I remember the first time I saw Jeremy Clarkson review the McLaren-Mercedes SLR. The airbrake went up and I was in love…with the show, not Jezza (odious man). Therefore, it is expected that Top Gear on History increase my heart rate by featuring some of the best rides in the US. This week’s episode, Supercars accomplished this task, after a fashion. Their mission was to present a supercar convertible for purchase by a mystery celebrity. Think of this as the polar opposite of Season One’s Used Car Salesmen challenge. Rutledge Wood arrived in a Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster. Adam Ferrara’s megawatt smile was clearly visible from behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GTC. Tanner Foust was zipped into the scene with a Porsche Turbo S Cabriolet. The music played for each host’s arrival was most amusing. For the Lambo, the music had a hip-hop tinge with a DJ’s scratching. Orchestra music heralded the Bentley’s arrival; but the techno-pop piece for the Porsche halfway made me expect a Super Troopers re-enactment. By the way, that would have been totally epic but I digress.
Each was convinced that their vehicle was the mystery celebrity’s best choice, and argued that point all the way from Massachusetts to New York. At their first challenge in Kingston, NY they had to race against a golf ball. Yes, a golf ball that was struck by a professional golfer. This was the first clue to the identity of this person who is famous in America. It seemed simple enough but to add a ridiculous aspect, the boys had to do so while wearing an additional hint to the celebrity’s identity. There was a race before the race to see who could retract their roof the fastest. It felt spontaneous but even if it wasn’t, they threw themselves into it with the level of juvenile enthusiasm we’ve come to expect. It was all very, very funny and segued into the next tidbit that almost knocked me off my seat. On their way to the next challenge thirty miles away, ‘Daddy’ started to feel sick again. The costly motorcade pulled over by a pasture, until he pulled himself together. His cast mates couldn’t care less and used the opportunity to play with some nearby sheep. Yes, sheep again.
At a beautiful private racetrack, the boys tackled their next challenge: two timed laps with one to be completed by a co-driver. No spoilers here, as this caveat was well publicised. Their co-drivers were grey-haired grandmothers. One of whom even rolled in on her own wheels. From the hosts’ initial panic, nanas getting schooled in performance vehicles and their actual survival of the race – it was effortless comedy. This was topped off by two hooligans who couldn’t resist hijacking the little, old lady’s scooter. They screamed, I laughed and good times were had by all. Incidentally, this was the third clue to the mystery celebrity’s identity, before their final trip and an intimidation lesson in New York City.
The were now in Adam’s neck of the woods; and for once, Rutledge and Tanner had a hard time getting from point A to B. Eventually they reached their destination and the mystery celebrity was revealed! Honestly, I was quite surprised. Earlier in the day, Jalopnik held a contest to see if anyone could figure it out. (Bless them for promoting this show.) Of course, bile has spewed furiously over there, since the big reveal. The boys had to convince this person to buy their chosen car and pretty much freaked out about it. They show the format for this person’s show, which was interesting. Adam’s gift for gab put him way ahead of the others and the obvious fact that his vehicle was the best choice for the person in question. He kept his cool during the speed-pitch, but made a wisecrack that opened an unexpected can of worms which I will address now and hopefully never again.
Tanner Foust is pretty famous. He’s not ridiculously famous but as of right now, over 76,000 people have liked his Facebook page and over 37,000 people follow him on Twitter. His fans are a passionate, dedicated lot; and have been that way, long before this particular gig. They don’t love Tanner the TV presenter. They love Tanner the race car driver. Seeing him play the fool every week is just icing on the cake for them. That being said, for sake of this cast’s balance, his ego must be kept in check. (Ahem, find me a race car driver with no ego and you’ll find a driver who never wins.) He’s been picked on about his slight frame, hair, driving style and obsession with victory, etc. However, we’ve always known where it came from and why.
In this particular episode, I believe the show went too far. The celebrity asked Tanner a very personal question, which instantly reinforced that individual’s reputation as a world-class butthead. It may have been retaliation for Tanner’s failed attempt to pitch the Porsche’s ability to keep one’s physical appearance undisturbed. However, it came as a shock and was completely unnecessary. In fact, Tanner hardly spoke again until that portion was over. Family members provoke each other and that’s okay but when a stranger does it – that’s not right. Such a non-entertaining moment should have been left on the cutting-room floor. Shame on you, Top Gear on History for hanging ‘The Driver’ out to dry. Shame.
Film and television actor Jon Huertas was featured in ‘Big Star, Small Car.’ Rutledge did a pretty good job of making Jon relax, after his turn in the Suzuki. He put a respectable time on the fancy digital board and eventually worked the audience quite well. Once again, we got a fun, challenge-centric episode. Perhaps I’m a spoiled automobile enthusiast; but the only undeniable supercar among this lot was the Lamborghini. The Porsche is an excellent sports car with great performance but unfortunately, common. When I think supercar, the names that pop into my head are Bugatti, Pagani, McLaren, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Ferrari. Porsche is cute but their last, big innovation was a sedan model. I’m not anti-Porsche but it just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Oh, and the Bentley had no business being in that supercar posse at all. It’s definitely a symbol of status and luxury. However, on its worst day, the McLaren-Mercedes SLR (automatic) could make that Bentley turn tricks on a street corner, in broad daylight. Hopefully there will be a third season and the people in charge will source stunning vehicles for the boys to act like fools in. Until then, we have next week’s episode: Limos. Memorable quotes from this episode were:
“Well Luda doesn’t own one but 50 Cent does, Young Jeezy…” – Rutledge Wood
“They have hearing aids. They turn those things up and they’re like bionic.” – Tanner Foust
“Take a picture of me with the sheep.” – Adam Ferrara
Edit: All three hosts participated in live-tweeting throughout the episode. This has become a real treat for fans of the show and first-time viewers alike. As always, with humour and humility, the cast answered questions. Even beyond the show’s airing, they are doing a great deal to make the social media circle into a real community. Kudos to them!