Matt LeBlanc is new Top Gear Presenter
February 4, 2016 8:22 AM   Subscribe

 
Oh Jesus, why hath thou forsaken me?

Chris Harris, David Coulthhard/Jenson Button and Rowan Atkinson, or GTFO.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:25 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I wonder if he will get car sick too.
posted by ryanrs at 8:28 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


No one told me it was gonna be this way!
posted by leotrotsky at 8:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


As noted in the article, he holds the record for Star in a Reasonably Priced Car via the Kia Cee'd. It's not a horrible choice.
posted by Etrigan at 8:31 AM on February 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


Mel Blanc? I heard he was dead...
posted by mikelieman at 8:32 AM on February 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


The question is: Will the new presenters become friends with each other? And will they be funny? Because the other Top Gear versions that I've tried to watch didn't seem to understand that that was the most important aspect of the show: Friends, with great senses of humor, doing what they love.
posted by I-baLL at 8:33 AM on February 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


You said BBC right? Are you sure that is the former Friends star and not the former championship Grand Prix driver? Because if ever there should be two famous people named Matt LeBlanc where one of them knows about cars and is supposed to be entertaining to watch, this would be the time.

And to stop you all from looking, to my knowledge there is no Matt LeBlanc that races in the Grand Prix.


Can't the UK like ban his passport or something, maybe declare him a terrorist for his crimes against television viewing or something? What legally does the UK need to do to stop it?
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:33 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


No one told me it was gonna be this way!

It's like he's always stuck in ...

... fuck it, no, I can't do this.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2016 [49 favorites]


he holds the record for Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Oh, I had missed that. Yeah, 1:42.1 in the Kia is pretty great.

But what's this about Sabine Schmitz not presenting?
posted by ryanrs at 8:35 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ehhhhh. I think they're really missing the appeal of the prior show, whatever you think about it. It was at least 2 out of 3 frumpy, silly print journalists who had no business being in front of a camera and that made an incredibly artificial show feel genuine. If it's just airbrushed humanoids you can count me out.

Also Chris Harris or GTFO. But if they're only casting one more person I'd almost rather it be a woman.
posted by selfnoise at 8:35 AM on February 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


He's actually very funny in the quite good UK series Episodes, but then I'd watch that solely for Tamsin Greig and Stephan Mangan so...*shrugs*.
posted by Kitteh at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


It's easy to think of Matt LeBlanc as the former star Friends but I think of him as the current star of Episodes (with British people, too, so he's got experience!) and he is FANTASTIC. We have the same ringtone!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


I should clarify that I don't dislike Matt LeBlanc, I just feel the chances of this show being something I enjoy slipping away.
posted by selfnoise at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2016


"Welcome to Top Gear ... How you doin?"
posted by octobersurprise at 8:38 AM on February 4, 2016 [26 favorites]


Will the new presenters become friends with each other? And will they be funny? Because the other Top Gear versions that I've tried to watch didn't seem to understand that that was the most important aspect of the show: Friends, with great senses of humor, doing what they love.

Oh, gods, this!
The lack of any sort of genuine camaraderie is exactly what sunk the US Top Gear. Actors playing characters with pre-fabbed "personalities". It was a horror to try and watch. Absolutely no chemistry whatsoever.

I'd give LeBlanc a chance with this. He's amiable enough.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Perhaps they can find out why he's always stuck in second gear.
posted by sobarel at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2016 [100 favorites]


He's actually very funny in the quite good UK series Episodes, but then I'd watch that solely for Tamsin Greig and Stephan Mangan so...*shrugs*.

Yup! I wasn't hugely looking forward to him and I was mostly watching for them but he was GREAT! Seriously, absolutely fantastic. I think there's some (understandable) knee jerk anti-Matt LeBlanc sentiment but like being on Friends made him a ton of money and he was an actor playing a character so it's not like if you dislike Friends it means every actor on it is incapable of being good at anything.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Perhaps they can find out why he's always stuck in second gear.
*slow clap*
posted by entropicamericana at 8:41 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Perhaps they can find out why he's always stuck in second gear

Flagged: fantastic.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:42 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I agree that they seem to be missing what was entertaining about the previous hosts. I could give fuckall about cars, but I liked listening to people affectionately bicker and mess with each other. There was a sort of Three Stooges type of hierarchy to the hosts with just enough volatility that you'd never know when the tables would turn.

I can't see LeBlanc signing up to be a Larry. I don't think I would respond in a similar way to two people ganging up on a female presenter the way Clarkson and Hammond did to May. Or the infrequent, glorious glee when the odious Clarkson would get his comeuppance.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:47 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Friends, with great senses of humor, doing what they love.

