[14x01] November 15th, 2009

[14x01] November 15th, 2009


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Wyvern

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I thoroughly enjoyed this as a series opener.

Although there were moments that I felt were a gag too far, especially the destruction of the Sandero (which I actually felt was mis-timed, rather than unnecessary - we hadn't, as an audience, got to 'know' the car much and we could have shared James's outrage more effectively if we'd also 'bonded' with it), it struck me as a much stronger programme than most of series 13. The 'James getting lost' thing I think lost something in the edit - if you didn't know the 'Arc de Triomphe' wasn't what it appeared to be, it was a bit of a stretch, and similarly the eastern Europe/ western Europe options on the Lamborghini satnav... but if you have to explain the joke, it isn't funny any more.

Apart from those exceptions, the cocking about felt far more in context than it has done recently - being silly in the course of doing what they're doing, rather than contriving a scenario from start to finish (such as the 'cars for 17 year olds' film last year) for maximum silliness. And yes, there were moments of suspension of disbelief, but it's Top Gear, and Top Gear is about suspension of disbelief in a fundamental way (don't we all watch the guys driving cars we'll probably never have the good fortune to get our hands on and think to ourselves, 'I could do that' without allowing for our own levels of skill, talent or money?), being as it is a programme about the love of driving and a passion for cars that doesn't bear much relation to driving on the delightful roads of Britain.

The big plusses: as usual, the filming, especially on the Romanian film (that helicopter pilot was insane) and the overarching feeling that I was watching beautiful cars making a worthwhile journey and performing at their best on a stunning road. The drive under the Peoples' Palace was inspired and the noise sublime.

Eric Bana was a good choice of SIARPC, and I didn't mind a bit of plugging - again, it's about context, and Love the Beast has had sod all mainstream promotion here despite the DVD release being this week. For once, it was something TG viewers were likely to be interested in, but if they don't hang out on fora such as this (and the vast majority of them don't), they might not even have been aware of it. So no problem with that - and it fitted nicely with the fact that Mr Bana is an unashamed petrolhead. He aquitted himself well on the track in terrible conditions and came across as a good bloke as well as a good driver. He came across as 'one of us'.

The track test might not have been the best one they've ever done, but it was good to see James on the track and they had a crack at something a bit different. Reviewing the car from the back seat not only made sense from the angle of how it is likely to be used but also allowed for the performance to be demonstrated in a way that simply wouldn't work with James behind the wheel. Some lovely filming too, and I thought the Top Trumps thing was OK (much like playing it with my middle nephew, actually).

But the cherry on the Top Gear cake was Jeremy and the cardboard karzi. I could see it coming, it couldn't have gone any other way, and yet when he went through the folding toilet, I suddenly remembered that 'LOL' is not just something you do on the Internet. And it was again in context (a product relevant to the motorist, if not exactly 'news').

I have hopes for this series.

8/10
 
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IceCub

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The 'James getting lost' thing I think lost something in the edit - if you didn't know the 'Arc de Triomphe' wasn't what it appeared to be, it was a bit of a stretch, and similarly the eastern Europe/ western Europe options on the Lamborghini satnav... but if you have to explain the joke, it isn't funny any more.
That really was the 'Arc de Triomphe'... the one from Bucharest. And the satnav thing was not surprising at all (for someone who lives in Eastern Europe). The irony is that a lot of car manufacturers sell their cars here with satnav as an option, but they don't always have the Romanian map. :lol:

I knew Top Gear were filming in Romania, but I didn't know the exact locations and dates. The Mamaia bit was practically "in my backyard" and I didn't even knew about it. :(
I think they could have stripped the gypsy village portion (since they represent only about 2% of the population) and show us more of Transfagarasan.
 

