Kurt Verlin
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‘The Grand Tour’ Bamboozled Me

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Four months ago, I came across a thread on the /r/cars subreddit discussing a YouTube video James May had posted of his unboxing a new Toyota Yaris GRMN. It was nearly 17 minutes long, but it had that typical dry yet relaxing May style, and before I knew it, I’d sat through the whole thing.

Today, I watched one of the latest episodes of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime. It featured a comparison between three hot hatchbacks: the Ford Fiesta ST, the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and the aforementioned Toyota Yaris GRMN. So with the self-assured air of someone who believes to have interesting insider knowledge, I turned to my fiancée to say, “Ah, I wonder if that is James May’s personal vehicle. I watched him unbox the car a few months ago, you know.”

Little did I know that May had bamboozled me.

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Clarkson, Hammond, and May went about putting their three cars through the usual road tests before eventually deciding they had to make the cars appealing to millennials. Apparently, that meant seeing which cars could appear the most in paparazzi photographs on a progressive British website, which could earn the most likes on Instagram, and which could get the most views on YouTube.

All three hosts went about trying to accomplish this in various, mostly ridiculous ways. May performed poorly in every category, until he finally stumbled upon the idea of…an unboxing video.

“If you go on YouTube, which I do quite a lot, you will notice that something that’s very popular with so-called millennials is the unboxing video,” he said. “It’s usually something like an idle student with nothing better to do simply taking something they’ve bought out of the box and talking about it.”

As an example, he shows the camera a video of someone unboxing a new TV, his opinion of the practice plain. In other words, I watched an unboxing video produced by a man who thinks unboxing videos are a joke. And, ultimately, despite Clarkson’s funny pastry gags and Hammond’s over-the-top action sequences featuring the Ford Fiesta (shown below), it was May’s video that took the gold. I feel used.

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