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YMMV: Top Gear
  • Acceptable Targets: Too many to list, but they're particularly fond of slamming Labour politicians, environmentalists, the politically correct, America, France, Germany, Switzerland, The Midlands and anybody working for the Health and Safety Executive. And especially caravans. Also Acceptable Ethnic Targets (in the broader sense): the constant joking about the height of both Richard Hammond (about average) note  and Jeremy Clarkson (taller than average).note 
    James: Ooh, and you have to be between 5 foot 2 and 6 foot 7, so that's you two out. Excellent.
    Jeremy: That's "heightist" frankly.
    Richard: Yeah, that's "heightist."
    James: I can't think of a better recommendation actually.
    Jeremy: What?
    Richard: Us not being able to do it?
    James: Exactly, I'll be going, I'll see you [indicating audience] there.
    • After his publicised unmasking, the second Stig has fallen into this.
  • Angst? What Angst?: The presenters allegedly have a pact (mentioned in the context of Hammond's accident but apparently still in force) that, should any of them die, the remaining hosts would appear at the beginning of the next episode, make a mournful comment, pause for a moment of silence, and then say, "Anyway," and cheerily continue with the show.
  • Broken Base:
    • The show itself. Summed up by Private Eye's TV critic as "Top Gear used to be about cars. These days, of course, it's about Jeremy Clarkson."
    • The trio's stint on BBC Southern Counties radio. The three of them received a number of calls from listeners praising them for their program, but Jeremy admitted more than once that the staff were having to assure callers that the trio would be gone the next day.
  • Cargo Ship: The show is pretty much the embodiment of this trope.
    • Clarkson has had an abusive relationship with his Ford GT, fell in love with the Bugatti Veyron and claimed he wanted to elope with a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. He has also licked various cars on camera.
    • Hammond has fallen in love with Oliver the Opel Kadett and a Pagani Zonda. Taken to extremes: he now co-hosts another show, Blast Lab, with Oliver.
    • Both Clarkson and Hammond wanted to have some 'alone time' with a picture of an Alfa Brera.
    • Prior to meeting Oliver, Hammond had called the Pagani Zonda Roadster "the One," which prompted Clarkson to apologize to the women on the set.
    • In Series 14 James May found himself enamored on a Dacia Sandero while in Romania — an affair which was tragically cut short when it was destroyed by a lorry.
    • Series 19 gives us this from Jeremy involving, of all people, The Stig:
    Jeremy: Some say that, following the vote on Gay Marriage, he's got engaged to James May...'s lawnmower...
  • The Catch Phrase Catches On: "...in the world." (Although that catch phrase isn't actually from Top Gear, but Clarkson's 1990s TV series Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, where he examined the various motoring cultures...of the world.)
    • Even Tiff Needell from old Top Gear used to use this catch phrase in the old series as well.
  • Come for the X, Stay for the Y:
    • Come for the cars, stay for the enjoyment of 3 perfectly picked hosts playing off each other brilliantly.
    • Come for the cars, stay because the show is hilarious.
    • Come for the Stig, stay for Clarkson.
    • Come for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, stay for Clarkson.
    • Come for the tropes, stay for [insert favourite presenter's name here].
    • Come for the hijinks, stay for the cars.
    • Come for the "get your friend to shut the hell up", stay for the "because he's right".
  • Crazy Awesome: Jeremy and The Stig.
  • Critical Research Failure: During the London to Oslo race Clarkson is driving through the Netherlands. The graphics shown include little signs to show where he is, one sign read "Zuiderzee". The Zuiderzee ceased to exist in 1932, it's now a lake called IJsselmeer.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In the German car show crossover, the presenters were asked to not mention the war too much. They did this.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • "Yes! We've made it through Vietnam, south to north! We've proven to the Americans it could be done!" - Although the effect of this one is primarily American. British people tend to view the Vietnam War as a rather unpleasant mistake another country once made, and confine their cultural experience of it to watching all those wonderful films and mocking the Americans for losing in YouTube comments.
    • The jokes they made about the Mexican supercar they tested earned this reaction, which is why that segment never aired in the US. Ironically, that segment did air in Mexico.
    • Even worse off, their dissing (and subsequent on-screen wrecking) of the Malaysian made Perodua Kancil car (a car designed on commission by Daihatsu Japan) was probably the true reason the BBC Entertainment channel (which airs Top Gear in Asia) is no longer available from Pay TV providers in the country. In other words, Clarkson's action cost Malaysian Doctor Who fans their access to the show!
    • Some has speculated that the real reason India wishes to implement Internet Censorship was because of some stunts that the crew of the show pulled off while reviewing an Indian-made car, and Indian authorities want to do everything in their power to block said episode from getting in as revenge[1].
    • Sir Steve Redgrave's reaction in the Cross Over Top Ground Gear Force Special where he's surprised by the garden makeover he looks like he would kill the presenters if not for the cameras and simply walks into the house without saying a word. Some time later, presumably after a long conversation with his wife and producers, he comes out and has a tour of the "improvements".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Stig.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Top Gear has a remarkably solid female fanbase for a show oriented around manly pursuits. The trap is probably baited with hamster, but Clarkson, May, and even The Stig have their devotees.

