A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this animated comedy doesn't have any swearing, nudity, drinking, or other iffy stuff that would make it inappropriate for kids, the jokes and political themes are all aimed at older viewers. Which makes sense, as they're the ones who are most likely familiar with stars Tom and Ray Magliozzi's popular NPR radio show "Car Talk." Despite surface similarities (left-wing politics, good-natured teasing, etc.), this series is actually quite different from that one, focusing on the brothers' (fictional) antics rather than on actual auto maintenance.
What's the story?
It's easy, at first glance, to confuse CLICK AND CLACK'S AS THE WRENCH TURNS with \"Car Talk,\" the popular NPR call-in radio show about auto maintenance, politics, life, and any other topics that seem interesting to its beloved hosts, Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Both shows feature the brothers' distinctive voices, and both clearly have a left-wing political bent. But while the radio show is a nonfiction, free-form conversation with the Magliozzis' on-air alter-egos, Click and Clack, the animated series is a scripted comedy series that follows Click and Clack's comic misadventures running an auto shop.
Is it any good?
In addition to Click and Clack (voiced by the Magliozzis, naturally), the shop is populated by a quirky bunch of mechanics who view fixing cars as a calling, as well as the perfect metaphor for just about any problem. Indeed, these mechanics would clearly rather pontificate rather than actually work -- which is fine, since the antics they get up to while avoiding labor are more fun to watch. The show is an easy, entertaining diversion with an anti-big-government spin.
That said, it's not quite clear who this show is really for. It's true that animated series aren't just for kids anymore, and the show's political jibes are clearly written for viewers with a sophisticated grasp of current issues. But the plots are fairly simplistic and may not offer enough depth to sustain the interest of the older fans who make up the radio show's fan base -- in other words, the folks most likely to be intrigued by an animated series based on the Magliozzi brothers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about politics. What role does the media play in shaping people's political views? Do you have to agree with a show's politics in order to enjoy it? Click and Clack have plenty to say about the failings of big government, the economy, and the struggles of the little guy. Do you think their perspective is shaped by their role as small businessmen? Do other cartoons raise political issues? Do you think adult political humor can work well in animation, a medium that's more often aimed at young people?
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