Timshuku

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I am a big fan of Top gear but on last episode they was totally unprepared about some things from Romania.

i am from Romania and i live exactly in Curtea de arges the city near Vidraru dam, i was disgusted to see them having a big laugh and to say romania is a "gipsy land" wearing Hat to be like locals and sutffs like that.
For they info, Romania have Plenty of minority " like Serbians, germans, maghiars, turks, tatars, bulgarians, russians, gipsyes" nations but MOST of them are WHITE and good EDUCATIONS. because i speak about gipsiyes They are 8-10% from populations. Origin of gipsyes is in India so i can say exactly the same thing about England? they have plenty of indians...no i cant say because i respect this country. Mister Clarkson if u want to make PPL to laugh and enjoy you show Don`t go in racist area because your show is ABOUT CARS.
I dont think i am the only Romanian who got Insulted about this last episode and i expect apologies in his next episode because lots of us made complain to BBC about this.

Escuse My english, is not perfect and is not my mother language.
 

Timshuku

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I am a big fan of Top gear but on last episode they was totally unprepared about some things from Romania.

i am from Romania and i live exactly in Curtea de arges the city near Vidraru dam, i was disgusted to see them having a big laugh and to say romania is a "gipsy land" wearing Hat to be like locals and sutffs like that.
For they info, Romania have Plenty of minority " like Serbians, germans, maghiars, turks, tatars, bulgarians, russians, gipsyes" nations but MOST of them are WHITE and good EDUCATIONS. because i speak about gipsiyes They are 8-10% from populations. Origin of gipsyes is in India so i can say exactly the same thing about England? they have plenty of indians...no i cant say because i respect this country. Mister Clarkson if u want to make PPL to laugh and enjoy you show Don`t go in racist area because your show is ABOUT CARS.
I dont think i am the only Romanian who got Insulted about this last episode and i expect apologies in his next episode because lots of us made complain to BBC about this.

Escuse My english, is not perfect and is not my mother language.
 
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HeidiL

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I'm sorry to hear that you're upset, Timshuku. If you have a look at the thread, you'll see that mostly what this episode has done has made a lot of us want to visit Romania - and it wasn't somewhere I'd've thought of as a holiday destination before.
You say that Clarkson shouldn't be racist, but isn't your own comment - pointing out that most of the people there are white - itself racist? It seems to me that it has the implication that white = better. Perhaps you didn't mean it that way, but that's how it comes across - these sorts of misunderstandings are easy when there's a language barrier and, indeed, simply cultural differences.
Incidentally, if you ever do visit the UK, you'll probably be visiting London, so I would urge you to go to Brick Lane, which is where you'll find the best examples of contemporary British cuisine - a damn good curry :)
In the SIARPC segment when Clarkson is talking to Bana, he says something along the lines of Australians being one of the few nationalities who we can have a good argument with, putting each other down in a matey way - that they 'get' the british sense of humour in a way the americans, say, don't. I suspect that's what's happening here.
No offence was meant, and they're like that to everyone: Try watching it again, with the point of view not that they're belittling Romania but that they're laughing at their own expectations of the country and how wrong they were. Remember - the Top Gear presenters are always primarily making fun of *themselves*.
In interviews I've seen, and indeed at TopGearLive, they've been very complimentary of Romania, saying that it was a fabulous place to visit, and in the episode itself Clarkson indicated a desire to stay. I'm planning my bloke's 50th birthday, and I've had various ideas - but a holiday in Romania is currently top of the list. I'd say that actually, from a British point of view, Romania has just had a rather good advertisement.
 

Enoch Powell

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A racist is someone who thinks that one race is Superior to another, but when we look at it factually there are certain things that any race does better than another. Blacks generally make better athletes, whites make better mathematicians etc. This is diversity if you will. Something to be celebrated apparently! Most peope in Romania should be white, as Romania is in Europe and Europeans are white. Every nation has a right to an identity and therefore has the right to remain majority indigenous. Anything else would be cultural genocide.
 
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HeidiL

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While physical factors are easy to measure, to scientifically prove or disprove the theory that race has an effect on intellectual skills would be extremely difficult because in order to do so you would have to remove the 'nature/nurture' issues arising from cultural and sociopolicial differences. In order to get a statistically valid sample size, many thousands of children of varying races would need to be raised in exactly the same way. Issues of ethics aside, it would be virtually impossible to do this.
Culture, however, is separate and is not a static thing, even without outside influence - something which is just about impossible nowadays what with television and the internet and whatnot - though a lot of people seem to think that it should be. Immigration is one factor in that change, but hardly the only one. Young people will always have differing ideas to their parents and grandparents, after all. I don't really think this is the ideal place to discuss this sort of thing, though. Shall we go back to looking at the pretty scenery and arguing about what we mean by 'scripted'?
 

