Why do girls like Top Gear?

Last updated 15:29 16/08/2010

I just spent 20 minutes trying to think of a TV comparison for myself.

See, my name is Chris, I'm 29 years old, and I really didn't think I would find myself blogging on Stuff about one of my favourite subjects - in fact, it's almost a dream come true. Throw in a date with The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev and it would be.

Sadly, the best comparison for me that I could come up with was Demi Lovato's character on Disney hit Sonny with a Chance. By the way, I only know about that show because my daughter watches it. Honest.

Let's just move on.

So you might be wondering what On the Box is. Well, On the Box is a little corner of Stuff that will be used to discuss television - the shows that are on New Zealand television right now, the plot lines that make them so intriguing, the latest news stories about what's coming up next, and the stars who make us come back to certain programmes again and again (Ms Dobrev, I'm looking at you).

The key words in that sentence are "New Zealand" and "television" - we'll be keeping up with Kiwi broadcasting dates, so please don't post spoilers if you've already seen ahead. Downloading shows might be a common practice, particularly here in NZ (and Australia, apparently), but not everyone has the ability, motivation, or internet connection to do it. In the interest of all involved, let's not spoil things for anyone.

To be honest, we don't even need to look overseas. There are plenty of great shows on at the moment - heck, just in the last few days we've had new episodes of reality king (or should that be queen) New Zealand's Next Top Model, comedy The Middle, procedurals NCIS and Criminal Minds, and UK car show Top Gear.

Hey, speaking of Top Gear ...

The latest series of BBC's seminal motoring show continued on Prime last night, with hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May playing the role of chauffeurs for a real wedding, F1 driver Rubens Barrichello and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint topping the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" leader boards, and The Stig pitting a Chevrolet Camaro SS against a Mercedes E63 AMG for a spin around the test track.


Now, I realise I'm not breaking new ground by saying this, but guys love Top Gear. When it's on, I know that it will be the sole focus of conversation over morning tea the next day at work. My workmates and I love nothing better than sitting around, trying to figure out if we would take the Aston Martin Rapide over the Maserati Quattroporte, or whether the Chevrolet Camaro SS is more our style. But it's not the show that we love, as such. Men love Top Gear simply because men love cars - especially flash cars we see on TV. I can't tell the difference between a spark plug and a starter motor, yet I still pine for James Bond's DBS V12.

Maybe it's genetic.     

The thing is, I've noticed that girls love getting in on Top Gear talk too. I have a few female friends who don't have even a little bit of interest in cars themselves but still love Top Gear. Even my mum likes Top Gear. She also loves The Notebook. Go figure.

To find out why, I posted on Facebook asking for girls who watch Top Gear to explain what they like most. My friend Liv summed it up best, saying "the photography and filming is amazing, the presenters are super personable and it doesn't come across all 'dirty bogan'". In short, while the content is suited for the guys, the presentation itself is entertaining and looks great on-screen, meaning it appeals to men and women alike.

It seems so simple when you spell it out like that, so you'd think every show that's more appealing to one gender than the other would try to emulate that formula. Imagine if Dancing on Ice chucked in some gun fights and a couple of nice cars. I'd watch it. Yet for the life of me I can't name another show on TV that is skewed for guys but also draws in girls (or vice versa).

So here is my question for you: What shows can you think of that clearly aren't meant for your gender, but which you love anyway? If you're a female, do you like Top Gear?

More generally, what shows are you watching at the moment? What would you like to see On the Box blog about?

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Harriet   #1   03:36 pm Aug 16 2010

Top Gear is my favourite show! I love it! I have seen every episode of it and can't get enough. Most of my girlfriends think I'm crazy but I love it... I also think James May is amazing.. I think I have seen all of his other shows as well. But I also love Projway Runway... and that's completely different to Top Gear.

Kate   #2   03:36 pm Aug 16 2010

I Love Top Gear, I watch it religiously every Sunday with my boyfriend, we also watch the best of which is on during the week and other repeats.. Im not so bothered about the cars, although they are lush, but I love the crazy antics they get up to and the lengths they go to, to better each other, or crash into James Mays cars all the time! Its great.. :)

A-T   #3   03:41 pm Aug 16 2010

I'm a female who can't change a tyre, and my main consideration when buying a car would be the colour, but I LOVE Top Gear. Why? Because it's funny. The hosts are ridiculously intelligent and witty, and through their analysis and stunts manage to create entertaining metaphors about the cars and motoring that get me interested. I pretty much agree with your friend Liv, too.

It spans the ages, too. My mum and I know and care an equal amount about cars (ie; not very much) but both crack up at Top Gear.

But I'm really into rugby, as well, and for the game itself, not the hot men in small shorts (although I'm quite partial to staring at Richard Kahui.) So I always like sports shows like Code, Sportscafe when it was on, and RE:Union on Sky Sport, which I used to watch back when the family had Sky. So sports shows are possibly where my TV watching interests are non-female-oriented.

Cat   #4   03:43 pm Aug 16 2010

Hi. I am female and I love Top Gear. I don't understand when they talk about makes of cars etc, I watch because it is a very entertaining show & the hosts are funny - James May especially. I really enjoy their adventure episodes and when they do the challenges - last nights challenge was great, that poor Bride getting stuck with James

Jess   #5   03:44 pm Aug 16 2010

Love Top Gear. The challenges are hilarious and they explain cars in a way I can understand. Even got tickets for me and my husband to go when living in the UK. The catch when you get tickets is that the BBC insist that you have to bring one woman for every man - so guys have to take their partners along!

Olivia   #6   03:46 pm Aug 16 2010

I've recently become fascinated by the animal channel on sky. But is this a blatant boys channel? I wouldn't neccesarily think so but none of my other besties are keen on it, however my guy mates - totally hooked! No repeats (not that I have seen yet anyway), cool filming, and some of the stuff is super crazy. Facts and stuff. Just me team?

Janelle   #7   03:46 pm Aug 16 2010

A female liking Top Gear? But that's madness, she has a vagina! And Nina Dobrev looks about 16. Sick.

Alice2   #8   03:47 pm Aug 16 2010

Mum & I managed to annoy Dad last night by talking over TG. Well, we were silent when it was interesting, then talked a bit, then it caught our attention again. Dad went into the kitchen, did the dishes & turned the other telly on. By the time he had a rant about our talking, it had got interesting again & we'd shut up :)

There is something for everyone in it - if you're not into cars, you'll be entertained by the antics & personalities, if you are a car person, you'll like the cars & the other bits will enhance it, not detract.

Plus the Hamster's cute.

DBA   #9   03:47 pm Aug 16 2010

I think "Cougar Town" fits into this category. Aimed at women, but because it is a geuinely funny and well written comedey guys quite like it too. "Entourage" is the same except aimed at guys rather then women.

xylus   #10   03:49 pm Aug 16 2010

My kids and I love Top Gear. We prefer the shows where they do challenges e.g turning cars into boy racers, these stay on the recorder and get watched over and over. My 9yo son and i went to the show last year, which was a lot of fun.

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