Time Well spent

Generally I do not write reviews or articles about things which I like most. The simple reason is others may find it worse than boring and even mawkish if it gets to be. But I am afraid I can’t help doing this.

I am not exactly what you call person with mind full of merry. That is because I have just finished watching all the episodes of the Top gear show I have in my hard drive. Strangely, I consider this show as the best of all the TV shows I have ever seen. So at this point someone who has absolutely no idea about the show may think it is a hi-fi action show or some hot fashion show. No, there are no megalomaniacs here.

And people who have even the slightest bit of engineering skills may guess it right. Judging by the name of it, it is an automobile show; to be specific it is a car program. If you are a kind of bike freak, this is not your thing. And if you think it is a show wherein some beardy people in bubble spectacles or some ex-motor sport champions with tiny little brains sitting next to each other with a cup of coffee comparing cars in a formal way, talking about value for money, economy and size, you are terribly wrong. In fact you would be as wrong when you told my name after being asked who the coolest man in the world is.

So what is it? It is a tough thing to explain. The idea is a bunch of silly normal men will be driving whatever they can get their hands on and tell us the pros and cons. expressing the emotions of a normal motorist is the thing. Classifying car into the good, the bad, the ugly and the cool cars does make a point that cars are not just a means of transportation but they have a lot of soul in them.

To do this BBC needed three men. The first presenter Jeremy Clarkson got himself a car and shifted from fifth gear to top gear. As far as I saw the program he had absolutely no skills for anything apart from talking about cars, refuse to agree to whatever the co-presenters say, selfishly not letting others test fast cars in the program often and throwing witty comments on others and taking a weird task and being not able to complete it successfully. I have been thinking about reasons to like him, but have not found one; still you know what, you cannot hate the man unless of course you are the one being attacked.

And then there is an adventurous little man with nice driving skills and a bit of luck to have escaped death after a colossal crash in a monster machine. To keep the things a little complicated this man always has exactly the opposite views of Jeremy and he is called Richard Hammond.

Obviously to be a motor journalist in a hot program you should not be slow, disciplined, grey, boring, bachelor, contemporary and pianist. That is exactly why there is one more person in the show called James May with all the above qualities.

So, here we have three men who stand exactly at three corners of a triangle.

This is what this program is all about. The car is always the hero of the program and they never forget that. Every car test is a joy to watch. Apart from performance, mileage and stuff like that, they search for the most vital thing a car needs to have, its character.

You buy some stuff only if you need them; cars are the ones you buy because you want them. So astonishingly their judgement is sometimes emotional too, a rather unpredictable verdict results.

Another thing that needs to be mentioned is their straight ‘on your face’ comments and criticism. I could not help laughing when people are mauled by their words. I just can‘t forget the comments on cars like, “This car is ugly, I would rather look at the back of a baboon”, “The dash looks like I made it”, “I would rather eat the money than buying this”.

Their car comparisons are even more amazing. Everybody will be defending their favourite car to the hills and in the end they arrive at a verdict, sort of. The best thing about all those tests is they do not follow any procedures to make them. No one after watching an episode will believe that it is a non-scripted program.

And “star in a reasonably priced car” is another thing where they interview celebrities and try to irritate them. And the celebrity tries to register a lap time as low as possible.

Another unique thing is “The cool wall”, which classifies cars based on whether it is cool or not, however good or bad a car may actually be. This is actually about the character of the car. The idea is to classify what kind of thing the car appears to be in society and ignore the engineering part of it. This is for me a brilliant idea.

Apart from that they conduct special races where a car races against other means of transport. Anyway everyone will make the car win ultimately. And they are given tasks which are beyond their scope of knowledge, most of which end in failure. Making amphibious cars was a good one. They did some amazing things like claiming Scottish mountain using a Land rover and driving to the North Pole for the first time ever.

Apart from all the upsides, to be honest their criticism is very harsh. Their opinion that Europeans are better than others and England is better than other European nations is often indirectly expressed because they are British men. “This is America’s best car since it is as American as America’s national anthem which was written by a British”. Most of their comments were too boldly said referring to somebody and so such people are waiting to throw something on them whenever they get a chance. Let me sum it up this way.

They are clever, funny, talented, sensible, and bold. All of them very different but all of them love cars more than anything else in the world. Yes, they are arrogant, rude, racist, weird, unpredictable and sometimes a bit biased. But you know what; this is how it should be like. Yes they can make a show with high tech videos, with men in suit talking very professionally and it will be boring, I bet you.

Here they chose to stick to some old-fashioned approach. Just three normal blokes will be arguing against each other in a silly manner. This sounds wrong for a kick off. And I adore them for that.

Let me put it this way. Wine is a drink for grown up men sitting in a formal party mostly silent and occasionally talking to someone about business and most of them waiting eagerly to leave. They have the right drink with them, brilliant but they are all Grey and do not seem to enjoy. Imagine another bunch of blokes sitting next to each other in a place not so sophisticated and having the wrong kind of champagne and cracking jokes at each other. Does not sound so brilliant this but they are having a nice time.

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