Pranking one another.
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah he's great in 'Episodes' as is (may the gods preserve her and keep her hair luxuriant) Tamsin Grieg.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:53 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Chris Harris sent an email saying he was closing his Patreon account this morning. Moving on to something else.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:55 AM on February 4, 2016


Have they checked that he's actually uncircumcised?
posted by maxsparber at 9:14 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


...with great senses of humor...

Wut ?
posted by Pendragon at 9:19 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Based on episodes (which I think this thread is now sponsored by) I think he would actually be pretty good, but achieving the camaraderie of the previous presenters is likely to be an uphill struggle.
I think the vast majority of people are just gonna see Joey though (understandably)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:20 AM on February 4, 2016


Also Chris Harris or GTFO.

I simultaneously love and loathe Top Gear. It's entertaining yet terribly misogynistic, sexist, etc. Harris is entertaining without being a dick. I don't think he needs the Top Gear brand to be a hit.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:25 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not getting Sabine involved in some capacity, preferably as a host, is a huge missed opportunity. She's awesome. Whenever she was on with the old lads, you knew it was going to be great.
posted by bonehead at 9:25 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


You know, if they tried to recreate the May-Hammond-Clarkson dynamic, they're going to flop badly. There's exactly one set of people who can do that -- those three.

They need to create their own entertaining dynamic. If they just try to act like the other guys, it will be a miserable flop.

They do need at least one of them to be a semi-competent driver on the track -- The Stig doing long bits about cars will get very boring very quickly -- and Matt LeBlanc has proven that he can at least thrash a Cee'd around the track quickly.

But really -- they have to find their own way. I hope part of the interview process is putting them in a room and pouring a few beers into them, because that'll tell you if there's at least some hope of chemistry.
posted by eriko at 9:30 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc

Or as he is known in France, Matthew the White, who has come back to us at the turn of the tide...
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:32 AM on February 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh, have to point something out from the article.

"It does seem odd that the BBC will use an actor in a factual entertainment show," he said, suggesting that the strength of the show's most recent line-up lay in the fact that they were "all experienced motoring journalists".

Factual? MORE POWER!!!!!! Although I guess showing me that Ross Kemp can fit in the trunk of a Renault Twingo is actually factual information.

"When Jeremy Clarkson gives you an opinion you can respect it," he went on.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by eriko at 9:33 AM on February 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


Also coming in to defend Mr LeBlanc on the basis of his Episodes turn. Absolutely brilliant.

I'm coming at this as someone who can't see Clarkson and pals as anything but the boorish, racist, pub bully and his weak, overgrown, schoolboy, sidekick acolytes, giggling at their "naughty" friends antics. I'll give the new show a watch not least because Chris Evans has form for making entertaining TV (Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, TFI Friday) and because none of the people named as hosts seem to be racists so far.
posted by merocet at 9:33 AM on February 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


Just this guy, y'know: "I think the vast majority of people are just gonna see Joey though (understandably)"

Was Friends that popular in Britain?
posted by Mitheral at 9:44 AM on February 4, 2016


Courtney Cox as The Stig!
posted by Fizz at 9:45 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Was Friends that popular in Britain?

Popular enough that the show's fourth season finale was shot in London specifically to pander to the UK fan base:

The only reason we went on location to London is we knew we had such a large fanbase there.
posted by maxsparber at 9:47 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Friends was so popular in the UK the fact that channel 4 finally stopped showing it basically daily was a real news story.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:48 AM on February 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is LeBlanc enough of a racist piece of shit to host Top Gear?

Was Friends that popular in Britain?

Friends was an international juggernaut.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:49 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


from that link I posted:

"Last week, there were 31 of the show's 236 half-hour episodes on Channel 4 and E4 from Saturday to Friday. With the +1s that's 31 hours of Friends a week. That's a one-in-five chance of Friends being on TV at any time of the day."
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:52 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


LeBlanc has always seemed like a charming doofus, which fits the show pretty well.

Well, he fits the 40% of the show that wasn't about how awful and stupid foreigners are, anyway, but I don't think many people will miss that 60%.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Next week: Jennifer Aniston replaces Sue Perkins on The Great British Bake-Off.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:00 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jeremy's role wasn't charming doofus though - that was Richard Hammond's role. Jeremy Clarkson was the brash braggart who still held up the imperialist British colonial feel wherever he went - even if it was just around a racetrack once. Weren't there any qualified former British Military Officers? Or did they discredit them for canibalism?
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:04 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Was Friends that popular in Britain?

Based on eurovision voting it was basically the only chance for the British to have friends.
posted by srboisvert at 10:09 AM on February 4, 2016 [8 favorites]


LeBlanc has always seemed like a charming doofus, which fits the show pretty well.

Check out some of LeBlanc's interviews on Graham Norton, though - he's not so much "charming doofus" so much as "charismatic snarker".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 AM on February 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Weren't there any qualified former British Military Officers? Or did they discredit them for canibalism?

