Sunday, July 22, 2012

Top Gear US Season 2 Episode 9 "Big Rigs"

On this episode of Top Gear US, the presenters learn how to drive big rigs and learn the dangers of driving big rigs and Edward Burns is this week's guest for Big Star, Small Car.

Segment 1: Big Rig Competition Introduction and First Challenge

1989 Peterbilt 379
Volvo VT 880
Volvo VNL 760
This episode deals with driving big rigs. The presenters arrive and show off their big rigs. Tanner got a 1989 Peterbilt 379. Adam and Rutledge each got Volvo big rigs. Rutledge got a 2006 Volvo VT 880. Adam got a Volvo VNL 760. The guys get their first challenge. The guys must drive 100 feet in their rigs and the reverse back into their parking space. First to complete wins. Rutledge confesses that his friend Lunchbox let Rutledge drive his rig before. Adam questions that Rutledge has a friend named Lunchbox. The guys get trucker nicknames. Rutledge is the "Bearded Lady." Adam is "Mother Trucker." Tanner is "Tiny Dancer." The guys get into their trucks. Adam is worried since he has never driven a big rig before. The guys set off and Rutledge is the first to take off. Adam sets off next. Tanner is the last to get his rig going. Tanner passes Adam. Rutledge is the first to hit 100 feet and stalls. He gets his truck going in reverse right before Tanner reaches 100 feet. Adam and Tanner get their rigs in reverse. Rutledge makes it back to his parking spot and wins the first challenge. Tanner finishes in second. As Adam is approaching the parking spot, he starts heading towards Tanner. Tanner honks and Adam gives Tanner the finger. Adam finishes in last place.

Segment 2: 15% Incline Start Challenge

For the second challenge, the guys have their rigs attached to trailers and must drive forwards from a standing stop. The guy with the least rollback wins. To raise the stakes, each presenter must put three items behind the trailers. The guys put up their glasses, watches, and phones. Rutledge is the first to go and he has difficulties seeing without his glasses. He sets off and does it without any rollback. Tanner goes next and as the other two are placing Tanner's items behind the trailer, they go through Tanner's contact list and list of all the ladies in Tanner's contact list and Bruce. The item list goes from closest to furthest watch, glasses, phone, but Adam and Rutledge put the phone first, glasses second, and watch third. Tanner sets off and does not rollback onto any of his items, but Adam and Rutledge destroy Tanner's phone. Adam and Rutledge do a spit oath that they would not rat each other out to Tanner. Back at the hanger, Tanner questions Adam and Rutledge. Rutledge says it was Adam's idea and Adam says that Rutledge stepped on Tanner's phone. Adam is last to go and asks if his items are in the right order. Tanner says yes. Adams asks "Why should I believe you?" Tanner has no response. Adam moves a little bit and stalls. Tanner takes Adam's items and puts it in front of tires on the trailer. Adam gets up the hill, stalls, and rolls back. Tanner and Rutledge jump onto the grass to get out of the way. Rutledge wins the second challenge, even though Tanner did not hit any of his items. 

Segment 3: 3 Lap Race

The third challenge involves completing 3 laps around an oval track. This is to simulate driving a big rig in 2 lane traffic. Tanner comes from third place, passes both Adam and Rutledge to win the challenge. Rutledge says that Tanner has won in speed and Tanner has won in speed. Adam has finish in third place for all three challenges. There is still one challenge left.

Segment 4: Cargo Delivery Intro

For the fourth and final challenge, the guys must deliver precious cargo on a 40 mile route without damaging the cargo. Whoever still has his cargo in one piece wins. In Adam's trailer, there is a piano, bowling balls, a open paint cans on shelves. In Tanner's trailer, there is dinner table set for 10 people and chandeliers. In Rutledge's trailer, there are open barbecue grills that are lit and fireworks. The guys start off the challenge driving slowly. The guys drive over a speed bump before hitting the open road. At the guys keep driving, the cameras show the inside of the trailers. Adam's cargo is just moving about. The guys approach a round-about and a car cuts Adam off. Tanner makes a right turn and hits a car, and a few glasses and bottles of wine break. The guys hit the freeway. Adam gets on the freeway the cameras show Adam's cargo colliding inside the trailer.

Segment 5: Edward Burns in a Suzuki.

Edward Burns

This episode's celebrity is Edward Burns, who was in Saving Private Ryan and Newlyweds. This is his first time on a track. He does his lap and drives into the Top Gear US hanger. Ed and his neighbors would ride their bikes around the neighborhood to check out muscle cars. His first car after The Brothers McMullen was a Oldsmobile Cutlass. Edward's time is 1:46.7, 0.1 seconds behind Ty Burrell, who had a wet lap.

Segment 6: Big Rig Competition Finale.

The show returns to the highway as the three presenters are driving the big rigs with precious cargo. Rutledge's trailer is smoking. He opens up his trailer's doors, and fireworks burst out of the trailer as the American national anthem is being played. Firefighters arrive and put out the fire. All the presenters yell "America." As Tanner drives over the train tracks, shattered glass could be heard from the trailer. The guys arrive at the drop off point. Tanner opens up his trailer doors and most of his cargo is still in tact. Adam opens up his trailer doors and all of his cargo is on the floor. Rutledge opens up his trailer doors and more fireworks go off. Tanner wins the final challenge. Rutledge and Tanner each won two challenges and the competition ends in a tie.

Overall, this was an entertaining episode, especially the final challenge. Seeing fireworks go off in the back of the trailer was a huge plus. The chemistry and interaction among the three presenters was very good. Still, Top Gear UK did a big rig episode and had the big rig driving version of the Stig drift a big rig. That should have been done in this episode. This episode was very similar to the UK episode. The presenters had to do drive their big rigs up an incline without backing into an object, race around and oval, and drive precious cargo a certain amount of miles. Jeremy Clackson of Top Gear UK set his trailer on fire by having a haystack hit an open fire in his trailer. Rutledge had fireworks go off in his trailer. I give the advantage to Rutledge over Clarkson. I did not care for this episode's guest. On the next episode of Top Gear US, it is all about muscle cars.

Final Verdict, 9 Stigs out of 10. It was an entertaining episode, but Top Gear UK did a big rig challenge during Series 12, Episode 1. The challenges were entertaining, the interaction among the presents was excellent, the fireworks were great. But I cannot give this episode 10 Stigs since most of the challenges were taken from Top Gear UK's big rig episode.

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