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'Top Gear' 16.06 'Simon Pegg & Nick Frost' Review

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
March 1st, 2011 10:23am EST

Top GearJust in time for the release of their new film Paul, Top Gear brings us Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on the track. We also learn what's really lurking inside your used BMW. Plus, there's that favorite thing ever to be had on Top Gear: a caravan!

The Introduction

"Tonight, our track's a bit foggy, a man eats a snack, and we move about in a caravan." Uh-oh. If it involves caravans, this cannot be good (see: caravan racing, caravan holiday - either of them).

The Features

In the News segment, Jeremy digs up statistics that say speed cameras make no difference in preventing accidents. From this, the boys segue into how both he and James have been recently burgled, though not of anything they really care about. Then Jeremy brings up magpies ("Car show, Jeremy," Richard reminds him), which he doesn't like very much. "Kill all magpies and kill them now," he says emphatically, after poking fun at Richard for being superstitious.

We get to meet the McLaren MP4-12C (what a name), which James compares to the Ferrari 458 but seems keen on. When Richard brings up the Pagani Zonda, Jeremy sees this as a perfect transition to a film about the history of the Zonda, introducing us to the Zonda R, which he calls "the most confusing." It looks like a racer, but doesn't meet the requirements to be one, and will get you stopped by the police on the road, so what can you do with it? If you're Jeremy, you drive it on the Top Gear track and make so much noise that you have to shout into a headset just to be heard over its roar. He calls it "brilliant but also completely useless."

After that comes a Zonda Tricolore, which is supposed to be the quieter version of the R. At least this time he doesn't have to wear a separate microphone to be heard. He gets a little sniffly as he notes that this is supposed to be the last Zonda, and predictably drives it off into the sunset.

Then he finds out it's not the last after all. D'oh!

The Challenge

The boys are told to buy cheap convertibles for - what else - a number of challenges. Hammond buys a BMW 325, Jeremy gets himself the same thing (only more expensive), and James...gets the same thing. Well, this is going to be interesting.

Hammond's car won't start, so Jeremy and James abandon him to the shrill sounds of its alarm and go off to race theirs. At the end of their race, Jeremy's brakes decide to revolt. So in other words, this is standard fare for this show - lots of stuff breaking.

But it gets worse: the guys decide to take their cars to a lab and see what's inside. If you've ever seen one of those TV news features about hotel rooms, you can guess. Jeremy's is relatively innocuous, but James's car has lots of mucus, and Richard's has some tape with blood on it, as well as some...bodily fluids, leading Jeremy to characterize his BMW as "a Moroccan prison."

After that fun reveal, the next test is to see how "thief-proof" their cars are. Richard's doesn't stand a chance (although at least the alarm goes off...after it's already been broken into), but the other two thieves can't manage to get out of the parking lot. Poor Hammond isn't doing so well.

The team next tries to match The Stig's lap time in a current BMW with their older ones - all at the same time, in the rain. As you can imagine, insults ensue while they flail about. James drives off the track, Hammond goes sideways, and Jeremy overheats. None of them come close to beating The Stig.

After that, James sucks helium to prove that his car doesn't have any leaks in its seals. Jeremy sounds like the most ridiculous Smurf ever. Predictably, Hammond does not, because his car fails again. There is far less of this particular portion than I would like.

Their cars are then evaluated to see how much it would cost to put them into showroom condition, and this time it's Jeremy who comes a distant last, at eleven thousand pounds.

With all that nonsense behind them, Team Top Gear decides the only feasible thing left to do with their aging BMW's is to become stunt drivers. James somehow ends up in charge, and makes this much more complicated than it actually is. This only leads the boys to embarrass themselves at the Essex County Fair, where they try to practice their routine in the back of a caravan that, sadly, does not blow up. Calling themselves "the Dukes of Harlow," with Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" trickling out over the loudspeakers, they manage to drive into each other and get stuck there.

At the end of the day, James wins, while Jeremy is -11,293.1 and Richard flounders at -11,549.6. Wow. That's some math there.

Star In A Reasonably Priced Car

Apparently, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost bonded over Star Wars. Jeremy wants to know if they met any crazy people while making Paul, their new movie which involves an alien and two hapless humans in an RV. Simon confides that Tom Cruise (his Mission: Impossible IV costar) still talks about appearing on the show last series.

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When it comes to the laps, we get Simon making up words in order not to swear on TV, and Nick nearly rolling the car as it skids across the grass. Simon (in his second appearance on the show) beats his previous time of 1:48:5 with a 1:44:9, while Nick clocks in at 1:44:5, and looks like he might faint in shock when Jeremy tells him that.

All in all, it's just another week of mayhem on Top Gear.

For more Top Gear, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.

Photo Credits: BBC; , Universal Pictures