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.
    • Jeremy Clarkson being let go from the series in 2015 after punching a producer over food immediately hammered the fanbase into three sides: those who thought that Clarkson was justifiably dismissed for an act of severe misconduct, those who felt that he was in the wrong but that firing him was an over-reaction, and those who thought that the whole thing was a smokescreen and an excuse for the notoriously left-wing BBC to persecute Clarkson for his political views. That is all that needs to be said.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • "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.)
    • The recurring theme of the presenters being opposed to the producers in one way or another is awkward now that an actual fight with a producer caused the BBC not to renew Clarkson's contract.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • May's trip to a certain Icelandic volcano. However, because May's segment was filmed before the volcano went off, and the presenters discussed it after the volcano erupted, they were able to joke about May possibly setting the volcano off.
    • 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, don’t shoot their allies." The next year, a British Apache wounded nine soldiers of 2 PARA in a friendly fire incident.
    • They had specials where they visited both Ukraine and Syria, months before war broke out. Particularly the Iraq and Syria segments of the Middle East Special under this; nearly every location they traveled in these two countries has been hit heavily by the Syrian Civil War and the rise of ISIS.
    • Any of the presenters' jokes about diplomacy and things going wrong in the Patagonia special after things did in fact go spectacularly wrong over the misunderstanding with Clarkson's license plate.
    Clarkson: I will not spark fury on this trip.
    Clarkson: (upon seeing a Falklands propaganda billboard) I'M NOT SAYING ANYTHING.
    • Occasions where two of the trio joke about needing a new presenter. This ended up becoming a reality after Clarkson was released from the show in March 2015.
    • When Clarkson couldn't get his car out of the mud, he shouted in frustration "I hate working on Top Gear!" That was in his last episode, one he was only featured in & wasn't alloowed back to host.
  • 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 
  • Magnum Opus: The overseas specials are considered among the better episodes, primarily the Polar, Vietnam, Bolivia and Uganda specials.
  • 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.
      • Good 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.
  • 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, snake or a BBCnote  smoothie.
    • 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.
    • In Series 21 the boys visit a war memorial in Burma to those who died in WW2 where James and Richard sit silently as Jeremy reads from 'Bridge Over The River Kwai'.
    • In the Patagonia Special (or Episode 0 of the 22nd Series / 2014's Christmas Special), Jeremy explains the story of why he chose a Porsche 928. Because it enabled him to meet his dying father one last time. He said on-screen that he was sure he wouldn't have been able to say good-bye to his father if he hadn't tested the 928 that week in 1994.
    • When Clarkson expiring contract with the BBC was not renewed by them in response to his fight with a producer, the news hit Hammond and May pretty hard. In proof that the three of them are Fire-Forged Friends, all have given statements about how the three of them are a package. Exemplified the most, when on the day of the announcement, reporters swarmed James May's home, and began pestering him with questions about the future the show, who he would like to replace Jeremy, when it was clear he just wanted to be left alone to absorb the news of the matter. May gave this response:
      James May: As much as I think he's a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy.
    • The final episode of the Clarkson, Hammond, and May run. Sad for both Hammond and May's sincere thank you and goodbyes, but also for the fact that Clarkson could not be there to add his as well.
  • 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.