The infamous presenter Jonathan Ross has his own spot in Top Gear history: he appeared in the first series of the show as we know it in 2002 (episode 1.05), and now he’s back almost ten years and exactly fifteen series later (episode 16.05). He’s not without wit and plenty of controversy, not unlike our three hosts. This ought to be interesting.
“Tonight, a fat man gets murdered, a donkey gets overtaken, and James wears ladies’ underwear on his head.” I told you this was going to be interesting. Suppose it’s too late to hope for a Law & Order: UK crossover to help with that first part…
The News segment is always entertaining, and this week’s is no exception. Jeremy tells us that Honda has apparently developed a hat that knows what your hair is thinking, and they believe that it translates neurological information, allowing you to drive a car. “What if you’ve had a hair transplant?” Hammond asks, unable to talk about this with a straight face. I can’t blame him at all.
We move from there into a feature on the new Cosworth, the name now plastered on the back of a Subaru, although Jeremy doesn’t think it’s really much of a Subaru anymore. He also loathes the huge amount of “turbo lag” and the price tag. More palatable to him is the Ford Focus RS, which outpaces a BMW M5 and which he calls “really well sorted.” You’d think that would be the end of the discussion, but he’s also brought out a Volvo PCP to join the fray, which he is even more enamored with, except for that it’s not a production car. Well, yeah, that is a sticking point.
Following the arrival of a letter, James goes to Albania to test out the new Rolls-Royce Ghost. He’s joined by Hammond with a Mercedes S-Class and Jeremy…who wanted a Bentley but only managed to get a Yugo. He maintains there’s little difference between the two, and proceeds to refer to the Yugo as if he’s reviewing the Bentley.
The terrain for their road test is not ideal. First it rains, then there’s no paved road, and later they reach a river crossing with a weak bridge. We’ve seen what happened the time they took tractors over a weak bridge, so they’re right to be worried. Thankfully, they survive and begin to make observations about aspects of Albanian culture, like the large number of potentially stolen vehicles. Needless to say this is not a film that whomever’s in charge of tourism for Albania will be recirculating.
It’s not long before Jeremy’s not-Bentley decides to overheat and then die, leading Hammond to say, “I think he could be a massive idiot.” Does this stop Jeremy from trying to salvage the situation? Of course not. He is eventually saved by a local mechanic and rejoins the team for their drive to, of all places, a disused submarine base, where he can’t help but poke around until he’s dragged away.
“Can I get a dead body in the boot?” he later asks, which demands a test; a large man is found to pose as a corpse, and the three of them struggle to get him into the trunk. They’re forced to ask him to load himself up, and it’s a painful experience to watch, let alone attempt. Jeremy sums it up best: “Nobody wants to see that.” I maintain it would be even more awesome were DS Ronnie Brooks and DS Matt Devlin to stumble upon these three middle-aged blokes trying to stuff a fourth into the trunks of various cars, but alas, wrong show.
This is followed by the obligatory drag race, except for that Jeremy cons his colleagues into thinking his Yugo needs a push to get off the line. Even with that, he still gets smoked by Hammond.
The final test, however, is one of those outrageous things that Top Gear is famous for. It’s a simulated bank robbery that makes them all look ridiculous. Jeremy steals Richard’s Mercedes, so Richard steals James’ Rolls-Royce, leaving James with no choice but to take the Yugo. Jeremy has to stop and ask for directions in his attempt to escape, they nearly hit a pedestrian, almost cause a car accident, and James apparently is killed when he goes off the road and down a mountain. Of course, that last part isn’t true, but it’s still fun to watch.
What’s the best car if you’re part of the Albanian mafia? According to Jeremy, it’s the Mercedes.
Star In A Reasonably Priced Car
Jonathan Ross’s appearance starts with references to Mexican’s and Tourette’s syndrome, and the use of some profanities that need to be bleeped out. That gives you an idea of how off the rails this interview is, as he and Jeremy argue over their mutual age and exercise before starting to fight like a pair of fourteen-year-old girls. Jeremy later calls Jonathan’s pink Ford Thunderbird “stupid,” and Jonathan insults Richard Hammond’s fashion sense. It’s basically the conversation equivalent of a melee, but if you’ve ever seen an episode of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on BBC America, you shouldn’t be surprised.
His lap time is 1:49, which is an improvement over his previous appearance, but he can’t manage to get himself out of the car. This is also not a surprise.
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(c)2011 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved.