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The Grand Tour Week 10/Episode 11 – Italian Lessons – Review


The 10th week or 11th episode – depending on how you wish to view it – of “The Grand Tour” is upon us this weekend in a show titled “Italian Lessons” coming directly from Scotland, the home of the Loch Ness monster where they built a sign and welcomed Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and the lead guitarist from Queen, Brian May [as opposed to that other guy, James May].

The first order of business was for the boys to decipher the whole British-English-Scottish-Welsh mystery which apparently has been plaguing non-British/English/Scottish/Welsh people for some time. After all the British/English/Scottish/Welsh-ness was properly and thoroughly “explained”, we moved on to the show’s profile on the Fiat Abarth 124 Spider.

Hammond did the honors by immediately pointing out the car’s uncanny similarities to the Mazda MX-5 in everything but the price – with the Fiat going for $37,000 – a bit more than a Mazda, but also faster than a Mazda. This, in turn, brought out the automatic 10-point show deduction known as The American, to take the car out for a spin on the test track to the usual cringe-worthy clich├ęd commentary.

Conversation Street followed with the topics being bandied about this week including the legitimacy of leather seats in vehicles, cars designed specifically for women [SEAT Mii] – in which we learn some British/English/Scottish/Welsh slang for the men’s and women’s naughty bits in Old Chap and Magic Triangle – and finally an obligatory mention of the first electric car since it was designed by a Scottish person – the Scamp from the 1960s.

The celebrity killed this week was British Olympic medalist Chris Hoy was inexplicably blown up in a boat instead of being eaten by the Loch Ness monster.

The main feature of this week’s show was an all-out Maserati Biturbo Challenge in which Clarkson brought an original 1981 Biturbo, Hammond brought a 1986 Biturbo 430 and May brought a 1984 Spyder [an automatic due to his fractured arm, a fact we learn when he arrives with the car]. The first test was to be a drag race against the 67-horsepower Suzuki Celerio [or “Celery” as Clarkson called it] but to their dismay, they found the drag strip was not wide enough to fit all four cars side-by-side. Ultimately, it was decided that Hammond’s 430 should represent the Biturbos against the massive power of the Celery, easily defeating the Suzuki in the drag race.

Next up is a road trip to the south of France which then turns into a road trip to the north of France – specifically, Honfleur – during which the boys fashion three styles [dildo, cactus, squeaky toy] of steering knobs for James’ steering wheel, they try to maneuver through narrow medieval-era streets of the city and Clarkson’s Biturbo breaks down. To mask the obvious – that Hammond’s 430 would easily win the end goal of the road trip – the end is a scripted mess where Clarkson winds up driving the tow truck for his car, Hammond is sent on a shipyard container maze to waste time and May launches his Biturbo onto “the company yacht”.

Taking into account the automatic 10-point deduction for including The American, not killing the guest celebrity with the Loch Ness monster and the poor ending of the scripted main segment, ASN can only award this episode an 83 out of a possible 100. Again, the show had promise but could have been better.

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