Earlier this year, Beavis & Butt-head creator Mike Judge and MTV announced that the animated pair of metal-loving, non-scoring, fire-obsessed teens was returning to the cable channel to take aim at the second decade of the 21st century.
An appearance at San Diego Comic-Con this summer delighted those of us who grew up with the show, and the sound of the boys sends us into giggle fits that sound eerily like their own. Not too long ago I changed my ringtone to the show's jammy theme song, much to the chagrin of those around me.
Since the show left the air in November 1997, B&B fans have made do with YouTube clips, DVDs and torrents of the show to get our sometimes-daily fix. Even 14 years later, there are few instances in life they don't lend themselves to a "Huh-huh-huh" snicker or an immature observation.
Judge and MTV's previews of the new episodes promised that the pair would have all new adventures, with time standing still since the show's run ended. With music videos not the dominating force of nature on MTV, the boys will be watching reality TV, viral clips, with a few music videos thrown in.
In last night's episode, "Werewolves of Highland/Crying", the boys go see a Twilight film, which they of course just don't get, with the whispering and all. The next morning Mr. Van Driessen tells the boys in class that they need to get bitten by the undead to become vampires. They go on the search for the undead at the mall, and find a homeless man outside. Next best thing and all.
The boys pay him in gum to bite them and turn them into vampires. Luckily he has hepatitis C according to a police officer, furthering our storyline. Their ensuing sickness they mistake for "vampireness," and two girls they are looking to score with instead take them to the hospital, where they take delight in their catheters being changed while being treated for a litany of problems stemming from the bum venom.
The Jersey Shore clip proves sadly that MTV's Guido-stained jewel is actually dumber than B&B ever was, which is frightening since Snooki and the gang aren't animated creations but real humans.
MGMT's "Kids" is the first music video of the new era of B&B, and the fire, monsters and baby entrance the boys, who think that the video is set in Florida, which "sucks." Finally Beavis can sing the praises of fire without the fist of the law coming down on them. The video commentary for Skrillex's "First Of The Year" stalls, echoing some of the early complaints I heard about the writing still ramping up. Which is probably just me being a stickler and protective over a property that informed so much of my development.
The "Crying" segment opens with the boys watching a Bachelor-type show and eating chili dogs. Beavis's dog has a raw onion in it, and of course the fragrant onion and its tear-inducing properties make Butt-head thinks he's crying and "moved, huh-huh-huh." Later in class, while Van Driessen is talking about To Kill A Mockingbird and oh shit their neighbor Stewart is back, and he's still wearing a Winger shirt. Thank the Lord they didn't try to update him with a Maroon 5 tee.
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True Life's "I'm Addicted to Porn" segment is great fodder, with like you know the porn thing. "Pornography is the study of porn," says Beavis. The guy in the clip embodies the ideals that B&B taught us growing up. Like being fat, watching porn, which are both commonplace in 2011. The episode's final music video comes from LMFAO and finds the boys wondering why in such a down economy you can, like, have champagne and women. Ah, so now they are trafficking in social statements, when before they would talk about band member Redfoo's afro.
This isn't to say that I am not welcoming the show back with open arms. I am extremely excited about Mike Judge being back at it, and the voices are no worse for wear after 14 years of being largely dormant. Plus, the boys are saying things that we have all been saying for the past decade and a half, which is a testament to the characters that Judge created. Since the very first episode, we have had an inner monologue much like theirs lodged in our brain. Huh-huh-huh, lodged.
The animation is obviously cleaner than that from the '90s, almost like the quality from the 1996 feature Beavis & Butt-head Do America. The new era of our boys from Highland looks promising, but it can even be dumbed down more for our standards. Huh-huh, down.
Butthole Count: 3