Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure
(AKA James May's Road Trip
) is a two-season Edutainment Show
aimed at adults and intended to demystify the lofty and complex
world of wine appreciation. Oz Clarke, a noted wine expert, teams up with James May, best known as presenter of Top Gear
, and the two take thinly-veiled drinking road trip vacation to France in the first series and California in the second.
Oz and James Drink To Britain
is a one-season followup to Big Wine Adventure
in which Oz and James return for another thinly-veiled drinking holiday, this time touring Great Britain, broadening their scope to all alcoholic beverages, and searching for the drink that speaks for modern Britain.
No new series with will likely be forthcoming with the duo in the near-future, as James is now the spokesperson for a British brewer, making further alcoholic adventures a conflict of interest and against BBC policy. However, Oz has paired up with comedian Hugh Dennis for two further series, and he does make frequent appearances on James' other other show
This series provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: In Drink to Britain, James gets a caravan for their sleeping arrangements. Oz isn't impressed, so James promises that they'll set fire to it if it's terrible.
- Annoying Laugh: James. Especially to Oz.
- Anti-Climax: After days of exploring the finest servings of beer, wine, whiskey, gin, cider, perry, vodka, and every alcoholic beverage in Britain, Oz and James finally found the one drink that speaks for the nation: tea.
- Bald of Evil or Bald of Awesome: However you interpret Oz.
- Best Wine Ever: On occasion James has seemed moved almost to tears by the taste of something.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: In Drink to Britain they joke that as long as they occasionally mention alcohol, they've effectively conned the BBC into paying for them to run around the country and get drunk.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: We do hear an "...in the world" at least once or twice.
- Brief Accent Imitation: In Drink to Britain, as they travel from place to place, they often start doing comical versions of the regional accent there.
- British Pubs: Virtually Once an Episode in Drink To Britain, for obvious reasons.
- But Thou Must: "Would you like beans and sausages, or sausages with beans?"
- Character Development: May picks up a conversant vocabulary in wine knowledge; Oz becomes a bit less stuffy and self-important.
- Character Filibuster: Oz is necessarily guilty of this, since this is an edutainment show.
- City Mouse: "The urbanite James — even to see him doing this rustic stuff is a bit bizarre."
- The Comically Serious: Oz. Plays the Straight Man to May, who himself usually plays the Straight Man to his co-presenters on Top Gear.
- Confession Cam: It seems like they're supposed to be explaining what they're doing that day, from their own perspective, but they're actually just whining about each other.
- Conspicuous Consumption: Oz admits that Napa Valley is a bit on the fake side with its marketing machinery and rich-clientele pandering.
- Description Cut: Oz and James ride shotgun for a V8 muscle car drag race between "bone-idle vintners" who have nothing to do when not harvesting except fish and race cars.
Oz: [voiceover shot of him not enjoying himself] Only a simpleton could possibly get any pleasure out of this futile activity.
[cut to James in the other car with a huge grin on his face and laughing]
- Discreet Drink Disposal: At fine wine tastings, it's not considered impolite to dispose of remaining wine by either pouring it or spitting it out on the ground or in a provided bucket, even if the vintner is present and the surroundings are posh. Oz spends a lot of effort trying to teach James how to spit neatly, and then even more effort convincing him that it's a good idea.
- Dowsing Device: James gets his hands on one used by a French vineyard that incorporates all sorts of new agey weirdness into their growing process. He uses it to detect the energy of his penis, which doesn't last very long.
- Drunk Driver: Meticulously averted. While editing the show, they had to be very careful to cut in shots that indicated Oz and James had slept off any effects before any shots of them driving. Additionally, since it was only James driving the RV in California, he was more often stuck not getting a chance to drink anything (and complaining about this).
- Dumbass Has a Point: Early on, and several times after, Oz notes that James can occasionally make extremely intelligent comments, observations, and comparisons.
- Edutainment Show: Usually, Oz is providing the Edu while James provides the Tainment.
- Estrogen Brigade: Oz has one in-universe, to James' amusement and mild bafflement.
- Faux Horrific: James' comically-exaggerated horror at the word terroir,note which symbolizes (to him) the sentimental, French over-complication of what should be a simple pleasure.
- Friendship Moment: James feels guilty after not getting a Mustang for the California trip when Oz expected one, so he goes out and rents one.
- Friend to All Living Things: Cats and dogs like James, apparently.
- Geeky Turn-On: One female wine enthusiast's reaction to meeting Oz, much to James' bewilderment.
- Genre Savvy: A female vintner who also likes cars does a piece to camera in which she admits that talking about wine can be boring and talking about cars can be boring.
- Hair of the Dog: Oz's version includes tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, vodka, and a raw egg. Eagle-eyed viewers will have noted that in the scene before this he was also sipping red wine.
