However, there’s following a script as a guideline to how an episode should flow, and then there’s creating a script so chock full of absurdity that it’s clear we’re watching something that isn’t “just happening.”
For this Throwback Thursday, we look at the ambulance episode from Series 22 (Episode 3). This episode always sticks out as one where it was so blindingly obviously that it’s scripted, yet the boys just didn’t care and ran with it. Case in point, James’ “ecnalubma” banner across the front.
That’s not to say there weren’t funny moments in the episode, though. If anything the boys are comedic geniuses, scripted or not, and they are always able to get a laugh out of me even when resorting to the most sophomoric of humor. See Jeremy in the video below:
I’m certain the boys knew what to expect, but come one, it was hilarious nonetheless watching vomit and blood spray everywhere and Jeremy’s shellshocked expression at having a mannequin penis millimeters away from his face. Perhaps my favorite moment from the episode is when James’ hearse tailgate took forever to shut, then immediately flew back open and shattered upon hitting the ground.
The race following the test track portion took the absurdity up a notch, especially with Richard’s patient delivery system that consisted of a cannon. As expected, each host drove their patient to the “hospital” in the exact manner you would expect them to:
As funny as this episode was, I think this was the beginning of the end. I wouldn’t necessarily call this one the nail in the coffin, but by Series 22 of Top Gear the complaints had already started. Jump on any online forum at the time and you would have been met with “the show is too scripted, it’s not funny anymore, they’re out of ideas, etc.”
Sure Jeremy’s steak punching incident is what brought the whole tower tumbling down, but by this point in the show, there were already rumors online of the show not being able to continue for much longer. Add a heaping of controversy on top of that, and it was clear that this whole thing was just a time bomb ready to go off.
Perhaps then, the punching incident was exactly what the boys needed?