[09x03] February 11th, 2007

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Reply to LoneWolf ^^^^

I agree entirely with you that this is entertainment and you should be able to enjoy it if you want to. Top Gear should be able to present comic relief in any way it sees fit. What I am trying to do is to encourage people to think critically about what they are watching, and not accept with blind acceptance what they see on TV. Americans are frequently criticised for blindly believing what the media tells them, but it seems we do not have a monopoly on this behaviour.

You can not have it both ways. This is either entertainment or it is a factual representation or "documentary" on how things really are. Factual representation is held to a higher standard. I am OK with the dirty underbelly of the US being exposed, I really am. Just be honest about it.
 

Nano

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I agree with what you say in the sense that strictly speaking it's not correct behaviour, but the whole point is TG is entertainment. When I tune in to watch it, I want to be entertained (especially since I watch very few other tv programs). I pay something called a license fee, and IMO so long as TG is keeping me entertained I feel they are spending my money well. As far as the American bashing goes, sorry, but I love that sort of stuff, no insult intended to any American's here. I also like the jokes about Italians, the French, the Germans, the Australians etc etc. It's not right, but it's funny, and I like it, and I pay for it. :)

Of course everyone, including people outside the UK, are entitled to their opinion, but TG is a British program intended for British audiences, the sensitivity or reaction to it outside the UK is not the concern of the TG production crew, and that's how it should remain.

I'm cool with that, I hope everyone else is too.

Sure, but imho bad taste remains bad taste, and there is just so many times you can hear a joke and still laugh about it. Don't know how long you have been following Top Gear, but the repertory of american jokes is pretty limited, and getting pretty redundant too.

Q: Have you heard about the new German microwave ?
A: It's got ten seats inside.

Dunno, to me these jokes are so lame. I am an automotive fan, I'd hope the british audience of TG was a bit more concerned about cars than about Italians, Germans, Americans and whatnot. Plus this kind of humor is funnier when it's sarcastic or self-ironic, there was no sarcasm whatsoever. It's kind of gotten to the point where the only automotive spec they gave in the episode was wrong, 5.7L C6 corvette. Guess they were too busy making the americans look like idiots to even spot the blunder.

That's me, sorry, not funny. Some people said they prefered this episode to borat... to me borat was genius, this wasn't.
 
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Justin.b

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That's because they're stereotypes... until there are new stereotypes to use, they're stuck drawing from the xisting stock.

-Justin
 

Groove

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It's been pointed out that It's not really the insults that caused them to get angry, but the way 3 strangers (with camera crew) where making fun of them "backward idiots". And I can believe that. I don't agree with the reaction the southerners had, but how much of that stuff is orchestrated? How much of that stuff is edited to make it look worse than it really is? At around 24:50, JC complains everyone is very fat, very stupid and very rude, with emphasis that "it's the truth", said with utter contempt and antipathy, with a good dose of snobbish superiority, as if he's out to get them back or something. I'm not american and I was like "where the fuck did that come from???". If you are in that disposition of mind and try hard enough to piss people off, I think you will get people pissed off anywhere in the world! Add a clever editor, and you can arange for the same turn of events. If you are a guest somewhere, it's basic "savoir vivre" to be open-minded, respectful and polite. Fail that, and you will be in for a VERY unpleasant stay. That's why I did not find the episode particularly great or funny as I don't even believe they had such a great time. There were a few spontaneous stints of genius, but they were way overshadowed by the labored anti-american humor. And I won't repeat this enough... no automotive content! This should have been a TG special, not a regular episode.
Excellent post, and I totally agree. That sentence by Clarkson was indeed too venomous and put me off laughter for a short while.
 

sam-l

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Brilliant episode of Top Gear, one of the funniest!
 

Cymraes

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Another cockroach coming out of the woodwork just to say that TG has always been very tongue-in-cheek and meant to be taken with a huge bowl of salt. Why start taking it seriously now? That goes to the non-American people saying, "Wow, America is fcuked! I'm not going there!" and also to American people embarassed by the depiction. It's not meant to be serious!

