So this weekend while all of our readers were hungover and blacked out Saturday morning at 7:00am, I was heading to Orange County to see the filming of Top Gear USA Episode 1 in the studio. My story could have some minor spoiler alerts, so if your not interested in reading about what is in the first episode you probably just want to close this right now.
I know all of our readers are familiar with Tanner Foust, but Rutledge Wood is the real star of the show. In full disclosure, I have known him for a good 10 years loosely between local car shows and a forum we both posted on back in the day when cool people still did that. I know most of you are going to discredit him since currently he does NASCAR hosting (Go #18), but he is the key piece to the show. His witty comments on/off camera during the show were for the ages. In fact, he even calls the British liars while driving a DB9 over something on the car which might of been the best clip of the show.
The set itself was impressive and structured in a very similar fashion to the BBC show. The set is elaborate (a little small however) and gives you a Top Gear welcome when you step inside. I came into the show with a low expectation like I think most of the people waiting for the show to come out have. After watching Episode 1, the cinematography and production are awesome. The show has a Top Gear “style or flair” to it without trying to be the BBC show, allowing you to respect and enjoy it.
It did seem, however, that when the other hosts were doing a car review, that Tanner Foust was doing the driving. I have no hard evidence that this was the case and I am sure they do this at times on the BBC UK show but it didn’t seem to be smooth or transition well in the Aston Martin piece we watched.
*POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE DOWN*
They do a drifting competition where they determine they cannot beat Tanner Foust. So they alter the rules so they think have a chance to beat Tanner. This drifting segment is shot with the Nissan 370z at Willow Springs. They even do a nice segment on drifting before the piece starts, talking about Tanner Foust’s history as a pro drifter and showing highlights from his Mulholland Drive video which you can see by clicking here.
The second scene I really loved involves Tanner Foust driving a Dodge Viper recklessly around a city in Georgia in a video game style/format skit. The genuine fear in Rutledge Wood’s voice/eyes really makes the skit because he looked scared out of his mind. If it was all in the name of “acting” then he deserves at least a razzi for his performance or whatever lame TV awards you can win.
I went into this taping as a normal bystander and I certainly didn’t read any of the paperwork BBC Worldwide made me sign before entering the venue so hopefully this post will be up for a long time. In the possible event the BBC doesn’t appreciate my viewpoints or over-sharing, I recommend right now you post this everywhere to really give the compliance department a headache and a half. If you really love us you can even link back to our story. So with that being said, nobody paid me or no deal was struck that I have to give the show good press. The show is good and someone on the staff told me it will hit the History Channel on November 29th. It looks like a Monday Night Prime time show, which puzzles me a bit, but who really likes NFL Football anyway?