“The Grand Tour” Not So Grand?

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Former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have moved on from the show that made them all famous. They didn’t really have a choice about moving on, what with Clarkson punching a coworker and the BBC showing him the door. The trio decided to stick together and their new show is an instant hit, maybe.

They call it The Grand Tour. After the first episode, the world seemed fairly pleased with the new automotive show. It was as if they took all the best parts of Top Gear and put them together with a new set and new theme music. The masses approved.

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Episode two, however, didn’t get the same support. In fact, some people hated it and called the trio finished. That’s likely a bit strong given how popular they are and how entertaining they can be when everything comes together perfectly.

Perfectly together was not what happened in episode two, or at least that’s what they naysayers claim. If everyone takes a step back, then they’ll see that the show was pretty much the same shtick both episodes and we’ll likely see more of that shtick in the coming weeks.

The Grand Tour isn’t so much a show about cars as it is a show about three guys who like cars. It was the chemistry between Clarkson, Hammond, and May that made Top Gear a success in the first place. It had people who don’t know the first thing about cars or even care about cars watching the show religiously.

No one was watching to get the nitty gritty on their next car purchase. No one decided to pull the trigger and buy a supercar simply because it gave Jeremy Clarkson the feels. It was entertainment and serious eye candy if you did happen to like cars.

What Top Gear did, when it was good, was let us watch a bunch of guys having fun talking about the thing they love. That thing is cars and they still appear pretty enamored of cars on their new show.

It isn’t Top Gear and it’s not perfect, but, if you take off those rose-colored glasses, you’ll remember that not every episode of Top Gear was perfect. Not every joke worked. Not every segment was entertaining. But when it worked it was hilarious and beautiful and absolutely fantastic.

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Given that there are hours of Top Gear that are wonderfully entertaining, it’s a good bet that these guys will be able to pull it off again with The Grand Tour. It’s not perfect, but it’s still the same laughable bunch of car guys acting like idiots, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin