Scripting Top Gear

top gear backing upWe’re two weeks into the fourteenth series of Top Gear, and I felt I should say something. Despite the fact that the show’s won awards for unscripted television, they’ve never hidden the fact that some of the gags are staged (the first Stig driving off an aircraft carrier and dying, for example). But this season has felt a little…. much more staged than normal.

Top Gear has always had both types of staged events (the “this was obviously staged” kind and the Reality TV “this was staged but we’re acting like it was spontaneous” kind), and that’s always been part of the appeal. The show’s always given more comedy then useful automotive advice. But so far this season has had too much of both kinds of staging.

First off, the Reality TV-style staging has been a little too obvious in things like Random Truck hitting May’s Dacia Sandero and Geoff rolling down the hill. It almost feels as if they rushed the scripted bits this season, and as a result couldn’t get them to fit as smoothly into the episodes as they have in the past.

top gear slowmo crashBut this lack of stylistic cohesion is even more obvious with the obviously staged bits. The last fifteen minutes or so of this week’s episode was… kinda pointless. Sure, we got to see the boys act in slow motion, and then backwards, but there was no reason for it. Usually they’re trying to complete a challenge from the producers, or not have their cars die, or something. This time they were just goofing around, as those tests were clearly not… well, anything at all. They just did things for a bit. It was like Frankenstein Wastes a Minute of Our Time if Frankenstein was British and named Clarkson. And did it fifteen times in a row. They did kill another Stig, though.

In the past we’ve seen the boys drive to the north pole, cross a desert, almost get killed by rednecks, attempt to build a spaceship, and set a car wash on fire. They’ve raced against bikes, jets, boats, the postal service, and Japanese transit. Maybe they’re just running out of insane crap to do.

-Jerk

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~ by Jerk on November 24, 2009.

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