Fair enough if you think they were being a bit too self-indulgent in their piss-take. I can see how you would want a bit more balance but it's annoying how many people are treating it as a documentary instead of a fun, entertainment show.

I'm crawling back into the woodwork now. 8)
 
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ssreverb

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When you take a look at the episode, only 2 and a half out of the 60 minutes were spent on American jokes (apart from the fake petrol/gas station scene in Alabama, which I found hilarious). The stereotypes that Jeremy throws around are obviously not to be taken serious (he makes fun of his own, for crying out loud).

As an American watching, I found the New Orleans segment inaccurate becuase only half of the story was told - but again, people must understand that Top Gear has never been a factual/documentary representation of events (and it shouldn't be). It's just damn good entertainment and anybody that forms opinions about America based on watching Top Gear is missing the point.
 
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tone76

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Best. Episode. Ever.

I wonder how long it will be before a bunch of crybaby Americans will launch a class action against the BBC over 9x03? They could hire the same lawyer that represents that Christian Mission in New Orleans, she obviously has nothing better to do on behalf of her community ...
 

Nano

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When you take a look at the episode, only 2 and a half out of the 60 minutes were spent on American jokes (apart from the fake petrol/gas station scene in Alabama, which I found hilarious). The stereotypes that Jeremy throws around are obviously not to be taken serious (he makes fun of his own, for crying out loud).

As an American watching, I found the New Orleans segment inaccurate becuase only half of the story was told - but again, people must understand that Top Gear has never been a factual/documentary representation of events (and it shouldn't be). It's just damn good entertainment and anybody that forms opinions about America based on watching Top Gear is missing the point.

everyone keeps saying entertainment entertainment entertainment show. I thought it was an automotive show... with a good dose humor, pranks and irreverent stupidity (that will all love and adore). I thought the automotive aspect was completely forsaken for the sake of pointless jokes. I don't mind the entertainment, but if the point of the show is not cars, I don't get it.
 

ssreverb

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everyone keeps saying entertainment entertainment entertainment show. I thought it was an automotive show... with a good dose humor, pranks and irreverent stupidity (that will all love and adore). I thought the automotive aspect was completely forsaken for the sake of pointless jokes. I don't mind the entertainment, but if the point of the show is not cars, I don't get it.
I use the term entertainment broadly, to include any show automotive or otherwise that I find entertaining. Yes, of course it is an automotive show, but without some entertainment value I would not be watching. That is the problem with the U.S. car programs, they lack the personality/entertainment value that Richard, James and Jeremy bring to the show.
 
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Best. Episode. Ever.

I wonder how long it will be before a bunch of crybaby Americans will launch a class action against the BBC over 9x03? They could hire the same lawyer that represents that Christian Mission in New Orleans, she obviously has nothing better to do on behalf of her community ...

If you think that the person that made that threat was a lawyer I've got a bridge I would like to sell you.

Even in America this is too ridiculous to be taken seriously. Someone was trying a pretty blatent con.

Also, it is easy to call out the people as crybabies when they object to being belittled. I think that there have been some very reasonable comments made by these "crybabies", and very few have lashed out or responded with similar insults. But, some people don't even want to consider this and are much happier believing that it is all because Americans can't take a joke. Come on look a little deeper. You know it is true.

The whole reason I even posted to this board was because I at least present another opinion and get people to think a little. Call me a crybaby if you must, but that is not what I am doing.
 

Groove

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I agree with what you say in the sense that strictly speaking it's not correct behaviour, but the whole point is TG is entertainment. When I tune in to watch it, I want to be entertained (especially since I watch very few other tv programs). I pay something called a license fee, and IMO so long as TG is keeping me entertained I feel they are spending my money well. As far as the American bashing goes, sorry, but I love that sort of stuff, no insult intended to any American's here. I also like the jokes about Italians, the French, the Germans, the Australians etc etc. It's not right, but it's funny, and I like it, and I pay for it. :)

Of course everyone, including people outside the UK, are entitled to their opinion, but TG is a British program intended for British audiences, the sensitivity or reaction to it outside the UK is not the concern of the TG production crew, and that's how it should remain.

