A Real Car Toon
Click and Clack get animated
By Chuck Miller
For more than 30 years, Tom and Ray Magliotti have provided listeners with information on car repair and car care on their National Public Radio series Car Talk. In 2008, the Magliottis, under their radio nicknames “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers,” became stars of their own television show, an animated spoof of their radio series. The 10 episodes of Click & Clack’s As The Wrench Turns is now available on a two-disc DVD from PBS Home Video.
In addition to the Tappet Brothers, the show is also populated by a motley crew of mechanics (the nattily-dressed Fidel, the Eastern European fabricator Stash, and the Harvard-educated Crusty), and the Tappets’ radio show is produced by the hyper-vigilant and easily frustrated PBS liaison Beth Totenbag.
The show puts the Tappet Brothers in standard situation comedy plotlines. In one episode, upon discovering they were descended from Native Americans, the Tappets turn their repair shop into a casino. Another episode has the Tappets running for President, in the hopes of getting Federal matching funds for their PBS telethon fundraiser.
While the program won’t give Bart Simpson or Eric Cartman any fears of losing their status as animated pop culture icons, Click & Clack’s As The Wrench Turns features the same self-depreciating humor and goofy puns that fans of the radio show have come to love. The show takes broad swipes at its own PBS heritage, spoofing the long telethons, the self-important hosts, and the over-reliance on viewer donations.
Other plotlines include Click and Clack outsourcing their radio show with voice actors from India; Click and Clack dealing with a new high-tech garage opening across the street; and Click and Clack developing a new gasoline-free car that runs on boiled pasta. Several PBS and NPR personalities, including Jim Lehrer (The Jim Lehrer News Hour), Garrison Keillor (A Prairie Home Companion) and Carl Kassell (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) have cameos in the series.
The good-humored toon is sure to be enjoyed by Car Talk fans of all ages.