Thirty years have passed since the world was introduced to Beavis and Butt-head in the short segment “Frog Baseball” on the MTV anthology series, Liguid Television. In the short segment, they come off as some crazy pscyhopathic delinquents who use a frog to play baseball. The images of animal abuse wouldn’t fly today and I’m sure MTV told Mike Judge to tone it down when they greenlit the series.
But Beavis and Butt-head were a reflection of the aimless Gen X youth left to their own devices. We never saw their parents because many Gen Xers were latchkey kids. They were metalheads who chanted to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” The first few seasons made parents, politicians, and crazy Christian officials mad. Judge was only in his early 30s but he was still a Boomer by technicality and I think he was telling the people this is the state of teenagers in America. Despite their problems in school, Beavis and Butt-head still held down jobs at the fast food restaurant Burger World where Butt-head was a manager.
After a house fire caused by a five-year-old Austin Messner using a cigarette lighter killed his two-year-old sister, Jessica, MTV felt the pressure to further tone down the show some more as it was blamed. Messner later said in 2008, 15 years after the Oct. 6, 1993 incident that he had never seen the show and his mother was a drug addict and they couldn’t even afford cable. The irony that Judge was getting at was lost. The adults were foolish to think the kids could do anything on their own. Despite their ignorance, they seemed to remain in regular classes as Highland High School.
Judge wasn’t playing any favorites, mocking liberals and conservatives, young and old. Principal McVicker was a nervous bureaucrat quack who was just passing Beavis and Butt-head through the system until they could graduate. Coach Buzzcut was an angry and strict former Marine drill instructor turned teacher who didn’t like the main characters, but every now and again defended them. Daniel Van Driessen was the hippie liberal who even though was quick to criticize the main characters would treat them with constructive criticism that often backfired. Then, there was Tom Anderson, the angry, elderly neighbor who like Buzzcut was quick to use violence when he didn’t get his way.
As of this posting, three new episodes have aired on Paramount-Plus with new episodes airing on Thursdays. This is the second time the series has been revived since it went off the air in 1997 with an episode titled “Beavis and Butt-head Are Dead.” The first time was in 2011-2012. This new revival comes after the hilarious movie Beavis and Butt-head Do the Universe debuted on Paramount-Plus in June and it transports the duo to more modern times as they find themselves in one episode going along with two older women in an escape room. Yet, thinking they’re going to “score,” they go into the men’s restroom and think it’s the escape room.
Some other episodes have them trying to make honey at a Farmer’s Market but mistaking bees for wasps; climbing up on Mr. Anderson’s roof to toss a crystal bowl he’s ordered for his wife off the edge but knocking over the ladder; and Beavis talking to a dumpster fire that has some unusual requests. They also critique music videos such as Post Malone’s “Circles” and we learn that Beavis is a big fan of the boy band BTS and their hit song, “Dynamite.” But the most clever one is when they watch a video of Youtuber Gibi ASMR and start to critique it in similar ASMR voice tones.
Judge hasn’t lost his touch after all these years. When he left King of the Hill, the show went in a different direction that it couldn’t rebound from. Office Space and Idiocracy weren’t big movies when they were released in theaters but found their fanbase over the years. Will this revival run for just one season or will it last multiple seasons like back in the 1990s? Now that most of the Millennials and Gen Xers who grew up on the show are now the same age as their parents, hopefully this will bring the duo to a new generation to enjoy.
What do you think? Please comment.