Plot: In “Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head,” Beavis and Butt-Head are back and stupider than ever. The new series follows on the heels of the recently released and critically acclaimed Paramount+ original film “Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe,” which is now available to stream.
Review: Beavis and Butt-Head was a seminal series when I was a kid (heh, heh…I said seminal). Debuting in 1992, Mike Judge’s idiotic duo were constantly targeted by parent groups and conservative watchdogs who found their violent and profane humor to be inappropriate in the days before South Park and Family Guy made it more acceptable in the mainstream. After seven seasons and a brief revival in 2011, Beavis and Butt-Head are back with their first series of new episodes in over a decade. On the heels of their second feature film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe, the two teens return to their familiar antics as if no time has passed for the ninth season that is just as good as their heyday.
While only the first two episodes of the new series were made available for this review, it was more than enough to determine if this was a faithful continuation of the classic show or a cash grab reboot that plays into modern sensibilities. I am glad to say that Mike Judge and his team have deviated very little from the 1990s version of Beavis and Butt-Head. Each half-hour episode is comprised of two shorter episodes which are intercut with Beavis and Butt-Head watching videos and delivering their trademark commentary. The animation does not look much different from the MTV series nor does it have the extra crispness of the feature films either. In short, these episodes fit perfectly right alongside the original run.
The updates to the series are small but also noticeable. While Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe had the two slackers travel forward in time to bring them into 2022, this new season puts them right back where they always have been as if no time has passed. Legacy characters from the original MTV series show up which makes it seem as if the series is still in the 1990s, but the plots involving things like artisanal honey and escape rooms are clearly from the 21st century. The pair also still mock music videos which now include contemporary songs like BTS hit “Dynamite” but they also watch TikTok clips and YouTube videos. People watching other people’s videos are already hugely popular on social media, but Beavis and Butt-Head bring their unique style to their mockery that works as well as it did thirty years ago.
Another change I noticed was a solo episode for Beavis. In the original series, Beavis and Butt-Head were never far apart but this new season offers an episode that features only Beavis as he deals with a personification of Fire. It is a funny entry but one that proved to me why these two characters work well together. After a few minutes, I began to tire of Beavis’ schtick without Butt-Head to rein him in. The episode was still funny, but I wonder whether it will work as well in the long run and also whether Butt-Head will be entertaining on his own. It is a minor quibble but I did appreciate the effort to mix things up from what we have seen before.
The new season, in shifting to Paramount+, could have pushed the envelope in regards to nudity, profanity, and violence. Beavis and Butt-Head were a lightning rod of controversy in their original iteration (see Frog Baseball for a classic example), but I applaud Mike Judge for not going the easy route. Aside from dumbass and similar mild profanity, Beavis and Butt-Head remain as immature as they have always been. That may make this series seem tame compared to the levels that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have taken South Park, but it also makes this new Beavis and Butt-Head refreshingly old school.
The changes to Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head amount to minor tweaks to bring this series into 2022 that work because they don’t try to change what was already working. This series remains a very dumb and very fun diversion about two idiots whose simple observations, while clouded by hormones and stupidity, are still profound in making us look at the world in a different way. No one will ever confuse Beavis and Butt-Head with Plato and Aristotle, but like Lloyd and Harry from Dumb & Dumber, Bill and Ted, and any other classic comedy duo, these numbskulls take the world around us and say the things that we are all too filtered to say for ourselves. Plus, anything remotely shaped like a penis is always hilarious.
Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head premieres on Paramount+ on August 4th.
Originally published at www.joblo.com