- Hangover Sensitivity
- Hideous Hangover Cure: James spends a short segment of a California episode cooking several of these, using miscellaneous and leftover food items, for a very surly Oz.
- High Concept: Two men drive around the country and drink quite a bit.
- Homoerotic Subtext: In the first series, they share a tiny tent and a jacuzzi, not to mention the montage in the final episode in which they both talk about their wonderful trip and Oz compares it to a holiday romance. In the second series, they share a motorhome with only one bed. In the third series, they share a tiny caravan.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Oz uses almost this line, then attempts to lose already-drunk James in a crowd in search of a bar.
- Kavorka Man: On more than one occasion, we see that Oz Clarke is apparently catnip to female wine-tasters, much to the bewilderment of James.
- Large Ham: Monsieur Chapoutier is very intelligent and very theatrical.
- Last-Second Word Swap: "If he uses that whistle on me again I'm going to shove it up his — ahh, look, Bordeaux!"
- Look Behind You: James tries to filch something in a French restaurant kitchen with this gag.
- Market-Based Title: For BBC America's rerun of the show, they've renamed it James May's Road Trip, presumably because Top Gear is half their schedule and they assumed (probably not incorrectly) no one would know who Oz Clarke is.
- Medium Awareness: "This is what's known as a wide-angle shot. The gate is smaller than it looks."
- Men Are Uncultured: Oz, owner of a pink seersucker dressing gown, obviously doesn't give a toss for this trope, but James isn't ready to discard it yet.
- Zig-Zagging Trope: When Oz lists the "favorite foods" that might go along with a wine that has a particularly fatuous label, it's all junk food.
- Naked People Are Funny: In France, Oz and James visit a grape-themed spa and display their middle-aged buttocks (and most of the rest of themselves) for the camera.
- National Stereotypes: "I'm trying to look British!" "They're obviously not French, they're actually working."
- Nostalgia Filter: Oz spends much of the second Big Wine Adventure and "Drink to Britain" lamenting high-yield, high-production breweries replacing smaller operations. May, who loves machinery and automation, is unsympathetic.
- Odd Couple: Wine ponce goes on drinking holiday with scruffy petrolhead.
- Product Displacement: Due to BBC rules about placing undue prominence on brand names, when they did a feature on Guinness as an iconic beverage of Ireland, they had to set up a system by which they fined themselves five Euros every time they said "Guinness" rather than a generic name.
- Promoted Fanboy: Subverted. James said in an interview that he and a friend used to tune into Oz's older shows and occasionally mock Oz's declamatory style of assessing wines. He also expressed concerns in the Confession Cam about what might happen if he found three days into the first trip that he didn't like Oz. His proposed solution was, "get drunk, I guess". Which he does anyway.
- Punny Name: The Ozcillator (a whistle James uses to cut Oz short if he's getting long-winded).
- Real Men Wear Pink: "I can't see your pink pants because they blend in too well with your pink duvet and your pink pillow." Not to mention the pink dressing gown and the handbag.
- Record Needle Scratch: James recites the blurb on the back of a wine bottle in a soft, poetic tone of voice to gentle romantic BGM. [scratch] "You bunch of jessiesnote . Who wrote that?"
- Also heard in the opening montage voiceovers to segue between Oz being fluffy about wine and James demanding to get on with it.
- Selective Stupidity: James is surprisingly protective of his ignorance about drink.
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Obviously, Oz versus James. But also James versus himself, as he comes to terms with the knowledge Oz has poured into his brain, and (according to one of his columns) the realization that he can be very boring about certain topics for very long intervals of time, which is really something Richard and Jeremy have been trying to tell him for years.
- Sommelier Speak: James is learning how to do this.
- Sophisticated as Hell:
James: [unzips the tent's door and begins reciting to the camera]
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a Voice within the Tavern cry,
'Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry.'
[beat] Now fuck off.
- Spot of Tea: James spends a considerable segment of a France episode seeking out a British expat for a cup of proper tea. Then in Drink To Britain, after spending a month sampling everything alcoholic the nation has to offer, they both conclude that the drink that speaks to modern Britain is in fact... tea.
- Tastes Like Feet: A vintner calls James on it — "When was the last time you tasted a struggling antipodean?"
- This Loser Is You: James plays the scruffy lout easily distracted from the task at hand by cars and machinery, unsuitable to be seen in polite company, and inclined to eye-rolling and complaining about Oz's pedantry. His goal is to find an inexpensive, drinkable wine for normal people to enjoy.
- V Sign: James flicks one at someone who takes a picture of them on the train.
- Wacky Racing: How many wine bottles can you open in a set interval of time?
- Wunza Plot: One's a respected wine expert. One's an unrefined petrolhead. Together, they drink wine.
- Your Other Left: Oz.