I'm cool with that, I hope everyone else is too.
This has been said repeatedly by you and other Brits. But I think it's a lame point of view, sorry.

Yes we all get the British humour, even when every now and then they go really far with it/"not correct behaviour" (Fawlty Tower, Allo Allo etc. which BTW always remained funny and didn't go over the edge IMHO). So don't pretend we don't.
But about the 'license fee', that is such a lame thing to say. I too pay a 'license fee' (=just regular tax) for our own public television broadcaster, and they too produce programmes that are seen abroad (documentaries). I couldn't care less if the majority of the viewers haven't actually payed for it. I happily pay my taxes for a programme to show the outside world something interesting, whatever it is. AND it's a PUBLIC broadcaster, so the funding will ALWAYS be there, even if the entire world is torrenting/leeching its content! ;)
Secondly, the BBC is broadcasted throughout Europe and the world. Why? Because the British government actively wants to promote the English language and British culture/point of view/etc. abroad. The German and French* governments do the same thing here in Europe. Hell, all the big countries here do it! THAT is the main reason we have access to all the (national/international) BBC channels here in The Netherlands. And a heap of German, French, Spanish and Italian channels. They WANT us as their viewers. Which makes our opinions relevant thank you very much.
Thirdly, Top Gear is sold commercially to TV stations (we have it on another station too, besides BBC2). Although this shouldn't be an influence on the show, it makes your whine about 'licence fees' more redundant. :bangin:
And lastly, there are certain boundaries of taste one can't cross IMHO. JC did that a couple of times (I think Richard and James would agree with me). Nano pointed this out too. Jeremy went over the line with one venomous comment, period. You know that. So stop endlessly defending the guy just because he waves the same flag as you, okay? For instance I for one will not defend the Spyker marque because it's Dutch. Spyker has some interesting design cues, but their cars are fugly, period. I am skeptical of their F1 project too. And I dislike Albers and hate Verstappen. Oh and A1GP sucks because of the stupid nation-vs.-nation concept, period (IMHO). Nevermind to mention the cars/tracks/drivers are pathetic. <_<
*The latest French effort is called 'France24', which is supposed to trump CNN for most popular news station in the world. It's only in French, it's only there because of the envy towards CNN and the BBC, meaning it's pathetic. :rofl:
 

LoneWolf

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Reply to LoneWolf ^^^^

I agree entirely with you that this is entertainment and you should be able to enjoy it if you want to. Top Gear should be able to present comic relief in any way it sees fit. What I am trying to do is to encourage people to think critically about what they are watching, and not accept with blind acceptance what they see on TV. Americans are frequently criticised for blindly believing what the media tells them, but it seems we do not have a monopoly on this behaviour.

You can not have it both ways. This is either entertainment or it is a factual representation or "documentary" on how things really are. Factual representation is held to a higher standard. I am OK with the dirty underbelly of the US being exposed, I really am. Just be honest about it.

Just to clear my standpoint, I hardly take anything in TG seriously. I wouldn't even buy a car based on their advice, because to me it's not a serious motoring show but a light hearted motoring show. So with regards to their portrayal of Americans, I can't speak for anyone else but personally I would never form an opinion of a whole country based merely on JC's views. ;)
 

LoneWolf

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Sure, but imho bad taste remains bad taste, and there is just so many times you can hear a joke and still laugh about it. Don't know how long you have been following Top Gear, but the repertory of american jokes is pretty limited, and getting pretty redundant too.

Q: Have you heard about the new German microwave ?
A: It's got ten seats inside.

Dunno, to me these jokes are so lame. I am an automotive fan, I'd hope the british audience of TG was a bit more concerned about cars than about Italians, Germans, Americans and whatnot. Plus this kind of humor is funnier when it's sarcastic or self-ironic, there was no sarcasm whatsoever. It's kind of gotten to the point where the only automotive spec they gave in the episode was wrong, 5.7L C6 corvette. Guess they were too busy making the americans look like idiots to even spot the blunder.

That's me, sorry, not funny. Some people said they prefered this episode to borat... to me borat was genius, this wasn't.

I've been watching TG since the first season, and before that I used to watch the old Top Gear too.

I guess we'll just agree to disagree. I find the p***taking out of other country's (usually) funny, you don't. I'll continue to watch the show. Let's leave it at that. :)
 

tone76

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If you think that the person that made that threat was a lawyer I've got a bridge I would like to sell you.

You have to admit, Americans have a reputation for being highly litigious ... so Jezza's closing statement could very easily have an element of truth to it. Some Americans can also be incredibly self-centred and ungrateful when someone comes to their aid, especially when they are lower down the socio-economic food chain and have come to expect something for nothing. It should be said that this is also true in other places (e.g. Australia, UK, France ... pretty much anywhere in the Western world).

I'm choosing to take Jezza's statement at face value. If you're upset over 9x03, have a cry into a imitation cheese sandwich and get over it. :p
 

Justin.b

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If this show has pushed the limits of good taste too far for you to watch, then stop watching.

I'm sorry to be blunt about it, but everyone here watched the show. Everyone here has to have known that JC had this in him.... and everyone here is going to watch next week.

Hell, any American who watches the show has to go through considerable hassle to do it since it doesn't air over here. It's refreshing to me to see a program that has not been castrated, and I wouldn't like it nearly as much if they were forced to throw themselves on the mercy of the PC troopers throughout the world.

-Justin
 

TTopJohn

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Insight from a Semi-Local

Insight from a Semi-Local

Okay, this thread is growing way to fast for me to catch up on reading it all, but here goes: As a Top Gear viewer who grew up in south Louisiana, has spent a LOT of time in the part of the Gulf Coast that stretches from Mississippi to Panama City, Florida, and owns a Camaro ;) I thought I would offer my thoughts on the episode.

First off, it was VERY funny. Highlights for me were Clarkson's "murderer" quotes, May indicating he likes a 3rd gen Camaro "in good nick" and Hammond impersonating the CB radio chatter.

I want to echo some of the other US viewers with the "we're not all like that" message, but to a greater extent - even among the residents of the deep south, the lady at the gas station isn't representative of the population as a whole. I've spent a whole lot of time in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach AL, which if you'll look at google maps, are just to the south of the Seminole State Line Pride gas station. Nearly everyone I have encountered in my trips to the coast is more concerned with having a laid back good time, than with throwing rocks at anyone. For goodness sakes, Jimmy Buffett's sister has a bar in Gulf Shores! http://www.lulusathomeport.com/main/index.php And people from 8 to 80, crippled and crazy all get along and knock a few back at the world famous Flora-Bama http://www.florabama.com/

That said, it was still highly amusing to see the situation at the gas station - though I agree that it seems it was exaggerated - notice that the woman yelling is at least intelligent enough to know that she and her "hick town" are being made the butt of a joke. It was funny, and that was the intent. Top Gear isn't a travel program, it's a car program with an entertaining comedic twist. I think that intelligent people watching it around the world will realize that the worst elements were used for humor, and will not assume that all of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are like that.

BTW, the last time I went to Orange Beach I drove there in a 2003 Corvette with F55 magnetic ride shocks, which were first introduced on the 2002 Cadillac STS.....oh wait, we're not discussing that anymore ;)

Oh, and the thing with the thugs in New Orleans? As a native Louisianian, yep, that probably happened just like Clarkson said! I keep moving and lock the doors in the more dangerous areas of New Orleans - the touristy parts are just fine though.
 
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LoneWolf

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This has been said repeatedly by you and other Brits. But I think it's a lame point of view, sorry.

