British Broadcasting Company. Bonehead Banana Clusters. Buncha Bloody Cuuuuuuh… you get the idea.
Big news in television as popular Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson was told his unique set of motoring skills were no longer needed after the result of a fracas with a producer during filming on location. This managed to piss off about 97% of the people who watch that show, including me, because Top Gear without Clarkson is like, well, Top Gear without Clarkson. Top Gear started off in 1977 (just like me) and ran until 2000, with Clarkson joining the cast from 1988-2001 until the bottom dropped out and half the audience stopped watching in 2000 leading to the cancellation in late 2001. It was noted for its humor, controversy, and chest thumping man-isms, but somehow lost it’s audience when many of the presenters left and one guy was arrested for drunk driving. In 2002, the ever popular reboot option bore itself, and this time a rotisserie of presenters was narrowed down to Clarkson again, James May (starting from season 2), and Richard Hammond. The Orangutan, Captain Slow, and the Hamster. The Three Musketeers of Motoring. While not an overly big fan of British Television, it was hard not to like these guys. The segments were as comical as they were informing, and watching those three compete in whatever they could wrap their grubby little hands around was always entertaining. It was also noted for its humor, controversy, and chest thumping man-isms.
And Clarkson being Clarkson, somehow managed to piss off just about everyone who was capable of displaying outrage over something, like the time he
- pissed off the entire country of Argentina for making light of the 1982 Falklands war
- pissed off the entire country of India for making comments about everything
- pissed off an entire legion of anti drunk driving advocates for having a spot of liquor while in a truck… that was currently driving in the arctic and not another vehicle around for miles
- pissed off Germany, like that’s fucking hard to do
- pissed off just about everyone else for his “extended vocabulary” in terms of minorities, gays, and really, just about anything else with a pulse.
Needless to say, Clarkson had been reprimanded several times about his behavior, and was even told from the BBC is he made another derogatory term in a broadcast, he would be out on a rail. And early on this month, Clarkson did indeed get his walking papers because he got into his well noted “fracas” (I love that word) with a producer and resulted in said producer needing medical treatment for his now bloody lip. At first the BBC suspended Clarkson, and later on announced they would not renew his contract and cancelled the two remaining episodes of Top Gear.
This naturally resulted in the above mentioned outrage.
Now before the 9 people who actually read this start flooding me with hate mail or start an 800 long comment thread on facebook, understand this. He got fired, and for a justifiable reason. There is no argument from me on this. Everyone that had an opinion on this either said this was a bad move, or they didn’t really give a flying fat baby’s ass because “if I would have punched a coworker, they would have canned my ass too.” There is a reason for that viewpoint – because you are easily replaceable. Hell, at my current job, my bosses are actually SURPRISED I haven’t punched someone already. But that is neither here nor there, the fact is, most of the people who applauded this were not employed by a major television company and risked the loss of millions of revenue by betting on the audience accepting someone else in that spot. Anyone can do your job, so start swinging like a blind boxer and see how fast your ass gets replaced. I accept the reason behind the BBC’s choice to sever ties with a routine offender. They either do nothing and keep going, giving the public the opinion that Clarkson has the ability to do or say whatever he wants without repercussion, or they anger everyone by letting him go. They chose the latter, and the backlash was immediate. For me, it wasn’t the fact that Top Gear would be minus that big oaf who once called the Dodge Viper rubbish, it was because Hammond and May said “well, if he goes, we aren’t coming back.”
The vague threat of “you can’t afford to lose the three of us.” And it seems like they made good on their threat because every single one of them now refers to themselves as “a former Top Gear presenter.” No dick move goes unmeasured.
Without Clarkson, May, and Hammond, who the fuck is going to watch this show? No one. Who can take their places and make the program watchable? No one. I had heard there was an 18 YEAR waiting list to be in the audience for that show, and I think they have whittled that time down to about 5-6 minutes, tops. Whatever direction they want to go, will it be entertaining? It might have it’s spots, but everyone who watches it will always consider it to be a second rate job. No one will be able to announce The Stig the same way, and if it’s true that those other 2 yahoos have in fact left the show as well, no more Captain Slow bitching about the Nurburgring, no more Hamster getting his complete ass kicked in every team competition. The show itself is going to suck total donkey balls and no one can tell me otherwise. Allowing the remaining hosts to just walk away means that the BBC has just killed the only reason I watched regular TV in the first place.
“Top Gear will continue without Clarkson.”
No the fuck it won’t.
Have at thee, BBC.