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YMMV / Top Gear (UK)

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  • Acceptable Targets: Too many to list, but they're particularly fond of slamming Labour politicians, 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 (shorter than 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.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: After the mixed reaction of Series 23, Series 24 undid most of the poorly received changes that had been made. The show, once again, focuses on three guys having fun in cars and brought back the classic Top Gear Test Track for celebrity speed laps.
  • 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 programme, 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 allegedly 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 Catchphrase Catches On: " 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.
  • 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 car show crossover episode with their German counterparts at DMotor, the presenters were asked to not mention the war too much. They did this.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: 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 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. note 
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans refuse to watch everything after the original hosts were replaced in 2015, and usually treat The Grand Tour as if it were a proper continuation of the series.
  • "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 (2008) 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...
    • The comments Richard Hammond made before his accident that if anything went wrong, 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 episode that aired just prior to the accident, Hammond crashes a van. Harsh or Hilarious depending on your point of view:
      Clarkson: So... actually, he could be dead.
      May: Well, there's a police car at the scene of the accident, so...
      Clarkson: Well, if he is dead, and you fancy a job on Top Gear, why don't you write to us at "I'm better than Richard Hammond was"
      Hammond: I may have overcooked that a bit.
      Clarkson: BBC, Woodlane, London, W12 70S.
    • 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.)
    • After reeking havoc to a Norwegian town in the Snowbine Harvester challenge, Jeremy comments that "as [they] weren't actually being stoned by an angry mob [they] went to bed". Three years later, Top Gear legitimately were stoned by an angry mob in Patagonia and had to flee to the border.
    • 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.
    • In the DVD Special called "The Worst Car in the History of the World", Clarkson remarks to co-host James May that he would "rather have double pneumonia than drive a Vauxhall Vectra." In 2017, while in Mallorca, Clarkson came down with a nearly-fatal case of double pneumonia.
    • This sketch has Clarkson fail to prevent Chinese Stig from attacking the production crew.
  • 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.
    • 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 "duelling" 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" (Jeremy is most likely referencing the Tarnak Farm incident). 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 travelled in these two countries has been hit heavily by the Syrian Civil War and the rise of ISIS. In particular is the notice informing them they had "Left a country where there is no war [northern Iraq in 2011] for a country where there is war [Turkey]"
    • Given the controversies surrounding Amber Heard and the fallout of her toxic relationship with Johnny Depp, the interview with her becomes rather hard to watch.
    • 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 and Hammond and May subsequently left.
    • 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 allowed back to host. In fact, the assault that lost him the job took place when he got back to the hotel from that particular shoot.
    • There's a lot less fun looking back at the blind guy doing a test lap considering the two people he beat (Terry Wogan and Richard Whiteley) are both dead.
  • 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...
    • In the Winter Olympics special Hammond concludes (after a survival challenge pitting him against a car) that "if you want to drive to the North Pole, buy a Hammond". The next year, Clarkson and May would drive to the North Pole without Hammond. Hammond raced them on a dog sled and never actually made it all the way.
    • 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 
    • Top Gear Dog ended up being most unsuitable for the job, especially as she prone to being car sick, especially over May. According to former script editor Richard Porter, the idea of adding a dog to the show in the first place was May's.
    • A Double-whammy for the "Car Sauna" news segment in Series 13: Jeremy's act of dumping a bucket of cold, icy water predates the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; while James's statement "I know when I'm too hot." serves as one for Big Shaq's "Mans not Hot.
    • All the jokes about Richard and his nickname comes to fruition via Overwatch of all things, with the reveal of Wrecking Ball's pilot: A talking hamster named Hammond.
    • In 2015, The Guardian published a satirical article suggesting that Sabine Schmitz be hired as a presenter under the belief that she, as a woman and German, would cause the stereotypical Top Gear viewer (in the writer's mind a chauvinistic Briton brimming with pride over his country's triumph over the Nazis in World War II) to flee the show and lead to its cancellation. Schmitz would really be hired not long after the story was printed and cited as one of the bright spots that helped Top Gear survive the shaky Chris Evans-led era.
    • There’s also the fact that the hosts played football with cars before it was cool.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Some fans only watch the show for the antics, challenges, and road trip specials and don't really care about the legitimate car reviews.
  • 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 anyway...
    • The Toyota Hilux.
  • 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 and co.'s constant use of "Rubbish!" to be an Inherently Funny Word.
    • The term "flappy paddle gearbox" was invented by Top Gear.
    • James' statement about seeing a mother and child in the front seat while the father sits in the back seat: "You've given me the baby, now get in the back."
      • Followed by pointing to the camera and saying "No."
    • "This is brilliant, but I like this."
    • "Sometimes my genius is... it's almost frightening."
    • "The scope of my engineering genius literally knows no bounds."
    • "Look what you've done to MY BLOODY SHED MAN!"
    • "Oh no! Anyway..."
    • Jeremy getting Flapping Cheeks while driving the Ariel Atom has inspired a number of memes.
    • Bottom GearExplanation 
      • "Tonight on Bottom Gear..."Explanation 
  • More Popular Replacement: After season one concluded, presenter Jason Dawe left the programme and was replaced by James May. In part due to his longer tenure on the show and dynamic with Jeremy and Richard, James became immensely more popular than Dawe to the point where many people forget or never knew about Dawe's presence on the show at all.
  • Nausea Fuel: Just try not to be sickened by James May's terrible head injury in the Middle East special. The shot of the blood-covered rock is especially nauseating. He would have been dead if the rock he fell on had been a slightly different shape.
  • Periphery Demographic: Although this is a show for the petrolhead, many people who watch it 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.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Chris Evans (no, not that one) has not been well-received, being the target of a never-ending barrage of criticism from the moment rumors about his potential selection started to come up; come the actual show, and not a single episode would go by without droves of people criticizing his presentation style, in particular his extremely enthusiastic behaviuor. On the other hand, Matt Le Blanc was very well received with critics and viewers noting that he simply slipped into the presenting role as if he'd been doing it his entire life. Evans didn't last long with the show, announcing his departure in July 2016.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Boris Johnson appeared as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car in 2008, 11 years before he became the Prime Minister.
  • Sequel Displacement: The original, pre-2002 run of the show which lasted for well over 20 years has been completely eclipsed in pop cultural memory by its modern counterparts. The humour was subtler, snarkier and less pervasive, the pace was very slow, the roster of presenters was in constant flux and, most shockingly, the show was very much about cars. In many ways, the polar opposite of what gave the revival mass appeal. However, the show had its own successful niche, hence its longevity, and still has nostalgic fans. It helps that Clarkson and May made their television debuts in the original run.
  • Squick:
    • Several of the challenges have involved eating dubious items, like roadkill, snake or a BBC (beef, bovril and cinderblock) smoothie (a.k.a. the Bloody Awful, as James appropriately dubbed it).
    • 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.
  • The Woobie: Richard Hammond after his gigantic, near-fatal accident in the Vampire.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • As soon the first trailer of the replacement hosts was released on YouTube, the dislike bar alone could pretty much tell you that was how a lot of long time Clarkson, Hammond and May era fans felt about the change.
    • Averted by none other than James May himself, who often speaks in interviews about how he watches the new version of the show and thinks the newer hosts are doing a good job.
    • Yet again invoked for the Series 27 cast change: Rory Reid, who was already established as a firm favorite amongst the fans alongside Chris Harris, got downgraded to Extra Gear for some reason and replaced with Paddy McGuiness and Andrew Flintoff, both pretty obviously seen as desparate attempts to bring back ratings (McGuiness was the host of freaking Take me Out, for Pete's sake!). Whilst the two have significantly improved as hosts, few fans like them as much as Chris Harris.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Although the hosts who followed up Clarkson, Hammond, and May have generally been competent car journalists and/or well-known petrol heads, it's been agreed by everyone (including the former hosts) that anyone who came after them would have the shadow of them looming over their heads. While the ratings haven't been as high, and there has been some re-tooling and host shuffling, the new version has at least done well enough to stay on air.


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