Top Gear: American Edition
Top Gear: US Special is a full-length, special edition episode for BBC motoring programme Top Gear, and was first broadcast on BBC Two on 11 February 2007, as part of the 3rd episode of Series 9, with the special repeated in an edited version for UKTV channel Dave Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, the show's hosts, drive three used cars from Miami to New Orleans to determine whether it would be more cost-effective to buy a car rather than rent one. The creation and production of this episode are described as "" in the Production Notes section of the Top Gear website. Several crew members were dangerously close to passing out from exhaustion. "
Summary [ edit1 ]
Clarkson, Hammond, and May traveled to Miami with US $1,000 each to see what they could buy in an effort to determine whether purchasing a car would be more affordable than renting one for two weeks of exploring the southern United States. Over the course of several hours, they learned that there weren't many cars available at a price within their means, forcing all three of them to travel to dangerous areas of the city. Hammond eventually found a dealer during his search. Clarkson came across a dealer who had a small pistol and a rifle with a scope for his own protection, and he dealt in used police and government vehicles. All three eventually met up outside of a stadium with the vehicles they had found within their price range; Clarkson had purchased a 1991 Chevrolet Camaro RS. Hammond had purchased a 1991 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, which he claimed had a mysterious past after finding a mysteriously stained shirt in a compartment next to the spare tire; despite having dents and a loose tailgate, the truck was otherwise in good condition. was in good shape in contrast to May's 1989 Cadillac Brougham, which had significant signs of wear and tear and was quite bouncy when Clarkson and Hammond pushed against it. Despite the initial issues, all three of them were pleased with their purchases and soon discovered that they had a trip to the Moroso Motorsports Park to make. Along the way, each revealed that their vehicle had additional problems to contend with: Clarkson's radio could only pick up a gospel preaching station, and most of his dials weren't functional; May's Cadillac struggled to accelerate quickly and had poor acceleration. Hammond's pick-up truck appeared to be bent, veering to the right under acceleration and to the left when braking; however, it was the only vehicle with functional air conditioning, which he appreciated in the Florida heat.
When the group arrived at the Motorsports Park, they were informed that their vehicles would be sent around the park's circuit to record the fastest time possible. All three found out that the American cousin of the Stig, who they dubbed "Big Stig" due to his obese appearance, would be operating the vehicle for this challenge. With its time, Clarkson's Camaro proved to be the fastest. May's Camaro, which needed a jump start before it could start because of an electrical issue, was the second-fastest. The slowest on the track, Hammond's pickup truck soon made clear that its brakes were insufficient when it ran off the road. The group was then given the task of seeing how quickly they could accelerate to 50 mph before evaluating how quickly their vehicles decelerated from that speed. They later learned that the challenge would be held on the drag strip portion of the raceway's track. where a river teeming with alligators was at the base of it Before reaching the end of the strip, Clarkson and May both reached the speed and braked, but Hammond was unable to do so and narrowly avoided crashing into the river.
After their time at the raceway, it was announced to the group that they would continue on to New Orleans. They made a stop for the first night at a hotel, where May experienced another electrical issue that necessitated a jump start, much to the annoyance of the other presenters. While Hammond and Clarkson both purchased fans to help them cope with the heat, Hammond later learned that his had been sabotaged as a practical joke. After receiving $100 to spend on something to "make the journey more comfortable," the group purchased a grill for Hammond, a shower for Clarkson to replace his malfunctioning air conditioning, and a clothes rack for May. before finding out that their dinner would be whatever they could find dead by the side of the road and that they would be camping for a second night. After turning to the side roads, they came across a tortoise that Clarkson refused to kill and instead headed back towards a nearby swamp after May unintentionally ran over a possum. After collecting the squirrel that Hammond had finally located, Clarkson went on another search and returned with a massive dead cow that May refused to eat as they prepared the camp and discussed how to prepare it. Clarkson and Hammond successfully hacked the air conditioning system of the Cadillac later that night, much to May's chagrin the next morning.
The presenters were instructed to paint each other's cars with slogans that could result in them being shot by the locals in the Bagdad village before continuing on to Alabama. While Clarkson painted "I'm bi," "Hillary for President," "NASCAR sucks," and "I'm gay" on May's pickup, Hammond painted "Country and Western is Rubbish" on his and Clarkson painted "I'm gay" on May's pickup. The three had to abandon the challenge, though, because they offended the owner of the gas station so much by stopping there that, in one of Top Gear's most iconic scenes, the owner's friends threw rocks at the film crew's vans. Clarkson and the film crew were able to join May before he and Hammond could flee with them from the enraged locals. After the group lost sight of them, they quickly took down the signs from their cars and made a break for the Mississippi state border.
The trio reflected on their trip with their cars once they were back on their way to New Orleans and said that it had been fun to use each one. The presenters had intended to sell their cars as they got closer to their destination to see how much of the money they spent on them they could recoup, but after seeing the destruction Hurricane Katrina had inflicted on the city the year before, they changed their minds. They gave up the challenge and chose to donate their vehicles to a Christian mission instead. Clarkson and Hammond were successful in doing so, but May was unable to find a taker. When the final scene of the movie was finished being filmed, Clarkson revealed that May had been declared the loser in the studio. When it turned out that Clarkson's Camaro wasn't a 1991 model as promised but a 1989 model, a lawyer had approached the group representing the mission and threatened to sue them for misrepresentation, further stating that they had been told the lawsuit would be dropped on a settlement payment of US$20,000. Before May added that a group of "burly" men arrived and told them to "get off their street" after the lawyer had seen them. Although Clarkson came to the conclusion that purchasing a car was preferable to renting one, he summarised the journey by saying, "Don't go to America." "
The names of the four primary presenters—Cletus Clarkson, Earl Hammond Jr.—were references to the American redneck stereotype. Ellie May May, Roscoe P, and Stig, while "Billy Bob" was substituted for each crew member's first name.
DVD launch [ edit1 ]
The first Great Adventures box set, which also includes the Polar Special, includes the US Special on DVD. The DVD version of the special omits about eight minutes of the original broadcast, including a drive through a downpour where the Camaro's wipers broke and a portion of the opening scene where the trio buys cars. Additionally, some musical cues were altered for copyright purposes.
Criticism [ edit1 ]
Following the special's airing, 91 complaints were filed against the BBC and UK media watchdog Ofcom regarding the scene in which Clarkson loaded a dead cow onto the roof of his Camaro. The BBC defended the program in response to criticism of the scene by noting that the cow had died several days prior and had not been harmed or injured by the presenter. 1
References [ edit1 ]
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