliant. I loved the "Learn how to do a drive by shooting" section, although I suspect that they will get huggins of complaints about it. The cinematography is still glorious - one example was the most beautiful shot of my favourite skyscraper I have ever seen. But (you knew there was going to be a but, didn't you?) what has James done to his hair?

I shall have to go into mourning.


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miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Mood: And another thing)
Doctor Who: Waters of Mars was SPOILER! ). For instance, yet again SPOILER! ), but at least there was SPOILER! ). I can't tell you how much I loved the whole of SPOILER! )'s performance. She was just awesome throughout, and her character was actually SPOILER! ), which I NEVER thought I would see from a female character in a Rusty script.

I also loved SPOILER! ), and Tennant's performance in this bit was SPOILER! ). But, inevitably, SPOILER! ) showed his face, and that was SPOILER! ) although props to SPOILER! ). It's feeling all Cartmel Masterplan to me, and (aside from SPOILER! )), the main thing I am looking forward to about the Christmas special is that the Rusty/Tennant era will finally be over. I am sick of being beaten over the head with perfectly obvious plot points, and (I know I have said this before, but it needs saying again) it's coming to something when the kiddies' spin off of Doctor Who is written in a far more intelligent and interesting way than the main series.

If there's one thing, just one thing, I am hoping for from the reign of The Grand Moff, it's that he realises that "more adult" does not mean "more sex, more gore and bigger explosions" but actually "more intelligent". I have my problems with the misogynistic son of a Zygon, but he does at least seem to have a brain. Let's hope he uses it.

Top Gear, on the other hand, was SPOILER! ). The stagedness is getting more and more obvious, and it's less of a motoring show and more of an entertainment show with every series, but honestly, I don't care. Mat took the piss out of me for SPOILER! ), though. Rotten git.

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