Cart Talk

Everyone loves Car Talk. I disappear off to Bristol for a week, and all anyone can talk about is how much they love Car Talk. So on my return, I decide to check out the TV version which has just launched in the US. Well, I say the TV version. Basically, there's now a cartoon that stars the protagonists of the show.

And it's... well, the thing is, I don't know what it is. I think the creators don't really know what it is. It's basically a kids' cartoon, voiced by the Magliozzi brothers. In the style of these things, a host of new characters have been added, such as a harassed NPR producer, and a load of other car mechanics. And it bears no other relation to the radio show whatsoever. In which case... what's the point?

You can just about make out the thought process that went into this. The radio show is great, but consists of people calling in to have their car problems diagnosed over the phone. So, the natural thing would be to do a live action version of this. But, showing phone calls on TV is not so interesting, and Top Gear has already carved out a large slice of the "dicking around with cars" market. So, take the other thing people love about the show -- the interplay of the two hosts -- take that entirely out of the context of cars, and give them silly little adventures to run around in, like Duck Tales or something.

And of course, it doesn't work. Or at least, there's no real point for an intelligent adult to sit and watch it. It reminds me a lot of "Clerks-The Animated Series", which did a similar thing. Except that almost worked, because it was vaguely related to what had gone before, and was tolerably amusing in places. This show ("As the Wrench Turns" -- why?) is more like "The Real Ghostbusters".

It probably didn't help that I was incredibly jetlagged when I watched and (and still am as I write this), and that I fell asleep ten minutes in as a result. But... when I heard that there was going to be a TV show, my initial thought was "but that can never work", and in this case at least it is surely justified.

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