Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sewers, elbow pads and million-pound spankfests!

The Top Gear TV show is certainly about cars. But not only. It’s not even mainly about cars. It’s mainly about fantasy. Secondly it’s about cars. And thirdly it’s about blazing, childish jealousy.

Because every man on earth wishes he could do what those three pillocks on Top Gear do. That is, cane expensive supercars until their gearboxes explode, race Land Cruisers through the Bolivian rain forest and tell an audience of millions the Vauxhall Vectra sucks the big one.

We sit there seething with jealous green rage at what Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond get away with, and what’s worse, that they’re so good at it.

Because the show is pure, escapist entertainment, they’re also able to indulge their wildest, most sarcastic barbs of disrespect and the most palaeolithic politics this side of the News24 comments bar.

And they’re funny. That gets you a pass for just about anything.

Casual xenophobia? Check. Adolescent humour? You betcha. Irresponsible? Macho? Anti-environmentalist? Hell, all of the above times a hundred, with bells on. In flairs, with a mullet and elbow pads.

There’s a vicarious thrill to watching guys who don’t give a flying flick of a rolling doughnut for political correctness. To see them diss a crap car as eloquently as they possibly can, then spank a million pounds on helicopters and trips to Switzerland to make a Bugatti Veyron look awesome.

It’s pure fantasy. As viewers we get to imagine we are the ones driving a Renault Twingo upside down through the Belfast sewers with Ross Kemp in the boot, blowing up a Hi-Lux, or saying Mexican food looks like refried vomit, just for the sheer, horrifying joy of saying it.

Top Gear has 350 million viewers, the most widely watched factual TV show on earth. It’s escapism a lot of us relate to. Even if we’re officially shocked and appalled at the social politics.

If you want car info, check the website. If you want to be entertained, bathe your eyeballs on this bunch of genius, grown-up adolescents running riot with unlimited pocket money.

This piece appeared in City Press.

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