    This is made fun of on the show frequently: all three have been featured in this context in magazines and other media, but only Hammond tends to appear on lists of "hottest male celebrities" (once in a gay magazine, technically making him testosterone bait as well). That said, all three main presenters have won the dubious title of Heat magazine's "Number One Weird Crush" in consecutive years, and there was a campaign for The Stig to win it in 2009 — though sadly he only managed third place.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Go ahead, talk about the British and American versions of the show. Enjoy the flaming.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The presenters' In Series Nicknames (Jezza, Hamster, and Captain Slow) have been taken up by the fanbase. The presenters collectively are sometimes called the Top Gear Three, or TG3 for short.
    • Also "White Stig," distinguished from the former "Black Stig" by the white color of his racing suit.
    • Nico Nico Douga users tend to tag videos featuring May with "J`・ω・)".
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Absolutely anything that Richard Hammond says in episodes of Top Gear relating to "flying through the Pearly Gates backwards in a fireball" (or similar) that was recorded before his miraculously non-fatal high-speed crash.
    Hammond: I love that vision of just blasting through the gates, backwards, in a flaming Swedish supercar! "Yes! I'm here! Where are the women?"
    • Hammond described the 10,000hp afterburner on the Vampire as "possibly the biggest accident you've ever seen in your life." Before he drove it.
    • Similarly, there is a clip of Jeremy Clarkson saying that "no series would be complete without an earnest attempt to kill Richard Hammond".
    • The crossover Hammond did with the cast of Ashes to Ashes for Children In Need hits this once the finale of Ashes to Ashes aired and it's revealed that it takes place at a limbo for dead and dying police officers. Granted, Richard isn't a police officer but still...
    • Jeremy joking that if the Black Stig continued driving so recklessly he would be killed.
    • In the Season 16 premiere, the guys take a road trip along the East Coast of the United States. James chose to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia which had recently been in the news for a number of them catching fire. Jeremy and Richard decided to mock him at one point by wearing t-shirts with burning 458 Italias on them. The only thing is that Richard chose to drive a Porsche 911 GT3 on the trip and that car developed the same problem a few years later. (Needless to say, Jeremy and James teased him about it after he bought one.)
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • May's trip to a certain Icelandic volcano.
    • The comments Richard Hammond made before his accident if anything went wrong, that it'd be one of the biggest crashes ever. He even admitted if he wasn't "a shortarse" and had been James' (originally meant to drive it but couldn't make that day) or Jeremy's size, when the car flipped and his helmet plowed the ground, he'd probably would have been decapitated. Some of the comments even made Hammond visibly wince when they showed the footage in the studio.
    • In the fourth episode, Jeremy and Richard Burns note that Colin McRae tends to hurt himself. Granted he died in a helicopter crash, but he was the one piloting it.
    • One episode involved Jeremy Clarkson "dueling" a Westland WAH-64 (a British Army version of the American Apache attack helicopter) in a Lotus Exige. As per his usual "Americans are brainless obese barbarians" attitude, Jeremy threw in a smug Take That, claiming that he was perfectly safe because the pilots "being British, not American, donít shoot their allies." The next year, a British Apache wounded nine soldiers of 2 PARA in a friendly fire incident.
    • They had special where they visited both the Ukraine and Syria, months before war broke out.
    • Fan Hater: The complaints over the various controversies and the "Stop Having Fun" Guys crowd are bad enough, but when it stoops down to bashing people's taste in comedy, what follows usually makes the presenters' squabbling look like sensible debate.
    • The hatred from the Morris Marina Owners' Club, after they burnt a Marina in the Communist Car segment... even though the burnt car was a rusted shell with no interior and had to have frame repairs, patches, and a new paintjob to match the other car used.
    The scrap car had to have a framework fabricated and fitted into the floor and chassis areas (sills, suspension mounting areas etc.) as it was really quite the rustiest thing we could have found, this made it safe to use on the "race" segment during which the interior trim from the good car was used in close ups.
    Prior to the fire, that trim was replaced to the good car and the remains of the scrap one filled with a bed of poly peanuts and flour to give the impression of an interior fire.

    No interior trim was destroyed, nor any usable parts. Even the windows were replaced with sugar glass. The car was obtained from a man who had intended to use it for racing of the oval track variety, but as it had no structural integrity, he gave up on that idea and gladly took the BBC's cash.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In 2003, they awarded the "Most Boring Formula One Driver" award to Kimi Raikkonen. Yes, that Kimi Raikkonen, who is known for crashing snowmobile races and dressing up as a gorilla in a yachting event.
    • Remember the news segment about Jaguar drivers/owners being able to get away with anything as long as they reference their Jaaags? Well...
    • The Big Book of Top Gear tends to be full of these.
      • There's an obviously fake "interview" with Tom Cruise in the 2011 edition where he supposedly came to be the Star in the Reasonably Priced Car. Guess who actually showed up next series?
      • One edition has the three presenters all needling each other on a Twitter parody site. All three presenters are actually on Twitter now, and guess what they tend to do? note 
  • Memetic Badass:
    • The Stig.
