Why Do the "Car Talk" Guys Have a Cartoon and I Don’t?

In theory, “Car Talk” is a good radio show. Notice I said, “in theory.” Not knowing anything about cars, I would love to be able to turn on the radio and listen to some knowledgeable mechanics as they inform me about the basics of car maintenance and troubleshooting.

In theory, that’s what National Public Radio’s “Car Talk” is all about. Featuring Bostonians Tom and Ray Magliozzi (better known as Click and Clack), “Car Talk” should be a car novice’s dream. Instead, each time I try to listen to it, it turns into 35 minutes of two dudes with insane Boston accents asking girls named Mindy if they spell that with a “y” or an “i.”

Instead of taking call after call about car issues, they take a relatively small number of phone calls and spend most of the time making bad jokes (their “Russian chauffeur” is Picov Andropov) and laughing maniacally at themselves while they ask the person on the other end of the line how they spell their name, where they are from, and what temperature it is where they’re calling from. (No matter what, it’s always colder in Boston…oh that bit never gets old, right? Wrong.)

For every nugget of information about cars that I collect while I listen, I lose a nugget of sanity as I find myself screaming at the radio, “Fools, shut UP and get to the car problem already, or I am going to contact Nina Totenberg and tell her to hunt you both down and kick your asses!

Anyway, for some reason that I cannot begin to fathom, PBS (NPR’s equally nerdy television twin) has started airing…a “Car Talk” cartoon! Entitled “As the Wrench Turns” (hardy har har), it stars Click and Clack as drawings…and trust me, they don’t sound any less annoying or more funny when their voices are coming out of animated mouths.

I caught about ten minutes of it the other night after Mr. Pop Rocks stumbled across it and ran into my office in shock.

“Come to the living room…right now. You won’t believe who has a cartoon. Oh. My. God.”

Oh my God indeed. What is the intended market for this show? As a child, would you have wanted to watch a cartoon about two old car mechanics who speak in silly puns? Or would you have rather gone to the doctor? (Yes, I would have chosen the doctor as well. At least then you got a lollipop.) Is the intended audience the adults who listen to “Car Talk”? On the cartoon, there’s not even any car advice going on…and isn’t that the main reason people force themselves to listen to “Car Talk” in the first place? (Or am I just wrong and people actually think these guys are funny?)

If I sound like I’m beating up on Click and Clack, I don’t mean to. I think they are incredible mechanics and car gurus, which is why I bring myself to listen to “Car Talk” at all. But please, gentlemen. We do not need a television show with your likenesses. That is simply not necessary. Okay?

Love, Miss Pop Rocks (spelled S-H-U-T-U-P-A-N-D-T-A-L-K-C-A-R-S-A-L-R-E-A-D-Y)

-- Jennifer Mathieu