Yes we all get the British humour, even when every now and then they go really far with it/"not correct behaviour" (Fawlty Tower, Allo Allo etc. which BTW always remained funny and didn't go over the edge IMHO). So don't pretend we don't.
But about the 'license fee', that is such a lame thing to say. I too pay a 'license fee' (=just regular tax) for our own public television broadcaster, and they too produce programmes that are seen abroad (documentaries). I couldn't care less if the majority of the viewers haven't actually payed for it. I happily pay my taxes for a programme to show the outside world something interesting, whatever it is. AND it's a PUBLIC broadcaster, so the funding will ALWAYS be there, even if the entire world is torrenting/leeching its content! ;)
Secondly, the BBC is broadcasted throughout Europe and the world. Why? Because the British government actively wants to promote the English language and British culture/point of view/etc. abroad. The German and French* governments do the same thing here in Europe. Hell, all the big countries here do it! THAT is the main reason we have access to all the (national/international) BBC channels here in The Netherlands. And a heap of German, French, Spanish and Italian channels. They WANT us as their viewers. Which makes our opinions relevant thank you very much.
Thirdly, Top Gear is sold commercially to TV stations (we have it on another station too, besides BBC2). Although this shouldn't be an influence on the show, it makes your whine about 'licence fees' more redundant. :bangin:
And lastly, there are certain boundaries of taste one can't cross IMHO. JC did that a couple of times (I think Richard and James would agree with me). Nano pointed this out too. Jeremy went over the line with one venomous comment, period. You know that. So stop endlessly defending the guy just because he waves the same flag as you, okay? For instance I for one will not defend the Spyker marque because it's Dutch. Spyker has some interesting design cues, but their cars are fugly, period. I am skeptical of their F1 project too. And I dislike Albers and hate Verstappen. Oh and A1GP sucks because of the stupid nation-vs.-nation concept, period (IMHO). Nevermind to mention the cars/tracks/drivers are pathetic. <_<
*The latest French effort is called 'France24', which is supposed to trump CNN for most popular news station in the world. It's only in French, it's only there because of the envy towards CNN and the BBC, meaning it's pathetic. :rofl:

If you have such a problem with the show, then it begs the question, why do you bother watching it? The fact that you do watch it and at the same time whine about it just makes you look redundant, sorry.

And I hate to burst you're bubble about you're individual percieved value to the BBC, but I'm afraid you're opinions aren't of much relevance to the BBC. For one thing, they have enough to worry about to strike a balance between spending, quality of programming and viewer figures (and also the politics that comes with it) in the UK alone, without having to worry about what people in the Netherlands might think about it. Don't take offence with that, I couldn't care less if you're public broadcasters ignored my views.

Their main (and perhaps sole) target audience is the British public because the public provide pretty much their entire budget power and they have to answer to the governors and regulators, who in turn have a duty to ensure the BBC meets the standards of broadcasting for the public. And the point about the BBC selling commercial rights to other countries is irrelevant simply because the show would still survive, in it's current form even if it weren't shown outside the UK. The fact that it is shown outside the UK is a bonus, not a neccesity.

Look, I'm real sorry you feel upset that JC crosses the boundaries of taste, but at the end of the day frankly he doesn't care what you think, and neither does the BBC. The notion that the BBC would take serious notice of non-UK opinions and let it have a bearing on a domestic BBC program (yes domestic) is absurd.

If anyone is so upset by TG or JC's antics, the best form of protest is not to watch. Better still, perhaps you can write to your public broadcaster asking them to start a motoring program.

But continually whining about JC views, when they are very well known and in fact what he has largely become famous for in the UK, is what I consider 'lame'.

And fyi I don't defend JC on the mere grounds he is British, I defend JC because he is an integral part of my fave program on telly.
 
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hellrotbill

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I haven't seen the episode yet. Plan to Torrent it tonight. I'm sure it will be quite humorous though. I can laugh at my countrymen. And I do enjoy British humor and even much British culture. Many Americans do find the British to be a bit high-minded.
While I would not consider myself a fan of the anti-intellectual types that elected our president. I do not think many would accuse us of all being bunch of nobs!

The points about it being in Alabama should be taken to heart though. Any of you blokes a Scouser or know a Scouser? I'm sure driving around Liverpool with something derogatory about the Liverpool Football Club wouldn't draw any negative attention. Because those Manchester United and Liverpool fans are historically so cool-headed and civilized.

Cheers my automotive mates!
 
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