Tuesday, February 12, 2008
"Humpy Show" Lets Drivers Actually Talk
The idea of getting Humpy Wheeler involved in anything on TV that had to do with conversation was a good one. The fact that he could get one current and one past NASCAR driver to sit down and "just talk" is very special.
The one thing that has gone away from fans over the years is the ability to hear NASCAR personalities when they are not involved in "corporate speak." This is especially true of the younger generation of drivers who have literally been raised with as much education about public relations as they have about racing.
It would take a special person, and a special purpose, to snap these drivers out of the sponsor mode and return them to being just plain old folk. Perhaps, the best perscription would be to mix-in an older driver who does not have to toe the company line. Then, let Wheeler ask questions that put both generations on-the-spot.
Kurt Busch tried his best to look and sound mature, but that certainly was tough in the company of Buddy Baker. What Busch did well, however, was talk like a driver who had been through some rough times and was simply not going to take it any more.
Taped before the Daytona practice crash, Busch's words certainly seemed prophetic when he talked about when to stay calm after an incident, and when to retaliate. Hearing Buddy Baker agree, and then add-in his own personal views was very interesting. These two might have a bit more in common then most fans thought.
While this pilot episode was shot very tight and resulted in very large heads appearing on very large HD screens across the country, the production on a whole was solid. Simply letting the three men talk, filling-in the references with "B-roll" (footage) and using individual comments really told the tale.
In this world of electronic graphics, special effects, and seventy cameras at a NASCAR race this change of pace was nice. There were no sponsor duties to fulfill, no beverage to drink, no sunglasses to wear, and no new product to sell. Just some conversation and questions from a man with a right to ask them.
Since this program did not involve a lot of production issues, I think it would be important to get your opinion of this pilot episode of The Humpy Show. What did you like, what did you not like, and would you want to see more driver pairings like this presented in a one hour format?
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