Thursday, May 14, 2009

Love Letter to a TV Show

There are many unexpected pleasures in a marriage; some even make you laugh. I’ve had the good fortune to experience one that makes me almost pee my pants laughing.

About six months after the wedding, after selling my house and moving and incorporating my stuff into inadequate closet space, I noticed that my Indian gearhead husband was frequently watching TV, and that often, he was watching shows about cars. Blech, I thought, and blech again.

He kept urging me to sit down and watch with him. Blech once more, I thought, even though I had noticed by this point he laughed a lot at one particular car show. I continued with my important tasks, organizing my sock drawer, deciding where to put my dental floss and so forth.
Eventually I gave in, sat down, and experienced the unparalleled entertainment that is Top Gear. It’s a BBC show wherein the three hosts test fancy cars, make celebrities race around a track in a crappy car to see who will be fastest (Simon Cowell was, for a long time), and undergo car-based challenges.

The most stunning challenge didn’t involve cars at all; the producers sent them to Vietnam, gave them enormous boxes full of money, told them to buy a vehicle with it, and left them to figure out that the only thing they could afford would be a moped or ancient motorcycle. Then they had them drive, on the bikes, from Saigon to Hanoi. Finally, they issued a cruel edict: if the bikes became unrideable, they would have to finish the journey on an American-flag-bedecked motorcycle blaring “Born in the USA.”

It sounds silly, and it is, but it also contained some of the most gorgeously simple anti-war statements I’ve ever seen. Richard Hammond narrating the story of a man on a beach who survived an air assault there and consequently lost his hearing, while the man scratched the story in the sand. A B-52 left to rot in a canal because that’s where it crashed and nobody had bothered to move it. All three men rendered speechless by bullet holes in an ancient monument, and then again by the raw beauty of a valley view.

Here’s a clip from the episode. You’re welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Heidi! I love Top Gear. I first saw it January 2008 when I was in London visiting my ex. We watched a ka-billion episodes because it's always on! The hosts are brilliant and hilarious.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.