May I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no cannibalism in the British Navy. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount.
posted by maxsparber at 10:12 AM on February 4, 2016 [21 favorites]


Jeremy Clarkson was the brash braggart who still held up the imperialist British colonial feel wherever he went - even if it was just around a racetrack once. Weren't there any qualified former British Military Officers? Or did they discredit them for canibalism?

Would it really be so terrible if the next show was 100% charming-doofuses-do-silly-shit-with-cars? Does the show really need to be mostly doofuses-who-would-otherwise-be-charming-complaining-about-foreigners?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Fingers crossed: every episode, he has to wear this outfit.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:33 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


What the fuck BBC? Why would you do this?
posted by humanfont at 10:33 AM on February 4, 2016


Chris Evans is a ridiculously talented broadcaster and producer so I wouldn't put it past him pulling this off. I think the choice of LeBlanc could be a sign he understands that the chemistry amongst the hosts is of paramount importance.

Plus, as anyone who knew Roger LLoyd-Pack will tell you, playing an idiot takes some serious acting chops and no small measure of intelligence.
posted by fullerine at 10:36 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


As noted in the article, he holds the record for Star in a Reasonably Priced Car via the Kia Cee'd. It's not a horrible choice.

As the old presenter team proved, being able to drive fast was absolutely not a requirement for the role.
posted by Dysk at 10:43 AM on February 4, 2016


Does this mean we get cameos of David Schwimmer yelling "PIVOT" when he drives thru Hammerhead?
posted by a halcyon day at 10:51 AM on February 4, 2016 [6 favorites]


Here's the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment in question. I remember watching the preceding interview as well; LeBlanc is a car nut. He should be a good addition to the show, with charisma and informed opinions.

Put me on the side that thinks this new incarnation of Top Gear has some potential, depending on who the third host is.
posted by me3dia at 11:25 AM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Welcome to Top Gear ... How you doin?"

Tee Hee.
posted by teleri025 at 11:29 AM on February 4, 2016


Courtney Cox as The Stig!

No! No! No!

If we've learned anything from the Clarkson/Hammond/May show, it's that you need at least three total cocks for the show to work.
posted by The World Famous at 11:38 AM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I wonder if they ever offered it to Jay Leno? Hell they could film 5 seasons with cars just from his own collection.
posted by PenDevil at 12:29 PM on February 4, 2016


I like Episodes and all but there are times when I feel Matt LeBlanc isn't really acting in that show, like we are seeing a slightly exaggerated version of himself. In anycase, this choice once again confirms my feeling that Brits like strange American celebrities. Notably Telly Savalas.

In anycase, this just frees up more time for James May to do another show with Oz Clarke about wine.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:54 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


That Jay Leno wasn't on the American Top Gear was a shame.
posted by culfinglin at 12:56 PM on February 4, 2016


Aw. Not Stephen Fry?

Here he is explaining apps, starting at 4:00 - and one in particular - to a fascinated Jeremy Clarkson:

"This one might not be so up your strasse, but it's called Grindr..."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:08 PM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


In anycase, this just frees up more time for James May to do another show with Oz Clarke about wine.

The BBC are currently showing the second series of James May's Car of the People which is reinforcing for me just how likeable May really is when he's away from the rest of the Top Gear team.
posted by Dysk at 1:25 PM on February 4, 2016


Leno already has Jay Leno's Garage, which is fun to watch as a car geek, but it's pretty clear that he doesn't have the kind of presence or delivery Top Gear needs.
posted by The World Famous at 1:34 PM on February 4, 2016


As a US fan of British Top Gear this is not what I want to see at all.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:20 PM on February 4, 2016


Next week: Jennifer Aniston replaces Sue Perkins on The Great British Bake-Off.

FROM MY COLD DEAD BEAUTIFULLY LIGHT AND FLUFFY GENTLY INNUENDO-LADEN HANDS
posted by aihal at 2:25 PM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


as has been noted, the main thing in terms of show chemistry is that they get a relationship between the presenters which exactly mirrors the power structure between the three bears
posted by runincircles at 2:28 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Huh. Well, it makes more sense than him being the hockey coach at a boy's school.
posted by nubs at 3:02 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


How are Tamsin and Stephen behind the wheel?
posted by whuppy at 3:07 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know why everyone's referring to Episodes as the show that gives Le Blanc credibility. Friends was a top notch sitcom, and Le Blanc was fantastic in it. Not to denigrate Episodes, but Friends is nothing to sniff at.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 3:09 PM on February 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


SUPPOSABLY
posted by gorbichov at 3:13 PM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Next week: Jennifer Aniston replaces Sue Perkins on The Great British Bake-Off.

It TASTES LIKE FEET!
posted by mmoncur at 4:54 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think of him as the current star of Episodes (with British people, too, so he's got experience!) and he is FANTASTIC.

