What It Is
Cambridge boys Tom & Ray Magliozzi offer advice on cars, car repair and various other subjects in response to calls from listeners.
The show these days is made up of clips from the decades long archive of the show. The show stopped producing new content in 2012; Tom died not long after, in 2014. The show had quite a run, from 1987 to 2012, so I figure they won’t run out of clips any time soon.
What About It
You’d never expect a guy like to me to have a favorite show that’s listed under the Automotive category in iTunes, but Car Talk is nothing less than an American treasure. For one thing, only the most literally minded person in the world would file this under Automotive; the show is nominally about cars and they spend a lot of time on cars, but in such a hilarious fashion that you can’t help but laugh. And they weigh in on a variety of subjects, from higher math to philosophy to love to family relationships to the ethics of all the tiniest details of modern life. Only on Car Talk would a woman call in to discuss the ethics of paying toll on a local bridge that she uses; and only on Car Talk would the hosts manage to get the toll booth attendant from said bridge on the phone to hash things out with the woman. Only on Car Talk would a woman call in seeking absolution for something she did to her father’s car over twenty years before; and only on Car Talk would the hosts get the father on the phone, sparking a hilariously tense exchange. Only on Car Talk, would an astronaut call in FROM SPACE in order to get advice on fixing the space shuttle (relax; he was joking). Only on Car Talk would a World War II European refugee call in to challenge the guys to verify the existence of a European WOOD-BURNING car from the forties. In one of my all-time favorite clips, the hosts discuss a brilliant e-mail they received breaking down a fascinating philosophical question: Do two people who know nothing about a subject know more or less than one person who knows nothing? The historians tell us that this show was actually historically significant, changing the face of public broadcasting by presenting hosts that were unpretentious, silly, loud and funny at a time when most radio hosts were stiff and staid and serious. I don’t know about that, but it sounds right. Regardless, Car Talk is an hour of pure entertainment every time, filled with laughs and good times. You might actually learn something about cars as well.
You’re totally down to imitate that noise your car is making.
Avoid Like the Plague If
You know, loud people just aren’t your thing.
Best Entry Point
It’s kind of hard to recall what clips are in what episodes and I hate to send you to episodes behind a paywall, so I’ll just recommend getting the most recent one.