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Top Gear

Image Credit: Courtesy of BBC Worldwide

One last drive for History's 'Top Gear'

Top Gear has come to the end of the road. History has canceled the U.S. version of the hit motoring show — after 72 episodes, dozens of broken cars, and most importantly, countless unbelievable memories.

When Top Gear first began on November 21, 2010, it had a lot to live up to. It had to follow in the footsteps of the iconic U.K. version and spent its first few seasons having to reuse challenges from that series. Fans were skeptical that it would live up to the original; I should know because I was one of them. When the idea came across my desk to do a set visit for Top Gear U.S. in its second season, I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to do.

But I’m glad I did, because Top Gear was the car show America deserved.

Once it was able to strike out in its own direction, the series found its own identity and never looked back. Adam Ferrara, Rutledge Wood, and Tanner Foust each represented part of what it meant to be a gearhead in this country. Adam was the adventurous guy who wanted to do something crazy; Rutledge was the down-to-earth dude who could find joy in everything from an expensive supercar to an old clunker; Tanner was the high-speed racing driver we all wished we could be. And every week they took us along for the ride.

There are so many Top Gear moments we’ll never forget. There was Adam pushing a car off a cliff to see if it could fly. Putting a flamethrower on a school bus and a catapult on the roof of a Camry. Missing car parts, busted body parts, practical jokes. And the cheating — always, always the cheating. Just when you thought you had them figured out, one of the hosts would go and do something like this:

Top Gear was about celebrating cars and car culture by enabling everything possible and much of the impossible, and TGUS did that in spades. As fantastic as it was to watch the U.K. show, we needed one for our country — to make our own crazed history. The last five-plus years gave us adventures in Alaska, Death Valley, Sturgis, and on the Rubicon Trail, and the series finale will take us to Cuba. Adam, Tanner, and Rutledge might have started out having to copy their predecessors, but that was never their mission. Their mission was to make us excited about American cars again, and they undoubtedly did that.

We spent so much time comparing them to what we thought they should be that we didn’t always appreciate what we had. The hosting trio had their own familial chemistry, like brothers who were all missing the same self-preservation instinct. They were never short of a zinger, whether it was recognizing the inherent strangeness of their jobs (“What a weird-ass thing to be doing on a Tuesday”) or taking potshots at one another (hello, Paul Blart: Mall Cop jokes). But they weren’t trying to be funny for TV; they were naturally hilarious and always a little bit awed that they got paid to do this for a living.

And they welcomed us as part of the family. Top Gear has built its own community not only for car enthusiasts, but couples, families, and TV fans. It’s not simply talking about the show, but asking questions, getting answers, and sharing all of our own most memorable stories.

Many of mine have come from Top Gear. Since that first visit four years ago, I’ve gotten to stand next to Adam as he destroys watermelons, ride shotgun with Tanner in a Formula Drift car that scared the heck out of me, and watch Rutledge win the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Along the way these fantastic and talented gentlemen have become three of my best friends. They’ve seen me through big victories and terrible defeats and been my shoulders to lean on, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for any of them. But the most important thing they’ve given me is my sense of adventure.

Thanks to Top Gear, I’ve seen and done and laughed my way through things I never would have imagined. I’ve learned that cars can fly, food trucks can drift, the Flatiron Building can be put on top of a Buick and IV stands can be used to dispense beverages. Because of this show I don’t ask “why,” I ask “why not,” and I know I’m not alone in that.

Top Gear was a car show, but it was also something more. It was an exercise in what you can do when you love something and your passion is enabled by the budget of a network. Adam, Tanner, and Rutledge got us excited about cars, but they also got our engines going about life. Without them, the TV world will be a lot more boring. But wherever they go next, adventure — and many of us — are sure to follow.

Top Gear airs its series finale Tuesday at 10 p.m. on History.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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