Enoch Powell

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While physical factors are easy to measure, to scientifically prove or disprove the theory that race has an effect on intellectual skills would be extremely difficult because in order to do so you would have to remove the 'nature/nurture' issues arising from cultural and sociopolicial differences. In order to get a statistically valid sample size, many thousands of children of varying races would need to be raised in exactly the same way. Issues of ethics aside, it would be virtually impossible to do this.
Culture, however, is separate and is not a static thing, even without outside influence - something which is just about impossible nowadays what with television and the internet and whatnot - though a lot of people seem to think that it should be. Immigration is one factor in that change, but hardly the only one. Young people will always have differing ideas to their parents and grandparents, after all. I don't really think this is the ideal place to discuss this sort of thing, though. Shall we go back to looking at the pretty scenery and arguing about what we mean by 'scripted'?
I totally agree with everything you said, but we would be slightly naive to believe that the only difference between the races is athletic / psysical, even if hard to prove otherwise. Bone density, as well as hormone levels and gestation periods among races vary.

Anyhoo wubly scenery, and scripted doesant bother me to much. Can't wait for next week episode!1
 
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Sabin

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What he probably means is that, out of the four dozen 'natives' that were filmed during the show (if you count the village people), over forty were part of a culturally different minority that makes up a mere 2.5% of the population. The only seemingly Romanian people were the young man at the People's Palace (an editor for Top Gear Romania), a man James asks for directions and a few people at a petrol station.

The equivalent would be a road trip from London to Manchester where 43 of the 48 people you film have Indian ancestry. Or a trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg where 43 of the 48 people you pick to film are Tatars.

Of course, for a country like the UK or Russia, this wouldn't matter much, as everybody knows plenty of things about both. But I bet you didn't know about our Arch of Triumph, People's Palace or Transf?g?r??an road. That's what Romania is all about. Instead, someone who doesn't know a whole lot about Romania can end up believing that the members of a small ethnic minority, who live in villages like the one on the show, are the country's true inhabitants - which is simply not true.



P.S. In case any of you were wondering, that building shown for a quick second at the seaside is the Constan?a Casino. As for the parking lot in Mamaia, it's behind the Rex Hotel.
http://www.deviantart.com/#order=9&q=constanta+casino
http://images.google.ro/images?hl=ro&source=hp&q=rex+mamaia&btnG=Căutare+Imagini&gbv=2&aq=f&oq=
 

shellygrrl

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You must spread some egg nog around before offering any to ozgirl again.

*applause* Well said. (referring to her "is TG scripted" rant a little ways back)
 
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chitownjeff

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I gave it a 7 out of ten. I got a chuckle out of the BMW and the Merc but it went on for too long. I also thought the trip was a bit overboard. I would have liked to have had less fake stuff going on (like the dam scene) and more time seeing them on the road (time trials? changing cars and reviewing them? romanian stig?).
 

jmw2207

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Loved it...9/10 so great to be back as there is so much trash on tv atm.
* Romania seg = classic
* SiaRPC = great (only small complaint is that Bana didn't really get to talk much) Amazing Lap lin the wet.
* May in the BMW with stig driving was extremely very funny.
 

f1anatic

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Seriously now, some Romanians here take it too seriously. I was born there and lived there 17 years then moved permanently here in the States as well and feel quite differently about the episode then some of them.

They showed Romania as you would see it if you drove the streets. The only bit that the commoner does not get to enjoy is the Rex Hotel (parking lot opening scene) unless he's loaded with cash. And the truly VIP stuff was the access to the underground tunnels and driving them and having the mountain road closed for them. But anyone can drive TFG and I surely did. It is an awesome road but it still falls short of some roads in Colorado (Mount Evans; Pikes Peak; Trail Ridge Road).
 
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