    • Kif, the one-armed sound-man from the Top Gear vs D-Motor episode.
    Clarkson: Still, he's very brave. He once fought a shark. He lost, but still...
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The Stig again. You can buy "I Am the Stig" t-shirts, and also "I Am Not The Stig" t-shirts. Hilariously, after he beat the Stig's time in the Suzuki Liana Rubens Barrichello was seen wearing one with "I Beat The Stig." The presenters also noted several other F1 drivers who'd appeared on the show had been given them, albeit with the caption "I Did Not Beat The Stig."
    • Applies to some cars (and their drivers) that the trio like/hate.
      • All modern AMGs are like hyperactive dogs who wag their tails vigorously whenever you show them a corner.
      • You can get away with anything, just as long as you have a Jaaaag.
      • News on the Dacia Sandero!
    • Bizarrely, the viewers on Nico Nico Douga have found Jeremy & Co.'s constant use of "Rubbish!" to be an Inherently Funny Word.
    • The term "Flappy Paddle Gearbox" was invented by Top Gear.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Sir Ranulph Fiennes' frostbitten hand.
    • The Boulder field part of the Polar Special, at least for Jeremy and James. Just imagine: You're in a freezing cold location, trying to get a truck through it. The masses of ice boulders and other hazards mean that between planning a route, cutting through obstacles and getting the truck out of sticky situations, you can only cover about 1 mile a day. It goes from bad to worse when an accident with the truck causes you to lose nearly half your fuel, so it's even more unlikely that you'll be able to get out at all. And then there's the cold, which as Sir Ranulph pointed out, once had one of his friends PLOTTING TO MURDER HIM.
    • The Road of Death in Bolivia.
    • From episode 3 in Series 21, The Final Challenge (capitalized for good reason) resulting in James, Jeremy, and a skeleton camera crew driving right into Pripyat Not a single joke is made during the entire trip, Geiger counters are cracking wildly throughout, and the pair eventually drive straight past the massive reactor itself. The very air seems to be washed of all color around it. And, at least for a short time, Jeremy experiences the horror of running out of fuel in the middle of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, within sight of Reactor Number Four.
      • Clarkson's face goes ashen and he is too stunned to speak initially when he reads that the finish line is at Chornobyl. And it gets worse. Belarus is Europe's last remaining dictatorship, and for that reason, the BBC is forbidden from setting foot on that nation's soil, so even if the finish line were at the border with Belarus, they'd still have to backtrack and pass by the reactor again after reaching that finish-line!
  • Old Shame:
    • Out of universe. Some American viewers found the cast (and crew)'s run-in with Alabama hillbillies very embarrassing.
    • It's implied that, much like some of the viewers, all three presenters weren't particularly fond of the India Special, as shown by this little exchange by Clarkson and May:
    May: This really isn't Ferrari's finest hour, is it?
    Clarkson: No, they should have called it the Ferrari India Special.
    May: (guilty grimace)
  • Periphery Demographic: Although this is a show for the petrolhead, many people watch it who know fuck all about cars: they're in it for the hilarity. At least one such person was shocked to learn that Top Gear is actually a legitimate car show, not a parody.
  • Squick: Several of the challenges have involved eating dubious items, like roadkill or snake.
    • When the guys had forensic tests done on their cars. Only one of them was able to rest easy- the others decided to wear gas masks and biohazard suits.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: A somewhat common complaint, particularly from fans of the show's 1978-2001 incarnation, is that modern-day Top Gear spends too much time on entertainment and not enough on being informative. The hosts quite often lampshade this fact, but it only seems to make the detractors angrier. Pretty much anyone else who doesn't like Top Gear derides it as a mid-life crisis show for vaguely xenophobic manchildren who really need to quit messing about and grow up.
  • Tear Jerker: Surprisingly more than a few times, usually when the one of the trio (or all of them) lament on the passing of some automotive great.
    • During series 7, instead of doing the news, they aired a tribute to recently deceased rally driver Richard Burns. Particularly memorable and touching since he was a good friend of Jeremy and would often go over to Jezza's house to play video games with his son.
    • Series 15, Episode 5 — if the tribute to Senna doesn't move you to tears, you may have no soul.
    • The finale of Series 15, episode 6, is bound to bring a tear to the eye of anyone who's a fan of old British sports cars.
      • The earlier Series 13, episode 7 finale commands a similar effect.
    • Series 17, episode 6 features a rally team made up of war amputees attempting to earn a place in the famous Dakar Rally. It's quite incredible to hear about (and see!) the difficulties they go through and how they overcome them in their quest to get into the race. There's also a much sadder Tear Jerker in the segment, as one of the team members starts telling a story about one of his fellow soldiers who was killed in the accident that cost him his limbs, and he starts crying. Out of respect, the camera cuts away.
    • Series 19 features a tribute to the late, great Carroll Shelby.
  • The Woobie: Typically averted: Rule of Funny and Stiff Upper Lip generally turn a suffering character into a Butt Monkey rather than a Woobie.
    • Played straight with Richard Hammond's gigantic, near-fatal accident in the Vampire.

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