The Car Guys have a nice public radio show, where they talk in an amusing, off-the-cuff manner about the car problems that folks phone in about. They’re amusing guys, and they did OK playing themselves as motor vehicles in the Pixar film Cars. So I guess I can see the temptation to use them as a basis of a cartoon series. But, weeeellll, Click & Clack in As the Wrench Turns doesn’t feel like something designed to be funny. Rather, it feels like something designed to amuse some presumption of what the audience for a public radio show would like. So they take something that might work in a chatty moment, such as referring to a politician named “Phil Lander” (where the humor arises from someone bothering to use that as a line) and turn it into having a politician in the episode named Phil Lander, and goodness, we see him philandering, and isn’t that funny? No, it’s not. They try doing big wacky Simpsonsesque stories (the characters run for President as a fundraising trick) without doing what Simpsons did to lay the groundwork — doing strongly character-oriented pieces to get us to know and understand the characters. The animation is awkward (although the character designs are nice.) This thing is just a mess.
Public television actually has some fine animated series, they just air them for kids. But I bet most regular Car Talk listeners would still get a lot more laughs out of an episode of WordGirl or Curious George than out of the show targeted at them.