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'Top Gear' (US) Recap: Building (And Destroying) Limos

Brittany Frederick Brittany Frederick
March 20th, 2012 10:02pm EDT

This week on History's Top Gear, Adam, Tanner and Rutledge try to go high-class when they build limos for the Emmy Awards, and fail miserably while we laugh at their pain. Yes, it's another week on Top Gear.

Top Gear

Tanner's limo is based on a 1987 Corvette, because he wants his creation to be "all about performance" and "able to do a burnout." Yep, that's Tanner. Unsurprisingly, it's bright red and only slightly less of an eyesore than Jeremy Clarkson's attempt at a limo. Rutledge calls it "a rolling sauna of exhaust fumes."

Rutledge picks a 1981 VW Rabbit pickup, which he calls "one of my favorite cars ever." You'll remember that it was also his first car, and that it got obliterated previously on this show. He wants to make a "blue-collar" limo, which is so very Rutledge. The end result looks like the big green thing Richard Hammond came up with on the UK show, and has the dual-drive capacity that James May put together for his Alfa/Saab hybrid.

Let's recall that Adam is a working actor who was on an Emmy-nominated series (Rescue Me), so he should have some knowledge of what he's driving into, right? He rolls up in a 1969 Lincoln. The Bentley last week, the Lincoln this week...Adam's got a little classic style, doesn't he? The end result looks like, as Rutledge calls it, a "Popemobile." None of these creations are going to be in an art museum any time soon.

But before we get to celebrity embarrassment, there are some challenges, starting with (you guessed it) a race. Rutledge gets left in the dust pretty early, and Tanner finds out his big red machine has a horrible turning radius. After that, the guys are forced to try to make martinis in the back of their own vehicles, while the Stig drives them around the track. This is a recipe for disaster, pun intended. Somehow (and I'd love to know how), Adam makes three martinis in one lap. Tanner gets a back problem. Rutledge avoids throwing up, which is an accomplishment for him.

Can these limos handle an obstacle course? Of course not, but that's exactly the reason to subject them to one! Rutledge redeems himself as his proves to be pretty maneuverable. Tanner's nightmare continues as he can't parallel park, he dismembers his passenger and kills a few paparazzi. Adam's Popemobile gets involved in an early traffic collision and doesn't even finish.

With that, it's time to unleash these on the rest of the world. Adam is tasked with picking up Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope), while Rutledge gets Extra's Terri Seymour, and Tanner has Dancing With The Stars judge Bruno Tonioli, who chastizes him for not dressing up, among other things. As you can imagine, none of the celebs are particularly impressed with their rides, or their drivers. Rutledge drives the wrong way on a one-way street, and Adam and Cloris end up in a really bad neighborhood before he blows a tire and she flips him off. The only survivor of this whole insanity is Tanner, who just barely gets Bruno to the awards in time.

This week's Big Star, Small Car is Stephen Moyer, who will always be Jack Beresford from Ultraviolet to me, but you might know him from a little show called True Blood. He's apparently wrecked almost every car he's owned, and is much more hilarious than his TV alter-ego. Stephen clocks in at 1:39.3, which makes him the new leader on the Top Gear board.

Yes, this concept is lifted from Top Gear UK, series 9 episode 6, where the presenters built limos to take celebs to the Brit Awards. There's no denying that. The similarity is a little more striking this week because the US limos also bear a strong resemblance to the UK ones. But I'm not too bothered considering that I was still entertained. We all knew it was the same scenario and it was going to end just as badly (because who wants to watch a show where it doesn't?), but the fun was in figuring out how it was going to go wrong. We didn't see Rutledge with a phone taped to his face, but we did get to see Tanner almost take a tennis ball to the groin. It's still a hilarious show, even if it's familiar.

Hold your breath next week, folks, as Rutledge takes over the show and gets himself in some serious trouble. For a hint, check out my behind-the-scenes interview where we talked about what you're going to see next.

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: History


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