Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Is a Travesty
I have a lot of non-car-enthusiast friends. When conversation moves to my work at TTAC, one of the most common responses I get is, “I’m not all that into cars, but I love Top Gear.” To which my answer is usually, “Well, you should check out TTAC because you might develop a new-found appreciation for our four-wheeled friends.” But, self-promotion aside, Top Gear may be the best thing to happen to cars since the development of the V8. The British show has simply refined the formula for pro-car propaganda to perfection. Which is why The Jay Leno Show‘s “Green Car Challenge” is so galling. The segment manages to completely rip off Top Gear‘s “Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car” segment, while leaving out all of its most compelling elements. Top Gear‘s race takes place around a real track (developed by Lotus no less), making its results a compelling measure of celebrity racing ability. Plus, its use of truly pedestrian vehicles never smacks of product placement and provides an entertaining counterpoint to the pervasive images of celebrities in the latest, hottest whips. In contrast, Leno’s track is a pathetic excuse for a raceway, his car is a shameless plug for Ford and the whole spectacle is coated in an unnecessary layer of gimmickry resulting in wholly uncompelling results like this latest Rush Limbaugh-piloted run. Leno may be the closest thing America has to a Jeremy Clarkson, but his Green Car Challenge is an unmitigated travesty that does great dishonor to the comparison. Thumbs down.
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