29 Jul 2013

Everything I Touch Is Homoerotic Subtext - Even Top Gear

I am not ashamed to say that I have always loved Top Gear. My family will very happily settle in front of the telly whenever it's on, slowly falling asleep during any bits that are actually about cars, and then instantly perking up whenever an adventure is started. I'm pretty sure we're not the only one's like this. I don't know a single person who watches Top Gear for the cars. I know about three people who know what the words 'traction', 'horsepower' and 'torque' mean in context, and I'm not one of them. However, I know about a million billion people (roughly) who can cheerfully jump start a conversation with "Remember when Clarkson crossed the channel in a flat bed truck? Ahh, I thought they were gonners that time."

Despite the general Top Gear-y love most people in England seem to share, almost every conversation about the show goes one of two ways. A) "I liked the time they raced a train through France." or B) "Clarkson's a prick, and they're just a group of offensive old men dicking* about." The second one seems to come up rather a lot these days, usually on Radio 4 - or more accurately The News Quiz, a show so daringly middle class it makes me laugh and wince at the same time. And fair enough, there's a possibility that James May and Richard Hammond do actually know what it's like living in the actual world, but the majority of the time anything either of them may have to say is drowned out by the dulcet tones of Clarkson, spouting rubbish about anyone who has a vagina, a copy of the Guardian, a different skin tone, appearance or opinion to him. 

However, after a while, and a fair bit of squinting, it does slowly become apparent that Clarkson may be a troll - spouting total and utter nonsense just to get a rise out of anyone and anything he can. But once you've squinted at him for that long, it becomes quite hard to stop. And then you squint some more, and it suddenly becomes remarkably clear that Top Gear is possibly the most remarkably homoerotic program that can be put on in front of a UKIP supporter without them noticing.  

At the end of the day, it boils down to being a show about three grown men giggling together in sheds. The go on holiday together, and buy each other presents. They drive around lovely scenery together, and if placed in one car  they usually end up in each others laps. Most of the show is seeing how many times they can say the word 'penis' without getting told off by the BBC, and if The Stig (a man not allowed to talk, move of his own accord or take off his dark mask) isn't a little but kinky, I don't know what is. 

When the show first started, it was an actual car show. Viewers wanted to know about motoring, how good the new VW was, and how quickly can that chap from Mock The Week go around a race track. Not so much any more. Where the three boys used to bicker about anything going, and be needlessly cruel, the majority of the joy from Top Gear now comes from watching them cheekily grin at each other when they make silly little jokes, or nudge each other when they get something wrong, and over react to the full extent of the script. 

So you go Top Gear. I'm proud of you. Over the years you've managed to tone down Clarkson, make James May cool, and slowly drip feed the gayest friendship after Holmes and Watson to some of the most hardcore right-wingers in the UK. I'm proud.

Point made.

*According to my spell check, 'dicking' isn't a word. I don't care spell check, it's three am and I just had to silently make a sandwich in  dark room. I'll improvise with my swearing if I want to.

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