Flagged as Deserving of a Muffin Basket
posted by Room 641-A at 5:53 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


The BBC are currently showing the second series of James May's Car of the People

That's nice but I want him getting drunk with Oz Clarke, being pissed off about terroir and trying to pair a wine with fried Spam. To me that's good television.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:58 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


How quickly everyone forgets that, whatever chemistry the previous hosts may have had, that it still includes Jeremy Clarkson, who is by most accounts a sanctimonious prick with racist and sexist tendencies?

Bring on the Matt LeBlanc/Sabine Schmidt* show, I say. Oh, and that other guy can come along too.

(*Sabine Schmidt is not actually signed up for the show. Yet. Also I can think of some other people I wouldn't mind coming back to Top Gear.)
posted by chrominance at 6:05 PM on February 4, 2016


SUPPOSABLY

That's a moo point.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:12 PM on February 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Chris Evans is a ridiculously talented broadcaster and producer so I wouldn't put it past him pulling this off.

I'll give him a year before he moves on to something else. Top Gear's audience is almost certainly not Chris Evans audience.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:17 PM on February 4, 2016


Yeah, I think the fact that May and Clarkson were actual car journalists, instead of just car enthusiasts, gave the show a certain depth of knowledge about what makes a good car good, and a bad car bad. Matt LeBlanc never had to spend a weekend driving a Seat Shitbox before pumping out a 500-word review on a deadline. For all of the shows faults, its reviews came from a place of experience with cars from all ends of the automotive spectrum.
posted by clorox at 6:57 PM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's nice but I want him getting drunk with Oz Clarke, being pissed off about terroir and trying to pair a wine with fried Spam. To me that's good television.

Ashwagandha, on your recommendation, I just watched the pilot episode of that series. It had a scene with James May in a g-string. That's a greater transgression than anything they ever did on Top Gear.
posted by ryanrs at 7:14 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


It had a scene with James May in a g-string. That's a greater transgression than anything they ever did on Top Gear.

You are correct. And that is why it remains my favorite James May programme. YMMV.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:56 PM on February 4, 2016


Well, at least the median IQ of the presenters is rising.
posted by koeselitz at 8:40 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Although one wonders why they aren't just importing them from that other continent with a large supply.)
posted by koeselitz at 8:52 PM on February 4, 2016


clorox: "For all of the shows faults, its reviews came from a place of experience with cars from all ends of the automotive spectrum."

Did the presenters write there own stuff? I assumed they had a big staff for that sort of thing.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 PM on February 4, 2016


The presenters co-wrote the scripts with the producers (and I presume not all of the car reviews were that tightly scripted?)

If they were only parroting a production team's words, the Clarkson hate wouldn't really make sense.
posted by Dysk at 12:42 AM on February 5, 2016


Matt LeBlanc is gonna be a busy guy: Matt LeBlanc to Star In CBS Comedy Pilot with Series Commitment. I wonder how long he's committed to the Top Gear gig.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:10 AM on February 9, 2016


What the fuck BBC? Why would you do this?

Exactly my reaction with the announcement that Eddie Jordan is now part of the new Top Gear. Program destroyed.
posted by juiceCake at 4:06 AM on February 11, 2016


Full line up announced: Sabine Shmitz is in, as are Eddie Jordan and Rory Reid.
posted by marienbad at 5:13 AM on February 11, 2016


Clarkson's great pal the Murdoch press has lost no time in putting the boot in (warning: The Sun).

When you've been an online consumer journalist for the best part of twenty years and have frequently posted fun pics from press trips to amuse your colleagues, readers and the world in general, there is absolutely no shortage of stuff out there to deliberately misrepresent. And if ytu're a young black man - why, that's double the fun!

There's going to be a lot of this.
posted by Devonian at 6:15 AM on February 11, 2016


Ugh, that Sun article is just gross.

I don't really like cars, and generally avoided Top Gear because the car bits were boring and the Clarkson bits were horrible, although my brother likes it so I've seen various specials wherein long journeys are takes or absurd engineering challenges attempted, and I enjoyed those.
But I think I might just watch it now. I'll just have it on iPlayer on loop in the background or something just to drive the numbers up if they're gonna pull that kind of nonsense.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:56 AM on February 11, 2016


Clarkson's great pal the Murdoch press has lost no time in putting the boot in

The unspoken irony here is that if Clarkson did the same, and it's exactly the sort of thing he would do, it would be held up as a cheeky jape by the Voice of Sauron Murdoch.
posted by bonehead at 7:09 AM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nobody ever accused the Sun of eschewing hypocrisy.

On a brighter note, here are some clips that show why Rory "Nickname too rude for the BBC" Reid got the job. He's a good egg.
posted by Devonian at 8:21 AM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd never heard of Rory Reid but the top video in Devonian's link has me sold all on its own.
posted by Dysk at 8:11 PM on February 11, 2016


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