Click and Clack for kids?

I cannot for the life of me decide whether this is brilliant or appalling. A little bit of each, I’m guessing.

I’ve long been a fan of the radio show Car Talk. No, I’m not particularly a car person, but Click and Clack (a.k.a. Tom and Ray Magliozzi) are good entertainment. I’m not alone in my opinion; they’ve been on the air for—what?—20 years or so, now.

So I’m not sure that an animated children’s show was necessarily the next logical step, but somebody at PBS thought so:

Start your engines! PBS is bringing Tom and Ray Magliozzi, of Car Talk, to TV. Based on the hit NPR radio show, the as-yet-untitled animated sitcom will launch with ten 30-minute episodes targeted for summer 2008. Fans will be invited to submit title suggestions for the television show.

The fast-paced series will take off where the radio series ends, focusing on the adventures of Click and Clack and their crew of mechanics and co-workers. Based largely in Tom and Ray’s fictional garage, the show will focus on the “off-air” escapades of Tom and Ray Magliozzi (“known to their listeners as Click and Clack,” the Tappet brothers) as they try to fix cars, fend off disgruntled customers and seek out ways to do less and less work.

“We want to apologize in advance to Jim Lehrer, Bill Moyers, the folks at FRONTLINE, NOVA and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE for the damage we are about to do to your network’s reputation,” said Tom and Ray Magliozzi, who will provide the voices for their own animated characters. “Oh, and Big Bird, too. Sorry, pal.”

“Tom and Ray are larger than life characters, and the only way to keep them larger than life, and not diminish them on TV, is through animation,” said creator and executive producer Howard K. Grossman. “We’ve brought on a world-class animation team, and I’m confident the series will rank among the best anywhere.”

Okay, to be fair, it’s not necessarily just a kids’ show:

“We’re looking forward to bringing Tom and Ray to television, with new characters and stories that capture the humor of the radio series and take it even further,” said John Boland, PBS chief content officer. “Through animation and fresh content, we anticipate the show will be a hit among current fans of the radio show and new audiences. PBS has long been a leader in creating animated, educational programming for children, but, with Car Talk, we will present our first primetime animated series for a general audience.”

General audience, shmeneral audience. It’s animation, it’s on PBS. They’re counting on this show appealing to kids. Can they pull it off? I really don’t know. I hope they can.

And I love that they’re having a contest to name the show rather than just calling it Car Talk. How fun is that? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out more:

The titling contest will be announced on the Car Talk radio program and will allow listeners to submit their own suggestions for the television program title. More details regarding the titling contest will be available soon.

So change your oil every 3,000 miles and put on your thinking caps; you could end up naming this landmark television enterprise. And then you and the family can sit down for a night of family entertainment with the (animated) Tappet brothers. Wild.

[Hat tip: Animated News]

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One thought on “Click and Clack for kids?

  1. I’m leaning more towards brilliant than appalling. Kind of surprising, I guess. But their voices seem perfect for animation, and for kids.