Discovery Channels popular Fast N Loud has grown rapidly since it debuted. Has it grown away from the fans that made the show?
When Fast N Loud debuted on Discovery in 2012, fans immediately fell in love with the small Gas Monkey Garage in Texas. The bike building competition with other Discovery Channel stars from American Chopper and Jesse James catapulted the shows stars to the national spotlight.
In the short four years since Fast N Loud first aired, the shop and its crew have gone through extraordinary growth. The problem is, does the growth move the show away from what we fell in love with? This happened with similar Discovery show American Chopper.
Watching the most recent episode of Fast N Loud, we saw Richard Rawlings lose a large amount of money at auction on his GT, and built a Ford Pantera. Both builds would never have even been attempted in the first seasons of the show.
When Fast N Loud started it was a small shop that built reasonable collector cars. In the latest season, the project cars have grown to six figure exotic monsters that would have never been considered in the early days. The buys and builds have grown out of the world of the average car builder.
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Part of the original attraction of the show was seeing how they could build beautiful cars on a small budget. The cars appeared to be purchased cheaply and built on a reasonable budget. The budgets have now gone from thousands of dollars to tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars that very few can relate too.
In an early episode, they built a convertible mustang that was beautiful but reasonable. Unfortunately, it was wrecked in a traffic accident. As a fan and car guy, I could feel for Richard in seeing all the effort and money go down the tubes. It made the show relatable.
In contrast, in last week’s episode, they bought a newer Ford truck just to remove the Ecoboost engine. That would have been unthinkable in the early days of Fast and Loud. It is also something none of us small builders can do. We can’t relate and it distances us from the show.
I use my wife as a gauge on what is well-rounded TV. We watch American Chopper, Counting Cars, Chasing Classic Cars, Fast N Loud along with others with me. Not long after she gave up on American Chopper the show began to tank. Same could be said about Chasing Classic Cars. She is starting to not like Fast and Loud and I understand why.
These prime time shows cannot survive with an all male audience. They need relatability to attract an audience that advertisers will pay for. If a large portion of your viewers does not relate to your reality show, they are not going to watch. I am concerned that Fast N Loud is losing its broad appeal.
It is not over yet for Fast N Loud. To get back the intimacy that originally attracted viewers to the show is going to be hard but needs to be done. Bring back the smaller builds that fans can envision in their driveway. It is what we fell in love with.
I have not given up on the show yet, but if the six figure builds continue I don’t think Fast N Loud will be must see for me on Mondays. I just hope that if this is Fast and Loud jumping the shark, they go out with some dignity. Please do not try to go down the tired personality conflict path. That is the playbook for a reality show trying to survive.